Be Inspired by Wish: A Mobile App that’s Making Over $3 Billion a Year

Wed 14 September 2016 Written by Evi

If someone told you that an up-and-coming shopping app is poised to make a billion sales every year, you might be thinking that he’s joking. After all, Alibaba, which launched in 1999, got nearly $400 billion in 2014, while Amazon, which went live in 1995, did an estimated $180 million in gross merchandise volume in 2014. Growing an online shop definitely takes time.

Yet one shopping app, Wish, is defying expectations and is making $3 billion a year. In fact, CEO Peter Szulczewski estimates that their company will be the second or third trillion-dollar-a-year marketplace, depending on how well Amazon would do in India.

The most surprising part? These were all achieved in just less than three years. A feat of similar nature can be achieved with the help of an offshore software development company.

Success Through Facebook

Most of their success was due to their efforts in deep-learning algorithms that decide which products to show to a user while using the app, or even while using Facebook and Instagram. Such was the sophistication of this app as an advertiser that, according to multiple sources, Facebook’s ad team was impressed by its automated way of optimizing its ads.

As Szulczewski explains, earning success often means being aggressive, “and we’re going to be aggressive so long as the unit economics allow it.”

Popular, but Low on Revenue

Wish parent company ContextLogic was founded in 2010 by Szulczewski, formerly of Google, and Danny Zhang, who spent years working at Yahoo, specifically on search and advertising products. Back then, their focus was on recommendation technology, but they also saw potential in using the technology in the online advertising industry.

The team then developed Wish as a wish-list app, with the main goal of matching product images from shopping sites with the people who might like them. Despite its initial popularity, revenue is scarce due to the fact that the affiliate model was broken on mobile. As they continued persevering, they realized that the most popular products weren’t brand-name apparel, but low-priced goods that were attractive to value shoppers.

Thus, they began approaching no-name merchants, most of which were based in China. Needless to say, it worked, while countless investors began investing in the company.

Such a success story should be enough to encourage small businesses to be more daring with their ideas. With the help of companies like Emyoli, which offers offshore software development services, small businesses can fully realize the potential of mobile apps in growing revenue.

Meet Wish, the $3 Billion App That Could Be the Next Walmart, Recode
Wish, a Direct-From-China Shopping App, Lures Bargain Hunters, The Wall Street Journal