Not many online retailers will bear the risk of selling and shipping an exquisite $20,000 chandelier. But luxe marketplace 1stdibs.com will. And the retailer seems to have carved out a luxury niche on the web.
1stdibs.com is a marketplace for high-end furniture, fine art and jewelry, which connects 4,000 dealers in 28 countries with both individual collectors and interior designers. The site attracts more than 5 million visitors each month, says David Rosenblatt, CEO. 1stdibs’ average order value is almost $3,000, which “reflects its unique status as a true luxury platform,” Rosenblatt, says. The specialized services it offers include verifying the authenticity of every item and handling shipping for items that can be valuable, bulky and fragile.
1stdibs.com’s business has evolved significantly since its launch in 2001, when it was a listings site where dealers could list items for sale but there was no e-commerce, Rosenblatt says. The online marketplace redesigned the site to allow buyers to make purchases online in 2016, after years of testing a “Buy” button on some products.
1stdibs.com has approximately 400 employees in six countries and will generate $250 million in sales in 2018, Rosenblatt says. It has raised $177 million in funding to date, according to Crunchbase.
While 1stdibs’ core business is products for the home, it has staked out a strong position in fine jewelry. Jewelry sales will approach $50 million in 2018, Rosenblatt says.“We offer roughly 10 times as many pieces priced at around $10,000 than the next-largest jewelry marketplace,” Rosenblatt says.
A growing segment of 1stdibs’ sales are to interior designers—around 30% so far this year, up from 20% the previous year, Rosenblatt says. And the retailer has been busy lately with new strategies to drive more sales, particularly to interior design firms.
This year it launched its Trade Rewards Loyalty Program, which supports the 45,000 interior designers in 1stdib’s trade program—a group on track to spend $80 million this year on 1stdibs—with new benefits and tools. The program offers a variety of incentives, including cashback rewards that increase as designers purchase more through the marketplace. A firm earns at least $50 for every $5,000 it spends on the platform and can earn up to 2.5% cash back if it spends $250,000 or more. As part of this rollout, 1stdibs also introduced a new workflow feature, My Workspace, which makes it easier for interior designers and architects to manage numerous product inquiries and purchases on 1stdibs, Rosenblatt says.
“Our industry does not lend itself to typical commerce solutions,” Rosenblatt says. “Because our price point is 10 to 100 times that of typical commerce players and the items on the platform are largely one of a kind, generic solutions from logistics, sales and marketing partners won’t fit our business; we ultimately need to do a great deal of thoughtful customization to make things work.” The Trade Rewards Loyalty Program is an example of one such unique strategy to grow sales, he says.
In addition to its new loyalty program, 1stdibs also is looking to continue to grow the contemporary segment of its business: New & Custom. This category, launched in November 2016, was created because of “the explosion of craft and boundary-pushing design available on our platform,” Rosenblatt says. New & Custom features a blend of traditional, modern and conceptual styles, all with original designs. The category currently offers pieces from more than 2,000 makers and brands. New & Custom now accounts for 15% of all furniture sales on 1stdibs, Rosenblatt says.
Also on the docket is a relocation of its bricks-and-mortar showroom. The showroom is moving from the New York Design Center to The Terminal Stores building, also in New York City. The new 44,000-square-foot space, slated to open in early 2019, will be accessible to both designers and individual consumers and will host 50 dealer spaces, special events and exhibitions, Rosenblatt says.