Cart.com, the Houston-founded e-commerce-as-a-service platform, has announced it will move its corporate headquarters back to its hometown after three years based in Austin, Texas. Founded in 2020 by Omar Tariq and Jim Jacobsen, Cart.com achieved “unicorn” status with a $1.2 billion valuation in June 2022. The rapidly expanding company cites Houston’s talent pool, business mix, and unparalleled connectivity as underpinning the relocation.
Rapid Growth Drives Move Back to Houston Roots
In just over two years since launching, Cart.com has seen 900% revenue growth and expanded its national fulfillment network footprint by the same percentage. The company now supports over $8 billion in gross merchandise value and has over 6,000 merchant brands using its integrated commerce solutions.
Cart.com’s initial relocation from Houston to Austin in late 2020 aimed to tap into tech talent and software engineers during the direct-to-consumer e-commerce boom catalyzed by the pandemic. With that goal met, evolving business needs and breakneck growth have shifted the company’s requirements today.
As Cart.com continues rapid expansion across channels, operational areas like human resources, finance, accounting and legal have moved up as priorities. Houston provides a much deeper talent pool to build out these capabilities at scale, given its standing as a major corporate hub and the fourth largest U.S. city. The relocation also facilitates improved connectivity among Cart.com’s seven corporate offices globally and 14 distribution centers domestically.
Houston’s Logistics Strength Further Fuels E-Commerce Operations
In addition to the greater availability of seasoned operational talent, Houston’s infrastructure provides advantages as Cart.com grows its logistics footprint. With two major international airports and its position as a top five U.S. container port, interconnectivity from Houston for both personnel and products is unmatched.
The sophistication of Houston’s logistics ecosystem will benefit Cart.com as its business mix shifts upmarket. The company has continued to expand its customer base, now serving major retailers, other enterprise merchants and government agencies in addition to small e-commerce businesses. Officials cited how Houston’s status as a global trade hub will be “increasingly valuable” as Cart.com’s own logistics operations see rapid growth.
E-Commerce Outlook Remains Strong Post-Holiday Season
Early data from Cart.com’s retail network shows e-commerce demand is sustaining its pandemic-induced gains. On average, retailers leveraging Cart.com’s integrated solutions beat their Black Friday and Cyber Monday projections by 28%. The top five brands doubled year-over-year sales during this critical holiday weekend.
The strong post-holiday outlook builds on supply chain concerns failing to severely dampen consumers’ shifting preferences for online shopping. With solid holiday sales momentum carrying forward, analysts see total U.S. e-commerce sales expanding to over $1 trillion in 2023. Cart.com appears well positioned to ride this macro wave given its differentiated digital commerce capabilities. The company has stated its network handled the holiday order influx smoothly, pointing to its technological strengths.
Cart.com Growth Attracts the Attention of Investors and Rivals
The burgeoning e-commerce enabler has attracted over $400 million in funding from venture capitalists since 2020, in addition to its swelling revenue. Major competitors have taken notice of Cart.com’s success, with Shopify unveiling a financing program aimed at challenging the company in supporting merchants across channels.
But for now, Cart.com remains focused on its internal expansion goals. Its relocation back to fast-growing Houston provides proximity to a strengthened logistics infrastructure and talent that will support the next stage of hypergrowth. With the broader e-commerce market outlook remaining highly favorable, expect Cart.com’s meteoric rise to continue as it cements its headquarters in a city primed for innovation.
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