Writer Justin Peters compared the oldest Bulletin Board Craigslist modern for sale of furniture AptDeco and other similar startups. Despite the fact that the design of Craigslist has not changed since 2000, it still remains one of the most popular sites in the USA. Edition vc.ru published a translation of the material. Thanks to the failed transaction to the PEX developer Tagiri found a business idea. Spring 2012 graduate of the Wharton business school tried to sell the old TV and posted an ad on Craigslist.
She was contacted by the buyer was an older gentleman who decided to take a look at the product closely, and came to Philadelphia. When he found that Tagiri indicated the wrong model, then got angry and demanded to sell the TV for $200, and for $50, because he spent time on the road. Then he just took the device and headed for the exit.
“I decided not to spend nerves for disputes over $150. So I said, what I dont need a penny, give a TV and escorted out,” says Tagiri. This is the main drawback of Craigslist. The website facilitates communication between people, but has no control over what happens at the moment of purchase.
After a failed attempt Tagiri began to ask their friends and acquaintances about their failures on Craigslist, and many really had something to say. “This was the second call. “Yeah, so, this happened not only with me, recalls Tagiri. As the months passed, but Hagiri still remembered his failure.
Gradually, she came up with a business idea. To create a platform for selling second-hand furniture. Her assumption was based on the fact that many people would like to make deals with the intermediary, which could protect them from unscrupulous buyers or sellers. So there was a website AptDeco.
Like Craigslist, it allows people to publish ads about selling used furniture. The difference lies in the fact that the platform processes payments, coordinates the shipment and delivery of goods, and serves as a buffer between the parties. “I was created by AptDeco in his spare time. And when the site was ready, the first day I was able to sell the headboard West Elm.
Then I felt that my service has potential,” recalls Tagiri. Since then three years have passed, the service develops and in the black. In 2014 Pageri along with a partner went through the program of the startup accelerator Y Combinator.
For each transaction, AptDeco will charge a fee in the amount of 23%, and also $35, $95 or $145 (depending on the size of furniture) for the delivery to the apartment. In addition, the service allows you to hire movers or installers. The business model AptDeco has allowed the service to take pride of place among the startups that seek to change the scope of the sale of used goods. For example, Chairish is a platform for selling designer furniture — which appeared in 2013 and raised $9 million venture capital investment. Or Viyet, Trove Market, Krrb, MarketSquare and 1stDibs.
All these projects are trying to oust the unexpected leader of the market in the history of online retail Craigslist. The service is not trying to win over the audience, but users remain loyal to him. He manages to dominate at the inactivity.
And he is still thriving, despite all the attempts of potential competitors to Express themselves. The question. Why companies are finding it difficult to compete with a site that so reluctantly engaged in the business. In the beginning there was a garage sale.
Also the shops were junk-dealers, second-hand shops, antique boutiques, paper notes on Bulletin boards at local supermarkets and basement stores. Sometimes the auctions were held at least once a month, arranged a “Day of stuff”, at worst — have been dump. But then came Internet, and with it many new ways to buy and sell secondhand furniture. Suddenly people from around the world had the opportunity to exchange their “old lamps”.
One of the most useful tools was the list, which in 1995 sent out a guy named Craig Newmark email. Craigs list (Craigs list) were not similar to the online catalogs of the ads that have outdated print collections. It was one of the most interesting events in San Francisco and around the city. Soon the list became a standalone website.
Today Craigslist is a hallmark of the old, quaint and non-commercial Internet. There you could find a job, the partner, event, lover, to surrender the premises in the lease, to arrange the trip, and also to buy and sell any product from the trailer and finishing Antiques. The site has turned into something that needed users at the moment. In real estate Agency, labour exchange, Dating service, lost and found, city square.
Or if you are Craig Newmark, is in the ideology. “Craigslist is helping people to lay the table, find the table, and maybe even to find a flat where the table will stand. In addition, it is a good business model, which is very feels good, because it makes people well,” replied Newmark in the email.
He created the company in 1999, and a year later resigned the authority of the head. Since then, he has been closely involved in studies of customer service Craigslist and the development of the website deals with a new Manager — Jim Buckmaster, regarded by many as a supporter of the philosophy of limited profit. It is easy to explain how it works Craigslist. People who have something to offer, publish your free text ad.
Potential buyers respond, and the parties enter into the transaction. It is much harder to explain why Craigslist works. The site looks exactly the same as it looked in the early 2000-ies. Over the years the designers, of course, made changes, but they are insignificant — the color scheme, layout and fonts remain unchanged.
The website does almost nothing to convert casual visitors into users or to squeeze money out of them. Although the service does not disclose financial information, are of the opinion that it makes good. Craigslist receives profits through paid ads in the sections “work”, “medicine” and “real estate”.
Low operating costs and a huge user base (according to the service Alexa.com, Craigslist is ranked the 15th place in the ranking of the most visited sites in the USA) allow the website to generate a good profit, regardless of how outdated it looks. The website keeps users due to the fact that it leaves them alone. The phrase Newmark “do people good” means that the services do not knowingly causes users inconveniences, not exploit them.
“It is the spirit of the original Internet is to give people something simple and useful, so they can create their own and then get out of the way,” says Newmark. Craigslist “is removed from the road” users for over 20 years, and they respond to your affection. For example, I. Since 2002, I found using the service four apartments and five neighbors.
There I bought my first “adult” furniture, I found a film crew for two short films, the authors to the editors of their magazine. But I came across and assholes. One day I one week lost $1350, double-bought tricks online fraudsters. But I blame them (because theyre idiots) and myself (because Im so gullible).
I dont blame the service for what he overlooked for scammers. Users of Craigslist can be irresponsible, disappoint each other, but the service never allowed myself such things. It is crystal clear.
In other words, this ubiquitous non-interference, which the PEX Tagiri believes the flaw of service, could be his main advantage. AptDeco can offer users the luxury of indifference. Similarly, he has no credibility “pioneer of the web”. His guiding light is the belief that the acquisition of used products on the Internet should not cause inconvenience that people dont need to rent a car, go to Queens, to meet a suspicious stranger, to look at the sofa that he bought 20 years ago in the shop Raymour & Flanigan.
However, AptDeco is not a charitable project and not a test of trust. Its a business, and his co-founders — business to the bone. Tagiri spent six years at Goldman Sachs before going to the Wharton school of business.
Co-founder AptDeco Kalam Dennis more than 10 years, he held various senior positions at Loreal. In 2016 during the conference, Startup School, he elicited the applause with the phrase, which formulated the essence of his experience with AptDeco. “Build a real business”. From the first days AptDeco Dennis and Tagiri was guided by this mantra. Enrolled in Y Combinator, they first moved to San Francisco, but then on the advice of the mentors returned to new York, arriving only on Thursdays on the traditional dinner.
They told us. “What are you doing in San Francisco. If all your customers are in new York, then you should be near them”.
The first customers Dennis and Tagiri found on Craigslist, when applied to authors of announcements of sale of furniture and suggested that they be placed on AptDeco. When I went to the sale, the first time they worked with movers using this opportunity to get feedback from customers. “Mentors of Y Combinator said that we need to meet with users face-to-face. Each of our outing was like a reconnaissance mission.
We watched them live, and spread phrases, packaging furniture,” recalls Tagiri. AptDeco what attracted customers the most is reliable shipping. It is important for new Yorkers because many residents do not own cars and they refrained from buying bulky goods on Craigslist.
I recently visited the office of AptDeco in new York and met with Tagiri. The decor was modest, but the austerity reflects the business philosophy of the founder of the service. “I think that when people start a company, they think globally too, and I want to build a business the size of Airbnb,” says Tagiri. The entrepreneur applies the method, which he learned at Goldman Sachs. She breaks the problem into tiny steps and shifts the deadlock.
This strategy has helped AptDeco. Y Combinator, one set with the service was similar project — Move Loot. In addition to the purchase, sale and delivery of furniture he offered her storage. After completion of the program of acceleration has raised $22 million, but by the middle of 2016 closed.
The reason was too aggressive expansion and excessive demands of investors. From Move Loot have only a few critical reviews on Yelp. Users abused customer support, delivery, and confusing interface.
“In total I spent two hours trying to figure out whats what. In the end I did not managed to publish and I have used good old Craigslist, sold all in two days,” wrote one user Move Loot. To avoid errors of competitor, the co-founder of AptDeco not in a hurry to scale the platform. The service only works in new York and Washington.
Tagiri emphasizes that the growth must be gradual, and before you open branches in other cities, it is necessary to understand what resources will be needed to succeed in new markets. “Ill always be in the same city physically, than 30 cities, but virtual,” she notes. Recently my wife and I moved to Washington. The furniture we brought a mattress and chair.
From the Spartan way of life has its merits, but theres a limit. Two months later, we are tired of dinner standing and decided to buy the necessary furniture. Our budget was limited but we wanted to find something better than cardboard tables from IKEA but not too expensive, so we were not sorry to leave the furniture when we move. Cheap sideboards for AptDeco was a little, but prices are higher than Craigslist, but they were cuter.
The advantage of the service interface. Products can be sorted by different criteria. By price, color, brand, design and material. Any product found only in new York — a wooden sideboard decorated with antique pine $100.
Standard delivery charge — $95, and its a very fair offer, considering the distance. $30 I gave to the movers for tea. All I have left are $225. But so far, I have not received the goods.
Pay for your purchase, I was asked to choose from a list of environments and Saturdays at least three dates for delivery. Environment for us is not suitable, and in February we are traveling on the weekends, so Saturday is also excluded. The nearest suitable date will be three weeks after the purchase of the buffet. Im not complaining — delivery of furniture from new York to Washington at a standard rate without extra charges — its incredible.
Who knows, maybe this bar would change my life. Also I needed a bookcase. Typing “bookcase Columbia Heights”, I immediately saw a good ad.
The seller lived a couple of houses from us and only asked $30 for a locker with a glass door. I sent a letter to the owner and timed. As is usually the case on Craigslist, I began to assess the trustworthiness of the seller. Its not like Lori (that was the name of the owner) was insane.
Her reply letter came quickly enough and was written without error. We agreed to meet. The following day closer to lunchtime, I took my wife and her sister (numerical prevoshodstvo was on our side) and we went behind the cupboard. The main staircase of the house Laurie was covered with sand, and the facade seemed a bit unkempt.
If it was night, Id be nervous. Lori appeared and took us upstairs. I briefly visited the locker, and then handed her $30. It turned out that at the time she also bought it on Craigslist.
15 minutes later, the wardrobe was already in our apartment. Craigslist still feels good, and this is the main problem for potential competitors. You buy and sell furniture every day is a sporadic phenomenon. That is, most people have few opportunities to “get hooked” on AptDeco and similar startups.
I have a theory. On everyones mind the names of a dozen major services. Once a website falls into this list, it is very difficult to eradicate. This can only happen if he messed up or will change dramatically.
Craigslist, for years, remained in “mental list” of millions of people. He has not changed and does not get any worse. Its turned based, so the best outcome for startups like AptDeco is peaceful coexistence. “Unlike us, Craigslist specializiruetsya not just on the furniture.
The service covers many positions, so I dont think we are competitors. Because in this case, its competition would have been the majority of companies” — sure Tagiri.