Cider - D2C Fashion Brand
Founded in 2020, Cider is a fast growing eCommerce brand that uses an innovative approach to fast fashion.
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Cider is an e-commerce fashion brand based out of Hong Kong. Founded in 2020, the company is on its way to becoming a global brand with an innovative approach to building community, reducing inventory waste, and shipping anywhere in the world.
Cider’s retail model is focused around reducing waste. The brand has a pre-order option available where it only produces the specific styles it knows that people want. It also seeks to educate its customers on the possibility of a zero-inventory future, without any compromise on affordability.
Currently, it has offices in Guangzhou, Beijing, and Los Angeles, with branches located in New York, London, Seoul and Brisbane. It has managed to raise a total of $140M in its short operating history, with a valuation over $1B.
Business Overview and Products
As a global D2C e-commerce platform, Cider focuses on overseas markets. Its products include low-priced yet fashionable clothing for women, with a focus on a zero-inventory future. It has a diverse range of product offerings which cater to both fashion and affordability. The company also has a significant social media presence, which allows customers to give their feedback in the form of reviews. However, one downside of the policy of reducing waste is that products may sometimes run out of stock as they are produced in a limited amount to avoid wastage of inventory.
How It Works
In order to maintain its zero-inventory efforts, Cider works with AI forecasting. This helps the brand make smart production choices on the number of clothes produced. This significantly helps with cutting down any waste resulting from extra inventory.
The website offers creative ways to shop for a customer. A customer can choose from one of Cider’s list of “moods” that cater to specific microtrends. The site also has a new-in section to find must-haves the old-fashioned way.
The company offers two options for shipping: standard and express. Standard shipping delivers the product to the customer in 8-15 days, while it takes only 5-8 days under express shipping. In total, delivery duration may be upto 15-20 days. Its return policy allows customers to return a product within 14 days of purchase. Refunds are made after 7 days of return. The online mode of payment accounts for Visa, Mastercard, Maestro, American Express, Discover, Diners Club and PayPal.
Business Model and Pricing
The company charges $5.99 for standard shipping and $8.99 for express shipping. The company offers free shipping on orders over $49 in selected countries. It also has a return policy, where domestic returns are free of cost. It caters to worldwide shipping.
In its short operating history, Cider has accumulated one billion impressions on social media around the world, covering consumers from more than 100 countries. Moreover, it has more than 2 million followers from around the world. These include the 2 million followers from Instagram and the 650,000 followers on Tiktok.
Its latest financing round of $130M led Cider to a valuation of over $1B, making it one of the fastest growing unicorns in the world.
Michael Chen Wang: Co-founder and CEO at Cider. Michael is an entrepreneur. He was previously a TMT investor at IDG Capital mainly focused on early-stage investments.
Fenco Lin: Co-founder at Cider. A former buyer for Bloomingdale's, Fenco Lin is now trying to build the next Shein through her work at Cider. She worked as the lead for 2017 “Redefine” summer camp and co-led its 2016 conference.
Yu Wu: Co-founder at Cider. Prior to Cider, Yu was a product manager at Dolls Kill. She has also served on the product and operations team at Uber.
History and Evolution
Cider was founded in 2020, and earned its initial popularity through TikTok. Cider kicked off with its target population on the platform too, as the website indicates. A customer can shop by mood on Cider’s website, which seems to go well with the functionality of TikTok. Unlike its close competitor Shein, however, Cider has been able to avoid the extreme negative connotations of a fast-fashion brand. It had its fair share of scandals, but was able to avoid bigger scandals by simply presenting itself as a smaller business.
The latest round of financing of $130M would be used by the company for brand building, R&D of systems and overseas business expansion. According to the company, it will also upgrade traditional manufacturing methods with artificial intelligence, big data and algorithms. It aims to build intelligent factories and while also upgrading cross-border ecommerce services.
Cider offers an extensive FAQ section on its website which provides guidance for social media collaborations with the company.
Cider is comparable to the popular Shein, a fast-fashion brand that gained massive popularity on TikTok. Just like Shein, Cider gained its popularity from TikTok.
The company lists small batches of hundreds of items per week and removes products within days if they fail to generate sufficient interest.
Demand for the Cider brand on Google grew to an all-time high in May 2021, and the brand earned views on Tiktok of up to 60 million.
According to a research report, recently the scale of the cross-border e-commerce market has expanded rapidly. China’s cross-border e-commerce market reached CNY 12.5T ($193.5B) in 2020, up 19.04% year-on-year. It was estimated that the market size would reach CNY 14.6T in 2021.
According to another source, the global market for fast fashion is expected to grow at a rate of 19% from 2020 to 2025. From 2025 to 2030, it is expected to grow at a CAGR of 5.3%.
Suggested Next Reads
ShopCider Reviews: Is it a legit seller or not? (Cinejoia, January ‘21)
Cider Is The Social-First Fashion Site Gen Z Can’t Get Enough Of (StyleCaster, August ‘21)
How Ethical Is Cider? (Good On You, December ‘21)