Peter Schüpbach from FashionFriends.ch speaks about Private Sale and how to successfully grow an ebusiness.
Peter started in 1998/99 with Miracle, a web 1.0 ERP software venture. He now is a multi investor with StudiVZ, Xing Switzerland and many more and CEO of fashionfriends.ch.
In 2006 an investment in Fashion and You started, with FashionFriends.ch following in 2008. The two cofounders quickly built a startup with 6 people that added fashion and supplier knowledge.
FashionFriends.ch wants to be very personal with a wow-effect philosophy, much the same as the Zappos website does.
The private sale business model is biased towards the industry. FashionFriends solves inventory overproduction problems. A sales event is limited in time, goods and offers a good price. Most events run only 4 to 7 days with a limited number of products. Sometimes products are sold out within minutes. Products are always high quality objects from genuine sources. Sometimes a supplier’s promotion is part of the event.
FashionFriends.ch sources and sells products. The products never go on search engines. The membership is free and includes a daily or weekly newsletter. The events are about creating demand. 4 to 6 daily events offer attractive goods. Some of the 4000 members shop several times a month… In average there are 330 new members per day. The conversion rate is 24%.
The software is built in-house from scratch. This allows for high customisation and a very powerful system that copes properly with the visitor peak load at the given time of a sales event.
In 2010 260’000 products were sold with 60’000 product photos. Abercrombie Fitch sold 1000 articles in 3 minutes.
Today 62 staff members write 30’000 hand-written welcome cards among many other things…
Vision: In 2013 FashionFriends wants to be the largest non-food shopping community.
Mission: The experience should have a wow-effect at any time in the shopping experience or once the parcel is delivered home.
The wow-effect is due to some degree of crazyness or being different. Things are being tried out, measured, optimised. Trying out means being quick and then analytic. Blow out sales events were tried in order to reduce inventory.
Sales events are about moving big volumes of goods in and out of the warehouse. A non-failure culture is a must. 50’000 customers generate a lot of feedback that needs to be taken into account.
As per usual a key element is the team. Success is honoured every Friday with bells going at certain revenue limits.
Q & A
New members are mainly acquired via Google after testing countless other channels.
It’s important to have underpriced products in order to attract a crowd. Dynamic prices may be counterproductive. If anything they are optimised in a later sale.
The brand name around ‚fashion‘ is open to offer nearby services such as lifestyle articles.
At the end of his speech Peter promotes Politnetz.ch, yet another of his many ventures.