By Daniel D’Ambrosio
If it’s good enough for Amazon, it’s good enough for Walmart, Best Buy, Urban Outfitters and more than 200 other companies, says Adrien Nussenbaum, CEO of Mirakl, a global firm with dual headquarters in Boston and Paris, plus offices in London, Munich, Barcelona, Stockholm and Sao Paulo.
Mirakl allows its clients to adopt the same marketplace platform that transformed Amazon from a bookseller into a seller of, well, nearly everything.
“What Amazon is doing is not rocket science,” Nussenbaum said in a recent interview from Mirakl’s Boston office. “I think Amazon has been able to take a fresher look at retail and the consumer experience and that has freed them from some of the blockers that incumbent retailers have.”
Key to Amazon’s success is an online marketplace of third party sellers – obvious to anyone who has been on the Amazon website. Mirakl brings that same capability to its clients, according to Nussenbaum.
“Simply put, Mirakl provides the technology and the partner ecosystem to launch an ecommerce marketplace,” he explains.
Take Best Buy Canada, for example. The company has stores across Canada and a website.
“They decided to find a way to quickly expand the product selection on their website and provide more choice and opportunity for customers,” Nussenbaum said.
To do that, Best Buy Canada turned to Mirakl technology, which allowed them to quickly partner with hundreds of third party sellers. Best Buy Canada was an “insignificant” player in baby products, Nussenbaum says. Through Mirakl, the company added thousands of baby products to its website through selected third party sellers, and within a year has become Canada’s number 1 seller of baby products online.
“That was very exciting to them,” Nussenbaum said. “It allowed them to very rapidly learn about this new cateogory, and ultimately identify two products they could also offer in their stores.”
J. Crew is another Mirakl client. It decided that on top of selling its own clothing label online, J. Crew customers would appreciate being able to buy “adjacent” products, like accessories and jewelry.
“Using Mirakl’s marketplace platform, J. Crew started partnering with hundreds of more niche brands, and now offers a selection of very nice items from emerging brands who are very interested in the opportunity,” Nussenbaum said. “J. Crew gives them the opportunity to surface their products on its website, which has a lot of traffic.”
Mirakl’s software takes care of all the complexities of a marketplace operation, Nussenbaum said, making it easy for partners to on-board their products.
“J. Crew may have very specific expectations about how products are described and categorized,” he said. “Mirakl ensures sellers provide content exactly as J. Crew wants it.”
Mirakl also takes care of order management when a customer buys multiple products on the Best Buy website coming from multiple sources, including Best Buy.
“Mirakl provides all the order management capacity in the background to direct the order to the right seller and makes sure the customer never sees that,” Nussenbaum said. “The customer only cares about getting the product in due time.”
And finally, Mirakl provides quality control, automatically surveying and supervising the performance of third-party sellers to make sure they ship within 24 hours, and tracking any customer dissatisfaction with their products.
Nussenbaum, who is French, launched Mirakl seven years ago in Paris with co-founder Philippe Corrot. Corrot remains in Paris, but Nussenbaum is in Boston.
“I’m an adopted New Englander now,” Nussenbaum says.
At the end of February, Mirakl announced it had raised $70 million, led by Bain Capital Ventures, bringing total capital raised to $100 million. In 2018, Mirakl said it had added 60 new customers and launched a record 37 marketplaces, achieving year-over-year revenue growth of 80 percent.
Until this latest $70 million capital raise, Nussenbaum said he and his partner owned a majority of the company.
“Now my partner and I are still very much active in the company and on the board,” Nussenbaum said. “We retain significant ownership of the company, but we have more financial partners supporting our vision.”
And now for the obvious question. Has he gotten a call from Jeff Bezos?
“I have not gotten any calls from Jeff Bezos, but he is definitely influencing the way companies think about selling,” Nussenbaum answers. “I’m sure that people at Amazon know of Mirakl. It’s true that we see ourselves as providing a very powerful instrument that helps businesses compete and survive in an Amazon age.”