Is Fab the New Model for Online Marketplaces?

by G.B. Oliver

Have you checked out Fab.com yet? Fab is the latest entry in the online marketplace selling designers’ and artisans’ work. They have been incredibly successful and in the past year have grown from 1.5 million members to now over 7.5 million (members = buyers) and they do things a little differently, but we’ll get to that in a minute.

Fab sells products that are hand selected by their staff via submissions (anyone can submit). They offer up to 70% off retail prices on a variety of products including furniture, gadgets, home accessories, art, jewelry and so forth.

So, what does Fab bring to the table that the other marketplaces don’t?

1. Fab is more more hands-on. As mentioned, they have a team that hand selects the items that make it onto the site, so there is quality control.

2. They write the clever and witty copy that accompanies each product because vendors don’t always know how to market their products in the best light (hence the need for ebooks like mine), and it maintains a consistency across the vendors.

3. While the designer/shop is mentioned by name, there is no link to the seller’s shop (you stay on Fab). Also, there is no actual permanent shop on the site for a vendor, but they will group their items together in a “storefront” window for as long as their sale lasts.

So it is kind of like a One Kings Lane meets Etsy.

4. Fab’s “Feed” is interesting as well. This is how you search. A random search of products is displayed, but you can search by popularity, price, category and color. You can also add comments to products that show up right on the search page, similar to how you see Pinterest comments.

5. Fab integrates social media really well.  If you “Like”, “Tweet” “Pin” or “Tumble” their products you earn Fab points to be used towards future purchases. Great incentive for people to do so. They also have a mobile app so you can get their daily inspirations on the go (30% of their orders are via mobile).

6. Fab also sends lots of emails, typically four a day in your mailbox, as each day there are new sales starting at 11 am EST. So they really work hard to promote ALL the products on the site.

7. What is really refreshing about Fab is their sense of personality. They are quirky and fun and you can tell they look for products that are not only in this vein, but are also original, functional and well-designed. While other online marketplaces have worked to create community among their sellers, Fab uses this sense of personality to create community between itself, its sellers AND the customers, which I think is its strongest asset.

This is not your typical shopping experience. And that’s what makes it Fab!

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★  If you have an online shop, be sure to check out my new series of PDFs, entitled Small Business Marketing Ideas That Work! where I give you all my best and latest marketing secrets that will make your shop a top seller in 2013! Editions for Jewelry & Fashion Accessories, Home Products, Kids & Baby Products and Wedding Products. Get your copy by email today!

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© 2012 G.B. Oliver. All rights reserved.