Tictail is an ecommerce company that operates an online platform that enables independent brands and established retailers to easily set up online stores.
Tictail was founded in Stockholm in 2011 by Carl Waldekranz (“Waldekranz”), Kaj Drobin (“Drobin”), Siavash Ghorbani (“Ghorbani”) and Birk Nilsson (“Nilsson”).
The concept for the business was developed after Waldekranz witnessed the difficulties his mother faced as she set up her own new business. The founders agreed that a simple, online shop platform, that required no technical know-how to set up, would be a useful tool to help for small businesses get off the ground. According to Waldekranz, the co-founders saved half of their salaries for six months before quitting their full-time jobs to develop Tictail, which ultimately launched to the public in 2012. The first store on the platform was that of Waldekranz’s mother.
Tictail received seed and venture capital from investors from 2011, eventually completing its first formal round of funding in 2014. To date the Company has raised more than $32 million from investors including Thrive Capital, Red Swan Ventures, Balderton Capital and Creandum. In 2015 Tictail was reportedly valued at approximately $32 million.
Business model of Tictail
Tictail serves two principal customer segments: independent and established retailers and general consumers. The platform is targeted primarily at small-scale, independent retail operators, such as designers, artists and small businesses, particularly those that do not have the technical expertise to set up their own online stores. Tictail currently hosts online stores operated by an estimated 125,000 independent brands. This includes brands such as Mistervain, Marcel Bedro, Brixtol and Nordic District.
Tictail’s largest consumer market is its native Sweden, which accounts for an estimated 27% of the Company’s overall business. The US and the UK are its next largest markets, accounting for 23% and 4% respectively. The majority of Tictail’s remaining business is accounted for by Western European countries including Germany France and Portugal, as well as Singapore.
Tictail’s greatest value to retailers is that is enables them to showcase their products to a large, captive online audience with no need for any technical expertise or coding experience. The platform is simple to use and set up with all sales, billing and maintenance functionality provided automatically by the Company.
The platform is also free to use, and can be fully customised using a broad range of free and paid-for third-party apps. The Tictail platform’s social and messaging tools also help vendors to provide more personalised customer service, allowing direct contact with customers.
For consumers, Tictail’s greatest value is that it provides access to a range of products and designs that are not easily available elsewhere, either online or in-store, via a platform that is easy to navigate and search. The platform is also accessible via desktop and mobile browsers or through mobile apps, enabling customers to browse and make purchases from anywhere.
The Tictail platform can be accessed via its mobile and desktop websites at www.tictail.com, where users can browse and shop online or make changes to their own online stores. The Company has also launched mobile apps for iOS and Android operating systems, through which users can access Tictail’s full functionality.
The Tictail platform is available to both retailers and consumers on a self-service basis. Retailers are able to set up their own online store via the Company’s website, guided through the process automatically with no need for interaction with Tictail representatives. Retailers are paid for their sales automatically on a monthly basis. Consumers can access the Tictail store online, and can browse products from various designers by using search terms and selecting categories. Additionally, the Tictail Talk messaging service allows customers and retailers to interact directly, without using Tictail as an intermediary.
While the Tictail platform is almost entirely self-service, the Company does provide support and technical assistance through its Tips and Tricks section and its Help Centre, which hosts user guides and FAQs. Customers can also contact the Company directly through an online contact form or via its social media accounts with Twitter, Facebook Instagram and Pinterest.
Tictail is a technology company that develops and maintains an online platform through which independent retailers and designers can set up personalised online stores for their products. Key to the platform is the Tictail feed, which guides users through the process of setting up and running their own online store, including the incorporation of Terms and conditions and returns policies, as well as the provision of marketing and customer service advice.
Users therefore do not require any coding or web design experience to create an effective and attractive store. Tictail also collaborates with a number of software and app developers to create a range of native apps to increase the functionality of its platform.
Tictail’s principal partners are software and app developers that collaborate with the Company to provide greater functionality to the Tictail platform. Among the developers that have created native apps for Tictail are A3J, Sendicate, Postingly, Stormfors, Invetea and App Delegate.
Partners receive 70% of the revenue generated by their apps each month and are provided support and technical assistance from the Tictail team.
Tictail’s key resources are its software platform, its IT infrastructure, its personnel and its community of retailers. While the Company’s technology is an important resource, searches of records held by the Swedish Patent Database and the US Patent and Trademark Office identified no patent applications filed in the Company’s name. In addition to its online stores,
Tictail also operates one physical store in the New York, which opened in 2016.
Tictail incurs costs in relation to the development of its software platform, the maintenance of its IT infrastructure and the retention of its personnel. The Company employs a team of 59 engineers, data scientists, and sales and support staff working across two offices in Stockholm and New York, accruing costs relating to salaries, benefits, rent and utilities.
Tictail has two principal revenue streams: transaction costs for purchases driven through the Tictail platform and paid add-ons to enhance merchant stores. While Tictail does not charge its merchants sign-up, monthly subscription, or product listing fees, the Company does take a 30% cut of all revenue generated through user stores. This represents Tictail’s principal revenue stream, accounting for the majority of the Company’s annual revenue.
The Company also generates revenue through the sale of premium add-ons, or apps, that increase the functionality of users’ stores. While there are a number of free apps available, many of the platforms most useful or popular apps are only available as paid-for offerings. These apps can cost as much as $20 per month to use.