Startup turns to the gig economy to bring expert sales advice online
Curated, an e-commerce start-up, matches knowledgeable sales associates with online buyers by making use of an on-demand labor platform.
The site, quietly operating since 2017, focuses on “high-consideration purchases,” or complex, higher-ticket items that often require expert advice. So far, the site handles four sports categories — skis, snowboards, golf and cycling — and yacht charters in the travel category.
The site, led by former LinkedIn and Facebook veterans, has been gaining more coverage since October when it officially launched with $27.5 million in funding.
When customers visit the site, they are prompted to answer a few basic questions about their needs and then matched with a category expert — a real person — to discuss what they’re looking for. The expert provides a list of personalized recommendations with detailed explanations of why each product is a fit. Further discussions often occur until the right item is found. Customers then buy directly from Curated.
On the other side, Curated has to find those “experts”. Part of the job’s appeal is being able to share their passions to help others. The recruiting pitch starts, “Ever wish you got paid every time you gave your friends advice?”
Experts are promised average monthly earnings of between $800 to $1,000. About a third of the income comes from a fixed fee, another third comes from commissions on sales, and the rest from tips.
So far, the site is supported by only a few experts within each category. For instance, the winter sports category includes profiles on eight experts, golf has nine and cycling has four.
Experts are reachable via text, email, video chat or phone, and they make their own hours. Customers are promised their expert will get back to them within 24 hours. Curated’s average expert rating is between 4.9 to five, and their advice supports a less than one percent return rate.
Eduardo Vivas, CEO of Curated, told Fast Company, “We believe we’re giving our ‘experts’ a way to monetize their passions and talk about the thing they love doing most in life.”
- Curated Launches to Add a Human Touch to Online Shopping for High-Consideration Purchases – Curated/Business Wire
- Why a top VC and a former LinkedIn exec think hobbies are the future of commerce – Fast Company – Fast Company
- CSA Exclusive: New sports e-tailer brings human expertise to digital shopping – Chain Store Age – Chain Store Age
- How Ecommerce Startup Curated Achieved A Near 0% Return Rate Through Expert Guidance And Service – PSFK
- RETAILWhy Experts – Not Influencers – Are Retail’s Next Big Thing – PYMNTS
DISCUSSION QUESTIONS: What do you think of Curated’s strategy of matching knowledgeable sales associates with the needs of consumers online? Does the on-demand platform work for incentivizing sales associates?