Paris-based Elyn, which lets online merchants offer consumers a try before you buy (TBYB) option at checkout, has raised a €2.5m pre-seed round from Sequoia Arc — the US VC’s accelerator programme, from which it graduated — and Headline.
What does Elyn do?
Elyn is trying to solve an ecommerce bottleneck it says contributes to average cart abandonment rates of 70% among online shoppers: a long-winded returns process that puts them off shopping in the first place.
In the same way startups offering consumers the option to buy now, pay later sit on a merchant’s website, Elyn offers consumers the chance to use a product for five days before deciding whether they want to keep it, return it or exchange it for an alternative product.
Customers are only charged for what they don’t return within the five-day period, and Elyn takes an undisclosed single-digit percentage of commission from the products people keep. The appearance of its platform can be customised to blend in with different brands.
Though it currently focuses on French Shopify merchants, it has its sights set on expanding to the Salesforce Commerce Cloud CMS, another large B2C commerce platform. Merchants already using the service, it says, have improved customer conversion rates by 30%.
The cash has already been used to grow the Elyn team from five to 15 employees, and will go towards product development and expanding the commercial reach of its sales and marketing teams.
- The pre-seed round was led by Sequoia Arc and Headline
- Family offices Motier Ventures and Financière Saint James also participated.
- As did the CEO of Founders Future, Marc Menasé, and former EMEA director of Stripe, Guillaume Princen.
How’s the try-before-you-buy sector looking?
Retail giant Amazon has a similar offering on its clothing range for Prime members, and Elyn cofounder El Mehdi Hachad reckons the purchasing experience is set to become the norm: “We’re convinced that, just like free returns and free shipping, every major ecommerce brand will offer a TBYB option in the next 12 months.”
That said, consumers are likely to pull back on non-essential spending in the coming months as tough economic times loom. However, the option to trial impulsive buys before committing to the purchase and a straightforward returns process across retailers could tempt more people to treat themselves: a survey by Elyn of consumers using the service found that more than 20% currently choose the TBYB option at checkout, and 80% of those say they wouldn’t have completed their purchase without the option.