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What You Should Know About Wish, The Most Downloaded E-Commerce App
Stay on top of the latest e-commerce and marketplace trends.
Would you be surprised to hear that the most frequently downloaded e-commerce app in 2018 was not Amazon? Interestingly enough, it was Wish, an e-commerce shopping app that has grown significantly in popularity in the last few years and is known for its extremely low prices. Now the third-largest e-commerce marketplace in the world by sales, the company boasts nearly 90 million monthly users.
How Are Prices So Low?
Wish ships products to customers directly from manufacturers in China and other countries in Asia and the products are typically unbranded and immensely discounted. While browsing on the platform, you can observe the extremely steep discounts, such as a Bluetooth speaker that is marked down from $559 to $25. There is no brand information or item-level specifics on the majority of product listings on the website, so it is difficult to confirm who made the item or if you are truly receiving such a drastic discount. It has not been confirmed, but the original prices listed may be comparing the items to brand name options.
How to Use Wish
To even view products on Wish, you need to create an account by entering your Facebook or Gmail login, or making a separate login with an email address other than Gmail. The site is broken up in several categories: popular items, “Blitz Buy” items that are part of a once a day sale on extra discounted goods, recently viewed, outlet items, and items in specific product categories such as fashion or home decor.
For each product, shoppers are shown approximately how many people have purchased it. For example, a bracelet is priced at $4 and the site shows that 300,000+ have bought it. The prices are immensely inexpensive across the entire platform: knockoff Apple Watches for $20, Bluetooth headphones for $14, bedding for $19, leggings and shirts for $3 or $4 each, and more.
Shipping costs vary by item, but are usually less than $10. However, some Wish users have reported that it has taken more than a month to receive an item, while some have received their orders in just a few days. According to Forbes, though, around 80% of Wish’s first-time buyers will return to buy a second time.
Wish takes a 15% cut of each purchase, helping build its revenue. As of its last fundraising round, the company was valued at more than $8.7 billion. Wish is competing with other online marketplaces such as Amazon and Alibaba’s AliExpress, which lets shoppers buy products from an array of vendors in China and other locations, such as Singapore. AliExpress, similar to Wish, has a deep focus on inexpensive products, but unlike its key competitor, offers free shipping on most orders.
Similar to the issue that plagues Amazon and other platforms such as eBay and Walmart, Wish has been spotlighted in recent years for selling fraudulent, poor-quality products. The team at Wish has organized a task force of nearly 10,000 Wish users to help the company identify and phase out merchants selling illegitimate goods in exchange for free products and discounts.
As another part of quality control, the company performs regular scans of their products, removing them if they haven’t had any engagement, have bad reviews, or suspected fake reviews. If a seller has listed a counterfeit item or shipped an order with an unreliable tracking number, they are “fined” $500 by the company. The company has cited that they receive nearly $3 million a month in fines related to this QA initiative.
The Future of Wish
The company — who received its namesake because, in its genesis, people could “wish” for things they wanted and create wish lists from a collection of products — is showing no signs of slowing down anytime soon. The company is experiencing rapid growth, in part due to a significant marketing plan: it is in the middle of a three-year $30 million deal to sponsor the Los Angeles Lakers — who are popular in China — and has run large campaigns on Pandora and Snapchat.
The discount shopping app, which offers a vast selection of over 200 million items, wants to become the default platform that consumers go to, a value proposition that epitomizes its direct competition with Amazon.