Chairish defies the mobile shopping norm with its online flea market
A fool and his money are easily parted -- so what does that make people willing to spend hundreds of dollars on a floor lamp or a painting that looks like a toddler's scribbles? According to Chairish, a used art, furniture, and accessories seller, the correct answer is "customers."
The company is today releasing an iPhone app meant to help its most prolific shoppers check its wares as soon as they wake up. They can then purchase goods verified by the site's curators and delivered by white glove delivery services, effectively making the site an online flea market. The app will be updated some time in the future to allow users to upload items to its service directly from their smartphones, but the current version is strictly shopping-only.
Many of the items sold through the service cost hundreds or thousands of dollars; there are cheaper items, but it seems that some of the company's costlier wares are given more attention. Of the six items featured on its homepage, there isn't a single item costing less than $100, and two of them cost more than $1,000. Chairish does feature a name-your-price feature through which buyers and sellers can haggle over an item's price, however, so many items end up costing less than the price shown on the website.
It's unclear if an iPhone app will prove lucrative for the company. Mobile shoppers typically spend around $100 per transaction, according to Signifyd, and those purchases are made by the relatively few people who buy things on their smartphones instead of their desktop computers. But the company's co-founders say they aren't worried about their ability to make money on mobile, largely because of the service's unique wares.
"There's a sense of urgency involved. If you're a buyer and you like what you see, you'll want to jump on it because there isn't another one on the site," says Chairish president Eric Grosse. "We're dealing with attractive, elegant, beautiful things, and we're very confident that a mobile environment will do a really good job of presenting the items we're really proud of in the best possible light."
As the company evolves, it will introduce new services that allow sellers to quickly get rid of their unwanted items. It already offers a concierge service in San Francisco and Los Angeles that will head to a seller's home, pack the items they wish to sell, and then keep the items in off-site storage until they sell. Despite the high price tags on many of the items sold on the site, it's designed to expedite the sales process and prevent items from sitting in marketplace limbo.
[Illustration by Hallie Bateman for Pando]