5/01/13

Fab.com changes directions

The design e-retailer cut its teeth with flash sales but now shifts focus.

Allison Enright , Editor

Fab.com started out in e-commerce in late 2011 as a flash-sale retailer of design-focused goods available for a limited time. It rapidly grew sales from $19.9 million in 2011 to an estimated $150.0 million in 2012—a 654% spike—landing it at No. 150 in the 2013 edition of the Internet Retailer Top 500 Guide. But now Fab.com is shifting its focus to selling products it carries all the time—an inventory its grown from about 2,000 SKUs at the start of 2012 to 15,000 today—as it endeavors to become what it calls the “world’s number one design store.”  

To that end, Fab.com yesterday unveiled a redesigned e-commerce site to U.S. consumers that includes new navigation so consumers can shop by category, room or designer in product categories like furniture, or shop for women’s wearable goods by accessories, dresses, tops, shoes and designers. The site also includes an interactive search tool that shows suggestions and matches images as a shopper types in a search. Entering the word “dining” for example, brings up a mix of eight matches by category (dining tables, dining chairs) and product, such as a specific dining chair Fab.com sells for $125. Search results can be further sorted by options such as color, price and designer.

The redesigned web site will be available to consumers outside the United States in the coming weeks, Fab.com founder and CEO Jason Goldberg says. Fab.com is also launching new shopping apps for iPad and iPhone; the apps previously notified customers when new flash-sale events went live. The apps reflect Fab.com’s new shopping focus. The e-retailer says more than 33% of its sales stem from mobile devices.

Fab.com says it now sells more to consumers who search and browse the site rather than shop the flash-sale events. It says two thirds of its revenue today does not come from flash sales. With the redesign, flash-sale events are no longer promoted on Fab.com’s home page, but consumers can access a flash-sale event calendar via a calendar tab at the top of the page. The daily e-mails Fab.com sends to registered members—the e-retailer says there are 12 million of them—also now emphasize products available everyday rather than the sales launching that day.

Fab.com also revealed some details on how its sales break down. It says 50% of its sales are of home products, 20% are of wearable products like clothing and shoes, 10% are of jewelry and 10% are of art products. It does not say what types of products comprise the remaining 10%. Fab.com also announced that it is now carrying products found only on Fab.com, categorized under the Exclusively Fab umbrella. This includes a private-label line called Designed by Fab, designer collaborations and products “found by Fab.” Exclusively Fab is promoted on the e-retailer’s new home page design, and drives consumers to such information as its work with Blu Dot, a modern furniture maker. It showcases a product line called Blu Dot x Fab, which includes furniture pieces of Blu Dot’s design customized with colors selected by Fab.

“We won’t rest until we’ve created the global brand that is synonymous with design for years and years to come,” Goldberg writes in a blog post announcing the changes.

Following its quest to be the top design retail destination, Goldberg yesterday also said Fab.com was launching sales to consumers in France; Fab.com now sells to consumers in 28 countries and says 40% of sales in April came from outside the United States. It also announced the acquisition of MassivKonzept, a Hamburg, Germany-based online custom furniture retailer that employs 30 people and is expected to generate $10 million in sales this year.

The acquisition supports the launch of the web site for Fab’s Designed By You line (dby.fab.com). The site lets consumers in the United Kingdom, Germany, the Netherlands, France, Switzerland, Austria and Belgium design their furniture and have it delivered to them. Consumers can also visit Fab.com’s first bricks-and-mortar store, also in Hamburg, called Fab DBY (it’s the former showroom for MassivKonzept). Goldberg calls the Hamburg store a test and says Fab will test different retail formats in other markets.

Topics:

art, Blu Dot, Design, e-commerce, Europe, Fab.com, fashion, flash sales, France, home furnishings, international e-commerce, iPad, iPhone, Jason Goldberger, jewelry, m-commerce, merchandising and design, mobile commerce, online apparel sales, shoes, site redesign, Top 500, web-only retailers

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