Making online shopping more sustainable and efficient, London’s Purple Dot raises €3.5 million

Pioneering ecommerce waitlist and pre-order platform, Purple Dot, has just raised €3.5 million for its mission to revolutionize how we buy and sell online. The London-based sustainability-focused retailer allows brands to sell products before they arrive in the warehouse via pre-sale and restock waitlists – claiming they can improve sell-through rates by up to 40%. 

The fresh funding is led by Unusual Ventures. Previous investors Connect Ventures, Moxxie Ventures, and the family office of Indeed co-founder Paul Forster also participated. The startup disrupting the ecommerce space received €1.49 million last year.   

Founded in 2019 by Madeline Parra and John Talbott, Purple Dot is designed to help retailers manage demand and reduce waste. The entrepreneurial pair formerly founded Twizoo before exiting the business to UK unicorn Skyscanner in 2017.

Through its innovative and forward-thinking end-to-end waitlist platform, Purple Dot gives ecommerce businesses opportunities to sell inventory earlier as a way to maximize sales, build brand loyalty, and access demand data sooner – moving away from old-age commerce models that were perpetuating waste. 

Until now, ecommerce brands and stores have followed traditional bricks-and-mortar retail models where products must be in stock in the warehouse before they could be sold. With supply chain issues plaguing the industry, this is becoming a growing problem for online brands that are missing revenue due to stock delays. Previous solutions for pre-ordering have often failed to allow brands to optimize the customer experience and inventory management.

Purple Dot’s dedicated waitlist solution allows inventory to be sold before it arrives in the warehouse, powering everything from pre-orders to out-of-stock management and putting the customer experience first. The waitlist checkout and customer portal fully integrate with existing systems and the platform manages pre-orders from the time of purchase to fulfilment. 

Madeline Parra, CEO and co-founder of Purple Dot, said: “By selling earlier, brands open up a whole new window to capture sales.  The legacy mindset and technology assumes you need inventory in the warehouse to sell it. But with Purple Dot, you can always be selling because selling and shipping can be asynchronous. This is the “A-ha” moment for our brand partners. To get a sell-earlier strategy right, you need a dedicated approach that gets the customer experience, and internal tooling, right. We’re excited to be pioneering waitlist shopping as the solution to selling earlier and providing ecommerce brands with a platform to re-imagine when, how, and what they sell.”  

Purple Dot is also helping ecommerce businesses reduce waste by giving them data-led insights earlier than ever before. From the types of products that are the most popular to the most sought-after colours, retailers can use this data to adjust purchase orders and have an earlier view of predicted sell-through. This is not only good for business, it’s also good for the environment and represents a more sustainable way to shop online by removing the need for overproduction of items and stock destruction. 

As we all need to think more about sustainability – particularly in relation to waste – the young startup is offering an actionable solution to the problem. Until now, consumers have been by-and-large guilted by the waste problem from overproduction. Purple Dot’s solution gives the retailers and manufacturers the power to take ownership and tackle this problem. 

Since the start of 2021, tens of thousands of items worth millions of dollars have been sold via Purple Dot’s waitlists. Leading brands using Purple Dot to power their sell-earlier strategy include menswear direct-to-consumer brand SPOKE London, and US womenswear brand Lisa Says Gah. 

The innovative company works with brands at every stage. From enabling a pre-order customer flow to internal and external tooling that manages pre-orders and advance payout products that give brands access to cash flow sooner. At any point before a pre-ordered item ships, the customer can self-service cancel or check delivery dates directly with Purple Dot, and these orders are held outside of the brands’ existing order management system until the stock arrives at the warehouse. This approach solves the headaches brands experience with operationalizing and scaling pre-orders themselves, as well as help to improve the customer experience and brand loyalty. 

Especially with the current global supply chain crisis, modern brands are turning to pre-orders to help them keep product launches on schedule. 

The new funding will be used to further develop the product, scale the business, and hire new talent – bringing a new era of sustainability to online shopping.