Direct-to-consumer brands that rely heavily on Facebook and Instagram ads have been reeling ever since Apple’s 2021 privacy changes made it harder and more expensive to land new customers. But a small group of e-commerce software startups is looking to help DTC sellers work together to showcase their goods in new ways—without cannibalizing each other’s sales.
These startups are taking inspiration from marketplaces like Amazon as well as digital ad networks to offer ways for small sellers to cooperate on recommending things to buy and fleshing out their ranges of products. Some, like Canal and Disco, help sellers show ads to each other’s customers right after shoppers buy something. Another startup, Cortina, lets sellers tap each other to broaden the array of goods available for sale on their sites. The business models differ from firm to firm—some are charging software subscription fees while others take a commission on sales.