Lately one of the most solid eCommerce strategies I have come across is the Thrasio Model. This strategy can be of great benefit to eCommerce businesses or startups. The strategy still works, partially or in whole for other non-eCommerce enterprises too. In this article, I am going to mainly emphasise just a part of the model. I am deliberately doing this because eCommerce is yet to come full circle in Zimbabwe. Thus some elements of the model might not yet be fully applicable in the Zimbabwean context. Firstly, I will look at Thrasio and Mensa Brands – two iconic brands using this model variably.

Thrasio And Mensa Brands

Thrasio is a US-based eCommerce startup that set a record during its time of inception. It reached a valuation of US$1 billion in just two years. This was something that had never been done anywhere before in the world. Mensa Brands, an Indian-based startup, recently set a record in India. It managed to raise US$300 million in just 6 months. In less than a year it reached US$1 billion valuations and profitability. These are staggering feats and are keen to draw insights from given the continued rise of eCommerce.

The Thrasio Model

The model is a brainchild of Thrasio, as the name suggests. Over the years it has been noted that in eCommerce, third party sellers are performing the most. These are your typical small eCommerce businesses. That trend was borne from analysing Amazon’s numbers over the years. It has been evident that the lion’s share of Amazon’s revenue is coming from third-party sellers. However, there is an issue or hurdle that third party sellers experience. They tend to reach a certain saturation point beyond which they cannot grow further. Upon realizing and musing on this, Thrasio decided to come up with a plan. They would essentially acquire such third party sellers and enhance their operations. They would give the founders a full exit. This they could easily do due to their vast resources. That is how the Thrasio Model was birthed. Ever since Thrasio has done over 150 acquisitions worth over US$600 million.

Mensa Brands Has Tweaked The Thrasio Model

Mensa decided to adopt the same model by tweaking it a little bit. For starters, Mensa does not give the founders a full exit; rather they keep them around for as many as 5 years. Thus the exit will be a calculated and gradual one. Remarkably, every brand Mensa is acquiring is experiencing over 100 per cent year on year (YoY) growth. One of the brands they acquired, Villain, experienced over 250 per cent growth in October 2021. In choosing which brands to acquire they consider the following:

  • Does the brand have a digital-first framework?
  • Does it have good quality founders?
  • How big is its loyal customer base?
  • What is its annual revenue?

The Key Insights To Draw – What Makes The Thrasio Model Tick

I appreciate that you might not have what it takes to acquire another brand. If you can, then good on you and be sure to use Mensa Brands’ criteria. Let me share with you the heart of the Thrasio Model. Its heart lies in what you have to do to enhance or accelerate any eCommerce brand. It is all in focusing on the following:

Brand Story – you are supposed to come up with a story that clearly and coercively tells people what your brand is all about. This story should ooze out of everything regarding your brand that you put out there.

Copywriting – I have covered copywriting before. Copywriting is concerned with the professional composition or production of headings, sub-headings body copies of ads, brochures, catalogues, direct email offers, product literature, and much more. You must invest in this area if you are to excel in eCommerce.

Photography And Videography – this is central to copywriting and other aspects of online content creation. You must invest in ensuring that all your online visuals are top quality. This also applies to your branding e.g. things like packaging.

Digital Marketing – this is the promotion of your brand via the internet, social media, mobile phones, electronic billboards, digital TV, and radio channels. You cannot dream of making it big in eCommerce without digital marketing.

Influencer Marketing – this is the marketing of brands, especially through social media, through influential public figures endorsing or promoting brands to their followers.

Supply Chain – the basic idea here is to expand your supply chain, which is one. Secondly, you must work on introducing more products or services over time.

These are the 6 core elements of what makes the Thrasio Model tick.

There are several things and perspectives you can take away from this article. I have shared with you two success stories i.e. Mensa Brands and Thrasio. I have also taken some time to explain the strategies they use. Given that they have worked for them, go right ahead and use them as well. Pay particular attention to the 6 areas I discussed towards the end; those are the secrets to eCommerce success.