1. Enclothed

While both pureplay and traditional retailers are struggling with the costs associated with online returns, Enclothed's entire business model depends on learning from what customers send back.

This data-driven start-up uses feedback from customer returns to improve its men’s fashion delivery service. Enclothed boxes are around £1,000 for ten items and feature fashion from the premium end of the market, including brands such as Hackett, Gant and Tommy Hilfiger. Customers are sent the boxes in the post to try on at home and return what they don't want – only being charged for what they keep. But the company uses the data from the items customers return to improve the fashion range for the next box.

Essential eCommerce speaks to co-founders Levi Young and Dana Zingher to learn more about the business they set up two years ago.

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2. Gousto

Firstly turned down in the BBC's Dragons' Den, Gousto has gone on to secure £20 million in funding for its online recipe delivery service.

The eCommerce start-up is capitalising on the growth of buying groceries online, by offering a quality meal kit alternative, which also leads to much less waste.  

Essential eCommerce chats to Timo Schmidt, co-founder of Gousto, to learn about Gousto's journey from living-room food start-up to a data-driven company handling 1PB of data per day.

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3. Mini-Edit

Launching over the summer, the Mini-Edit is not your typical online retailer. A quick glance at the-mini-edit.com and you instantly know this website is cool. Its bold colours and statement fashion shots are a long way away from the typical frilly, pastel- adorned websites which primarily serve mothers and children.

Founder of The Mini-Edit, Jessica King, sits down with Essential eCommerce to introduce her online venture which offers stylish brands, including Stella McCarthy, Kenzo and Marcelo Burlon, to children.

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4. Hubbub

Online grocery delivery service, Hubbub, is everything the large supermarkets are not – local, personal, and most importantly, agile.

Hubbub customers purchase groceries online from as many of its participating local food stores as they like. Once an order is placed, the local shops are sent a message with the order and they pick the food from the shop floor during quiet times of the morning. The orders are then handed over to a van driver in the afternoon who takes the customer's entire order to their front door by the evening.

Essential eCommerce talks to William Reeve, co-CEO and technology lead at Hubbub, to learn how the online start-up is turning old fashioned food supply chains digital.

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5. Upper Street

Upper Street has a unique retail proposition, offering customers made-to-order luxury shoes which they can design themselves using a 3D customisation online tool. But in a world where customers are demanding online goods to be delivered the next day, or even sooner, Upper Street still manages to retain customers who understand that some luxury goods take a little more time.

Essential eCommerce speaks to Upper Street's CEO, Julia Elliot Brown, to talk about pairing together a personal luxury experience with online retailing.

Click here to read the interview.