A Craigslist for used furniture, that will move the item for you, launches in … – Crain’s New York Business
A new kind of used-furniture e-commerce store—one that applies data science to pricing items and doubles as a moving company—launched Thursday in New York.
San Francisco-based Move Loot, founded in 2013 by four twentysomethings who had recently suffered through several cross-country moves, will pick up used furniture it thinks it can clean, price, photograph and sell online. The company, which employs its own movers, will then deliver the merchandise to the buyer within 48 hours—and handle the return if the purchaser is dissatisfied.
For its New York launch, the company is currently using a warehouse in New Jersey and looking for space in the city. It picks up and delivers furniture along the East Coast through a central hub in Durham, N.C. It expects to grow its operations in New York City to around 100 people by the end of the year.
Pickup and delivery are free. The original owner of the furniture and Move Loot take an even split of the sales price, which can be set either by the seller or the company. Move Loot has been working with furniture experts and its own data team to develop pricing analytics.
Being a moving company as well as a furniture store allows Move Loot to provide delivery for free—and quickly. “Historically, it’s very expensive,” said co-founder and chief marketing officer Jenny Morrill. “And most furniture retailers take six to eight weeks to deliver.”
Like other businesses in the on-demand economy, Move Loot wants to change consumer behavior as it makes money. (Unlike some other tech startups, however, it has employees doing the work, not contractors, which the founders believe is crucial for a customer-facing company, which needs to make a good first impression on its users.) In this case the idea is to get people to think about the furniture they buy as something they can resell.
“One of our goals is to encourage long life around quality pieces,” said co-founder and CEO Bill Bobbitt. “We want to incite in the seller the idea that [furniture] is a liquid asset. If you spend $6,000 you can resell it for $4,000.”
Most of the products on the Move Loot website go for a lot less: The average price of items is around $200, which Ms. Morrill said makes their merchandise competitive with Ikea.
The company takes about 75% of what sellers show them, and sells about 80% of its inventory within 14 days. Unsold items are given to charity.
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