A new furniture store uses crowdsourcing to help source artisans to feature in-store and online.
Crowdsourcing has a number of innovative uses. These include a trash-collecting robot controlled by online gamers and allowing ordinary people to assist with conducting neuroscience research. In retail, one use for crowdsourcing is to have the ‘crowd’ help determine what types of goods to sell. It may seem risky to invite the outside world to choose what a retailer should sell, but the idea has been successful before. For example, design marketplace Minted has monthly crowd-sourcing competitions where artisans can submit their products.
Now, retailer White River House & Home is using crowdsourcing to find regional artisans whose works will feature in their store. People can recommend artisans for the store, located in Rogers, Arkansas and online. The store was founded by Matt Fifer and Mike Cockrell, who spent more than 30 years working at Walmart. Their idea is to sell both online and in-store.
The White River House & Home also acts as a marketplace for craftspeople. The company buys the pieces directly from the craftpeople and then resells it in the store. Much of the furniture on display in the store uses reclaimed lumber such as barn wood, and many of the pieces are one-of-a-kind or limited edition. On Saturdays, they serve hot cinnamon rolls and host artisan speakers and workshops.
The category of home furnishings has increasingly been moving online. Given this, it is unsurprising that businesses are trying out new business models to drive sales. In the future, will crowdsourcing their product range help more stores to increase business?