5 of the Best Big Online Retail Launches of 2011

Zara online commerce

While a few of the big online commerce launches this year filled voids we hadn’t realized needed filling — at least until these new sites came along — we can’t even believe it took some other retailers this long to hit the web!  Let’s take a look at five big names who made notable e-commerce debuts this year:

1.  Zara (finally!) introduced online commerce: The affordable global fashion chain based in Spain launched e-commerce for its American fans in September.  Okay, now we’re just waiting for H&M to finally become available online…

2.  Amazon debuted flash sale site MyHabit:  The e-commerce behemoth came out with its own flash sale site, MyHabit, in May.  The stripped-down, stylish, and well-priced site could give Gilt Groupe a run for its money.

3. The Olsens launched StyleMint: One of the biggest e-commerce trends of 2011 was the increasing popularity of online merch-of-the-month clubs.  Of those to debut this year, we’d have to argue that Mary-Kate and Ashley Olsen’s t-shirt-centric site, StyleMint, made the biggest splash.  (Hint: it probably has something to do with the pint-sized fashion icons at the helm.)

4.  Community Collection effectively combined designer goods and charity:  This launch is slightly more under-the-radar than others on the list, but it’s no less important — Community Collection, the brainchild of entrepreneur Brooks Cook, is the slickest charitable e-commerce site we’ve seen yet.  And with a range of high-end labels to choose from, it’s even a fun place to shop.

5.  Gilt Groupe introduced Gilt Taste:  When Gilt decided to introduce a food-focused site combining retail and editorial, they brought on Ruth Reichl, the former editor-in-chief of Gourmet, to helm the project.  And thus Gilt Taste is arguably one of the chicest, and most informative, places to get artisanal cuisine on the web.