Top E-Commerce Retailers in the United States 2022
The United States (US) is home to the second largest e-commerce market in the world with a revenue of US$599.2 billion in 2021.
According to a recent report by Digital Commerce 360, online retail sales in the US reached a whopping $231.35 billion in the first quarter of 2022, up a modest 6.7% from the same period last year. The same analysis also revealed that despite the global slowdown in e-commerce growth, online orders accounted for more than 1 out of every 5 dollars spent on retail purchases across the country.
With this in mind, we have compiled a list of the top e-commerce retailers in the US that are making waves in this year's market. Do you recognize any of these brands? What can we learn from them? Let’s find out!
There is no denying that Amazon is a household name when it comes to online shopping. Driven by innovation, it focuses on e-commerce, digital streaming, cloud computing, and artificial intelligence. With a contemporary approach to logistics, the company now has over 80 jets, a fleet of delivery vans, and 220 package facilities under its wings to ensure seamless delivery of customers' orders.
Did you know that Amazon has one of the most desirable product reviews archives ever? Providing free or discounted items in exchange for product reviews is one of Amazon's go-to strategies for generating more reviews. What’s more, the company has introduced a one-tap rating feature not long ago to garner even more reviews than before. Shoppers can now simply select their star rating when leaving a review without having to write any words. Such an emphasis on product reviews is a powerful e-commerce strategy as it not only serves as a sales booster, it also promotes trust (and in turn retention) amongst its customer base.
Dating all the way back to the 1960s, Walmart is a retail corporation that runs a chain of grocery stores, hypermarkets and department stores. With a fiscal revenue of $573 billion in 2022, Walmart currently operates more than 61000 trucks, 6100 tractors, 7800 drivers, and 150 distribution centers with over 600 employees unloading trailers daily.
One thing that sets Walmart apart from its competitors would be its free returns that allows consumers to exchange or return their goods within 90 days after the date of purchase. This can be done free of charge either by mail, or via a scheduled pickup from your home. Walmart is often touted for its competitive pricing as it uses the Everyday Low Pricing (ESLP) strategy to make its products affordable everyday, rather than offering them at low prices only during sale events like its industry rivals.
eBay's market in the US has been consistently growing, with a 22.1% increase in 2020. It has 6 million sellers in the US alone, with its current net worth of around $25.41 billion. Similar to Walmart’s free returns policy, eBay has put in place a money-back guarantee that takes full responsibility for shipping its customers' orders. In other words, consumers can request for a refund if a transaction goes wrong in a way that is out of their control or the items they have received do not fulfill the terms of the sale.
Moreover, eBay has comprehensive software tools such as Selling Manager, Seller's Assistant, etc to enhance seamless sales and purchases. With more than 1 billion items for sale across a wide range of product categories, the company imposes minimal charges on sellers (4% of the goods sold). When it comes to marketing efforts, eBay does intense advertising using print, billboards, online campaigns, TV adverts, etc. It even has an auction format that allows buyers to bid for goods of their choice and the highest bidder will get the goods.
Apple is definitely no stranger to the world of the elite, having grabbed the “most valuable brand” title a couple of times. Known for its series of personal devices and innovative marketing strategies, Apple is the first US company to clinch a $3 trillion market cap. One interesting thing is how Apple segments its market accurately and caters to a large group of target audience. For music freaks, it has the Apple iTunes and iPod; for professionals and young persons, it has the Apple iPhone, tablet, and MacBook; for the general population, it has the Apple TV and iwatch.
For Apple, it is all about understanding what is on their consumers’ minds and giving them what they want. For starters, their Genius Bar professionals are there to listen to customers and figure out the best solutions for whatever problems they are facing when using their Apple products. Considering how 76% of US consumers are more likely to buy a product if a payment plan is offered, Apple also offers a variety of financing and credit options to lower the barriers to entry for their customers.
#5 The Home Depot
As its name suggests, The Home Depot is a multinational home retail improvement corporation based in the US. According to ecommerceDB, the company accounted for 10 to 15% of e-commerces sales in the “Furniture & Appliances” category in 2021, ranking #2 with over US$10,000 million in sales. This puts it ahead of other big names like Target and Wayfair which are also known for their e-commerce capabilities.
The Home Depot's high performance can be attributed in part to its multi-year strategy that was launched in 2017 to “further unlock a frictionless interconnected shopping experience allowing all customers to seamlessly blend the digital and physical worlds.” Also known as “One Home Depot”, this $11 billion investment included a variety of enhancements to the brand's e-commerce capabilities as well as improvements to its physical stores located across the country.
#6 Target Corporation
Target Corporation, the leading general merchandise retailer, currently holds a market cap of $72.56 Billion. With its 'Payless, Expect More' mantra, Target continuously strives to offer a wide variety of products at subsidized rates, without compromising quality. Target is one of several retailers experiencing unprecedented growth during the COVID-19 pandemic; its e-commerce sales were up 20.8% last year on top of 144.7% growth in 2020.
Over the past few years, Target has made significant investments in its omnichannel business to ensure a seamless shopping experience between online and offline stores. Investing in same-day delivery services is just another one of the strategies Target utilizes to attain success. With its swift product delivery mechanism, customers can book their orders and receive them within a few hours. This is made possible given its strategic store network that beats e-commerce giants like Amazon, with 75% of the United States population living within 10 miles of a Target store.
#7 Best Buy
The consumer electronics retailer, Best Buy is historically known for its vast sales floor and eye-catching displays of gadgets. Under its unique “store-within-a-store” concept, Best Buy allows vendors to rent the space and run independent businesses. As the fifth largest e-commerce retailer in the United States, Best Buy places a high value on customer experience and is driven by a purpose “to enrich lives with technology”.
Since the pandemic, the retail giant was able to adapt to the needs of consumers, shifting its approach from being a big box retailer with a strong omnichannel presence to an omnichannel retailer with a large store footprint for support and fulfillment. This is accompanied by a variety of delivery options for consumers such as click-and-collect as well as an attractive loyalty program called Best Buy Data that offers technical support perks and more. With that, Best Buy was able to increase its sales volumes for both online and offline by 90% since the pandemic.
#8 Costco Wholesale Corporation
Over the years, Costco Wholesale has grown at a respectable pace despite the rampant rise of e-commerce retailing with a grand total of 572 stores spread across the US. With a mix of grocery and discretionary retail products, the big box retailer that works under a subscription model occupies a unique niche that isn't easily replicated by an online platform.
Costco’s strategy to sell products at discounted prices has helped attract customers, who seek both value and convenience amidst the ongoing pandemic. As such, the company’s net sales continue to rise by 16.6% at $15.21 billion to date. To further enhance its offerings,the grocer giant has also acquired the leading provider of third-party end-to-end logistics solutions, — now called Costco Logistics — to boost its e-commerce capabilities and facilitate it to sell "big and bulky" items. Additionally, emphasizing consumer’s need for convenience and accessibility, Costco has also successfully provided on-demand grocery delivery services in collaboration with Uber Technologies. Thanks to its attractive subscription model, emphasis on groceries, and the growth of its own e-commerce platform, the company is perfectly positioned to grow in the years to come.
Kroger, the leading grocery and multi-department stores chain, is touted as the first supermarket to offer a “national convenience delivery solution. In 2020 itself, Kroger’s online grocery sales grew by 116% surpassing $10 billion.
The chain’s online grocery delivery service called ‘Kroger Delivery Now’ provides a comprehensive offering of 25,000 items which combines customer favorites with quick and easy doorstep delivery. Kroger continues to expand its horizons, launching the Kroger online marketplace last August that sells more than 50,000 items in a broad range of product categories outside of its core business. This is further complemented by its click-and-collect services called Hometown Pickup that reach customers in rural or underserved regions of the United States where customers do not have convenient access to a Kroger store. As a result, Kroger now ranks among the top ten e-commerce retailers in the United States.
Wayfair, one of the largest furniture and home-goods e-commerce retailers in the US, has been experiencing exponential growth with more than 29 million active customers on its platform. The company has been able to penetrate the online home goods market in a way that few competitors including Amazon have been able to.
With a consumer-centric strategy, Wayfair strives to offer a tailored shopping experience across its portfolio of five different brands – Wayfair.com, AllModern, Birch Lane, Joss & Main, and DwellStudio. Its proprietary display ad platform, "Magellan", leverages its customer data insights to give personalized product recommendations to its customers via its website. Wayfair’s recommendation engine is unique in the way it uses imagery to inform recommendations such as product aesthetics and visual search features. Wayfair uses product images of prior purchases and items browsed as inputs in its AI model. In turn, the model learns which products are complementary and recommends them to customers. Furthermore, its efficient supply chain that utilizes the drop-shipping model has ensured a fast, tailored and convenient shopping and delivery experience for customers.
The Only Way Forward
It is no secret that the US is and will continue to be a leader in the global e-commerce sector. With an estimated revenue of 1.3 trillion dollars by 2025, the unprecedented growth of the American e-commerce market has been supported largely by the aforementioned companies that are setting the industry standard for the rest. As the economic environment continues to shift and consumer needs continue to evolve, we hope to see more online retailers rising up to the challenge. Stay tuned to find out which retailers will make the list next year!
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