E-commerce brings people and products closer together regardless of where they are in the world. However, many businesses find it difficult to scale quickly enough to keep up with growing consumer demands. That’s why they come to rely on SaaS solutions to handle the back end of their online business.
Shoplazza is one such award-winning solution. Shoplazza offers SaaS options to help merchants of all sizes start, market, and manage their B2C stores and DTC brands. The platform launched in beta in 2019. Then the pandemic put our technology to the test—and we grew rapidly during that time. Today, there are more than 360,000 merchants on the platform.
I joined Shoplazza in 2017, just six months after the founder started the company. I have experience in many areas, including legal, finance, cross-border sales, and mergers and acquisitions. Since joining Shoplazza, I have managed human resources, legal, financial, and DTC business development as the Chief Operating Officer (COO), where I help the company expand our presence in key markets via partnerships with companies like Facebook, Google, and Tiktok, as well as earlier-stage startups that can fulfill a need for our merchants and grow with our platform.
To do this, I need market insights to broaden our view of a constantly evolving e-commerce world and pinpoint those potential partners who will help us deliver the end-to-end spectrum of services.
But which partners should we choose? New potential e-commerce partners emerge all the time, and we want to be the first to connect with the right ones. It takes time to find these potential partners, analyze them, understand their funding history, and learn about their management teams. In many cases, this information isn’t even publicly available for early-stage startups. But we can’t take a chance when our merchants trust us.
That’s when we found CB Insights.
Using CB Insights to Identify Partners and Grow Our Platform
We started using CB Insights in 2020 as a trial customer, looking at public research and profiles. When we saw all the research available to paid users, we decided we needed this solution for our partner discovery and research program.
Every business is constantly evolving. We use CB Insights to track what everyone is doing and identify potential partnerships.
During the onboarding process, our account manager walked us through the entire platform. The platform was straightforward to use, and from the first meeting, we could begin homing in on the filters we wanted to use and which reports and charts would be most helpful. For example, we have advanced search set up to provide daily updates on certain topics. Using the Collections feature, we monitor particular groups of companies within an industry category. Within Collections, I use the "Bigger Ones" filter to automatically help me identify industry leaders, and the “View Story” option generates ready-to-use slides in seconds.
I now go into CB Insights a few times a week to read through the insights on my home feeds. I also frequently use their industry reports, such as their report on D2C success stories, to identify new players and potential partners. The reports also pinpoint more significant market trends. Everything evolves so quickly in this industry, and as a connector, Shoplazza must stay abreast of any movement. If I find something interesting, I’ll share it internally with my team and stakeholders.
When using CB Insights, you never hit a dead end in your research.
I pay special attention to the funding and market research information when researching partners. This information helps when analyzing smaller players who might have acquisition potential. CB Insights also gives me a daily view of our competitors’ actions, partnerships, investments, and acquisitions.
One partnership opportunity that we directly uncovered through CB Insights was with Klarna. CB Insights notified us that Klarna acquired Pricerunner, the UK's biggest price comparison service, in November 2021. This knowledge gave us the confidence to collaborate with Klarna to add a valuable service to our global merchants.
Timing is critical. CB Insights pulls together relevant information in one place to move quickly.
Driving Global Expansion Through Partnerships
Not only do we need to stay up to date on the latest industry news, but we also need to act fast. Cross-checking information found on Google costs time and money because we need to verify its accuracy.
CB Insights compiles and structures data in a way that saves us time and cuts costs.
And what is my measure of success: integrating and strategically aligning with an increasing number and variety of partners. That is key for us because we can’t achieve success alone. The more we collaborate, the greater our chances of success. CB Insights gives us the timely and specific insights we need to expand through partnerships on distant shores.
Chief Operating Officer
Master of Finance & Banking Laws in UCL LL.M., Barrister & Solicitor in Ontario, Canada, Alyson used to work in Michael Page Beijing and Shanghai, and was responsible for the Eastern China finance and the Southern China legal talent consulting work. She has great experience in human resource governance and structure design. Before joining SHOPLAZZA, she worked as a senior consultant for cross-border sales, mergers and acquisitions of bank assets, covering various kinds of areas including automotive, energy, and retail at the British law firm Linklaters. She joined the SHOPLAZZA in 2017 and since then, has been looking after human resource, legal, financial, and DTC business development. With the local resources in North America, she has also successfully helped multiple brands go overseas.