Furnishful, which is run by Jason Lipton (co-founder, head of marketing) and Efua Akumanyi (co-founder, CTO), helps users find the perfect items for their home by providing useful product filters such as colour, material, pattern and interior style (e.g. Scandi, boho and industrial). Users can also create their own Inspiration Boards of items they particularly like. Inspiration Boards can be kept private or shared publicly with the rest of the Furnishful community.
Why we started Furnishful
"We started Furnishful because we could see that there was an opportunity for a marketplace that brought together furniture items from multiple stores. The process of buying furniture online is currently very fragmented, requiring the user to visit many websites. Even then, people often spend months trying to find the right pieces. Other frustrations include discovering inspirational images of products online, but then not knowing where to buy those items from because they aren't shoppable. Our solution helps solve both of these problems,” said Akumanyi.
"We also felt we had the right team in place to build the platform. Jason has a lot of e-commerce experience so understands both the opportunities and challenges that online retailers face - and I'm a software developer so was able to technically deliver a complex aggregator solution that involves, amongst other things, integrating with multiple APIs and updating product prices on a daily basis."
For retailers, Furnishful also adds a lot of value because through their website and social channels, they can reach users at all stages in the shopping journey - from awareness, through to consideration and purchase. Inspiration Boards showcases products to users in a fun way and allows Furnishful to introduce their audience to brands they might otherwise not have considered.
Why we decided on an affiliate marketing model
"We decided to use affiliate marketing to build and monetise the site as it gave us instant access to lots of great brands. It also enabled us to build a large product inventory from retailer product feeds. Plus, it meant that we could generate revenue from very early on in the business,” said Lipton.
What have you learnt about the industry (good and bad)
Furnishful’s learning curve has been pretty steep, as beyond the simple CPA model there are lots of nuances within the industry - tenancy opportunities, issues around last click, attribution and de-duping. On the plus side, it's a very exciting industry to be in. There are so many opportunities to add value within the affiliate space and also to work with great brands. But it's not without its challenges. For example, the publisher found that although many retailers emphasise their desire to work with sites in the awareness shopping phase, some don't have policies which adequately reward publishers operating at this point in the funnel, e.g. harsh cross-channel de-duplication practices such as brand PPC which mean that influenced sales aren't rewarded.
Growth in 2019
2019 has been a very strong year for Furnishful so far. Lipton commented: "We have some really good traction now. Our organic traffic has almost doubled in the last few months and our social accounts are proving very popular - I think our Inspiration Boards, in particular, resonate with people. They are highly visual and great for the likes of Instagram. We also have lots of fantastic new brands that we're in the process of on-boarding and the revenue that we generate for our retailers is up 260% on last year,"
"We're really excited about some of the functionality we'll be rolling out this year which is going to make it even easier for our users to find what they are looking for. Some of this functionality will utilise AI to intelligently show highly relevant products to our users, so we can't wait to launch that."