Be an Anti-Entrepreneur – VarageSale CEO on B2C Marketplaces (Part I)
TORONTO: During Techweek Toronto Growth Summit 2017, Andrew Sider, CEO of VarageSale, shared his views on the short and long-term realities of B2C marketplaces and what future opportunities lie in the space. In Part 1 of this 3 part series, Sider talks about the importance of reducing friction, fast shipping, and apps.
“Think big, start really small. It’s anti-entrepreneur to do. It’s not in our DNA. But we have to force ourselves to do this. Think really hard about who you are serving, why users care.” – Andrew Sider, CEO, VarageSale.
VarageSale is a virtual garage sale buy and sell app. It currently has users across the United States and Canada, as well as in Australia, Germany, Italy, Japan and the UK. The company is based in Toronto and funded by major investors including Sequoia Capital and Lightspeed Venture Partners. Andrew Sider joined the VarageSale management team in February 2014. He has helped found several companies, including BandPage (a marketplace for musicians to connect with their fans) and Bunch (a discussion app for interest-based groups).
As a panelist at Techweek Toronto’s Growth Summit, Sider was asked, “we have heard a lot that the retail world is coming to an end with the evolution of the internet; currently what is the reality of the B2C marketplace?”
“Firstly, online platforms are changing,” Sider said, “and Amazon is also changing consumer expectations around shipping. We started with 7-14 day shipping and now in some countries it’s 1-2 hour shipping.” Sider then went on to address the problem of a crowded market:
“If you are in a B2C business, particularly a marketplace, there is more friction in getting the product in the minds of consumers. Today, the B2C scenario is more about reducing the friction in the marketplace and making the product /service easily available to consumers.”
Sider went on to talk about the importance of apps. “Everyone is talking about how retail is going online but people have not realized that it’s quickly going to mobile apps. The shopping category in the app store grew by 50-60% in the last two years. Users are shifting to mobile apps or mobile capabilities, but many incumbent players have not yet made this shift or investment because of legacy revenues.” This reflects a broader trend towards mobile device use, as mobile and tablet internet usage started exceeding desktop usage in 2016.
“As a matter of fact,” Sider said,”VarageSale has 95% mobile app traffic. So, if we talk about how it is going to be in future in a B2C marketplace, I believe apps are an important competency in future traffic opportunities.” As mobile traffic increases, being mobile native may be even more important than having a solid desktop front end, especially because mobile enables useful features that make sense for marketplaces, like geolocation.
In the next part of this series, we’ll share Sider’s comments on whether it’s possible to survive without large incumbents like Facebook and Google. To see the full video for Techweek Toronto Growth Summit 2017: B2C Customer Acquisition, go here.