Pinduoduo, Etsy, and OTC: How Specialty Ecommerce Can Thrive Against the Giants. (Tech Strategy – Podcast 97)


This week’s podcast is about assessing specialty ecommerce companies (i.e,. the anteaters) vs. the ecommerce giants (i.e,. the lions). Which will survive? Which will thrive?

You can listen to this podcast here or at iTunes and Google Podcasts.

Here is the link to the Q&A on Sept 7:

Here are my 5 questions (thus far) for assessing the viability of a specialty ecommerce company.

  1. Is the company sufficiently differentiated in the user experience?
  2. Can the company compete and/or differentiate in logistics or infrastructure without ongoing spending?
  3. Does the company have a strong competitive advantage in a circumscribed market?
  4. Is there a clear path to significant operational cash flow?
  5. Has the company avoided markets and situations that are attractive or strategic for the major ecommerce companies?
  6. Addendum: Don’t overestimate first mover, virality or growth hacks.

Here’s my assessment of various specialty ecommerce companies:

  • Thriving:
    • Etsy – huge suite of unique products for mass market by capturing unique merchants.
    • Oriental Trading Company (OTC) – unique product for niche market by unique logistics.
    • Pinduoduo – engagement driven ecommerce.
  • Survive, but questionable:
    • Global-e – cross border logistics
  • I’m not optimistic:
    • Dingdong
    • Farfetch
  • Situations that may be overestimating first mover, virality or growth hacks.
    • Delivery Hero:
    • Shein


Related articles:

From the Concept Library, concepts for this article are:

  • Specialty Ecommerce
  • Interactive and Engagement-Focused Ecommerce

From the Company Library, companies for this article are:

  • Etsy
  • Oriental Trading Company
  • Pinduoduo

Photo by Nareeta Martin on Unsplash


I write, speak and consult about how to win (and not lose) in digital strategy and transformation.

I am the founder of TechMoat Consulting, a boutique consulting firm that helps retailers, brands, and technology companies exploit digital change to grow faster, innovate better and build digital moats. Get in touch here.

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Note: This content (articles, podcasts, website info) is not investment advice. The information and opinions from me and any guests may be incorrect. The numbers and information may be wrong. The views expressed may no longer be relevant or accurate. Investing is risky. Do your own research.


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