LuxeYard, a members-only e-commerce website that sells discounted high-end furniture and home decor products, is launching Tuesday to users in the United States and Canada. Yes, it’s technically another flash sales site. But what’s interesting about LuxeYard is that it’s doing things a bit differently from the established players in the space such as One Kings Lane and Gilt Groupe.
Crowdsourcing the inventory selection
Firstly, rather than populating its site with objects selected by a group of buyers operating autonomously based on their own taste, LuxeYard is taking cues from its users on what items to sell. LuxeYard members can post photos of the type of items they’d like to buy on social media platforms, and other members can vote up on products they would also like to buy. Essentially, the items for sale on site will be crowdsourced according to users’ wants.
“We’re really establishing a pattern of listening,” LuxeYard COO Steve Beauregard said in a phone interview Monday. “We’re really trying to build a conversation around certain pieces, and that will help focus our buyers and attune them to our users’ tastes, rather than just buying something they think is interesting.”
Taking group buying one step further
Secondly, LuxeYard is employing truly flexible group buying. This is where members use their social networks to encourage their friends to buy the same product on LuxeYard they’re buying, thereby driving down the price of that item. For example: I could buy a chair on LuxeYard for $150, and then post about that chair on Facebook. If a certain number of other people end up buying the same chair, the final cost for everyone buying the chair could be driven down to $100.
A unique financial starting point
And another unique thing about LuxeYard is that it’s hitting the ground running from a financial perspective. The company has raised $3.5 million from private investors, but has technically already gone public by conducting a reverse merger into a publicly-held shell company. Details are still being ironed out, so there is no public float to LuxeYard’s stock, but it will begin trading under the ticker symbol “LXRD” at some point in the coming months. Access to public market investors will potentially give LuxeYard the monetary wherewithal to compete head-to-head in the flash sales and group buying space already filled with solid players such as Wayfair, One Kings Lane and others, not to mention more general e-commerce sites such as Amazon.
But how long can exclusivity last?
Now, LuxeYard also claims it will be more choosy about the items it selects to sell on the site. According to Beauregard, if a company’s products are already being sold on existing e-commerce sites or major chain stores, LuxeYard will not sell any of its products. That’s an honorable goal, but true exclusivity is not always an easy thing to maintain when you’re also balancing the demand from investors for constant growth. And being that LuxeYard is starting out as a public company with notoriously demanding Wall Street-style investors, that could be an even harder balance to strike. But overall, LuxeYard’s offering seems unique enough that the company has a good shot at success — even in the hyper competitive world of e-commerce.
Here’s one more screenshot of LuxeYard (click to enlarge):