1stDibs vs Chairish: The Ideal Marketplace to Sell Well-Designed Furniture

In the previous article, we discussed several websites for selling furniture online, including online platforms and self-branded online stores. We also analyzed that online platforms can serve as a good starting point when lacking website-building expertise and online customer acquisition skills. Compared to large platforms like Amazon and Walmart, furniture niche E-commerce platforms for furniture and crafts undoubtedly help us test products in the market at a lower cost. There are a great number of furniture-selling apps available in the market, but through an internal survey conducted among our subscribers, we gather that there is considerable curiosity about the platforms 1stDibs and Chairish. In this article, we will delve deeper into these two brands and show you how to sell on Chairish, and vetting progress needed for selling on 1stDibs.

Part 1. Introduction to 1stDibs
Part 2. Introduction to Chairish
Part 3. How to Sell on 1stDibs
           1. Seller Benefits
           2. Pricing and Commission
           3. Application and Vetting Process
Part 4. How to Sell on Chairish
           1. Seller Benefits
           2. Pricing and Commission
           3. Application and Vetting Process
Part 5. The Best Platform for Furniture Manufacturers
           1. Chairish and 1stDibs Share Great Similarities
           2. Chairish and 1stDibs Have Their Own Focuses
           3. The Ideal Platform to Sell Well-Designed Furniture
Part 6. Practical Tips to Gain More Sales from Furniture Platform
           1. Quality Matters
           2. Targeting Niche Audiences Effectively
           3. Crafting Irresistible Visuals to Elevate Your Listings
           4. Maximizing Listings and Shopping Experience Impacts
           5. Building a Strong Brand Presence
Part 7. Partnering with a 3D Studio for Elevated Marketing Collateral

Part 1. Introduction to 1stDibs

1stDibs is an online luxury marketplace that specializes in selling unique, antique, and vintage items. The platform was founded in 2000 and has since become a go-to destination for buyers and sellers of high-end furniture, art, jewelry, and fashion items.

1stdibs

With an extensive collection of rare and one-of-a-kind items sourced from thousands of reputable dealers and galleries worldwide, 1stDibs offers a treasure trove of unique finds for discerning collectors and enthusiasts alike. From exquisite antiques to contemporary masterpieces, their curated selection ensures that every item meets the highest standards of quality and authenticity. Additionally, they pride themselves on providing white-glove delivery and shipping services, ensuring that transactions are seamless and hassle-free.

 

Part 2. Introduction to Chairish

Chairish, founded in 2013, has established itself as a premier online marketplace specializing in vintage and antique furniture, home decor, and art. Detailed item descriptions, including measurements, materials, and condition reports, ensure transparency and trust among its broad audience, which includes interior designers, home decor enthusiasts, and individuals seeking quality and unique pieces.

chairish

Chairish’s commitment to user satisfaction is further evident through its user-friendly platform with intuitive search and filtering options, ensuring a seamless and enjoyable shopping experience for all customers.

 

Part 3. How to Sell on 1stDibs

1. Seller Benefits

Sellers on 1stDibs enjoy unparalleled advantages, including access to the platform’s global marketplace teeming with millions of discerning collectors, interior designers, and sophisticated customers. Additionally, they benefit from competitive shipping rates and comprehensive logistics support, facilitating smooth transactions across borders.

According to their Q4 earnings report for 2023, despite a decrease in gross merchandise value (GMV) and net revenue due to soft demand, 1stDibs managed to reduce 19% in operating expenses, and a significant improvement in adjusted EBITDA margins from -21.7% to -8.4%. Despite soft demand, double-digit growth in listings was observed. Looking ahead, 1stDibs forecasts Q1 GMV of $83 million to $90 million, net revenue of $20.6 million to $21.9 million, and the gross profit margins for Q1 are expected to be between 71% and 73%.

 

2. Pricing and Commission

1stDibs offers multiple membership plans for sellers, with the pricing structured around a monthly subscription fee and a commission rate on sales. The monthly fee and commission rate vary across the different plan options.

Sellers can choose between plans with a lower monthly subscription fee but a higher per-sale commission rate, or plans with a higher monthly fee but a lower commission rate. This allows sellers to select a pricing model that best suits their business volume and needs. The commission rate, which is the percentage of each sale that 1stDibs takes, is also influenced by factors like the seller’s business type and the price of the item sold. So the exact commission rate can vary from sale to sale depending on the specific item, its price point, the seller’s membership plan, and the seller’s business category. Though there’s no official pricing table on the membership plan and commission fee. According to a discussion on Reddit about the 1stDibs fee, the commission for each sale can reach 20%-25%!

 

3. Application and Vetting Process

To sell furniture on 1stDibs, prospective sellers should submit the 1stDibs dealer application form and fill in the necessary info. Applications submitted to the platform undergo meticulous review. Sellers are evaluated based on the appropriateness and quality of their inventory, which may involve requests for samples, in-person visits to workshops, audits of social media accounts, and examination of industry editorial coverage. In addition to the application, prospective sellers are required to furnish at least two references who can validate their status as a seller or organization in good standing, ensuring that only the highest standards are maintained across the platform.

 

Part 4. How to Sell on Chairish

1. Seller Benefits
  • Comprehensive Support: Chairish provides a comprehensive suite of services, including access to a broad audience of furniture enthusiasts, a curated selection showcasing items alongside other high-quality pieces, and assistance with logistics such as shipping and handling. Additionally, Chairish ensures secure transactions, including payment processing, fostering trust and confidence in the buying and selling process.
  • Designer Directory: Chairish features a designer category, offering items from well-known designers and brands and their portfolios, enhancing the platform’s appeal to buyers seeking premium and exclusive pieces for their homes.
  • Trade Program: Chairish offers a trade program, providing special benefits and resources for interior designers, decorators, and industry professionals, facilitating seamless transactions and collaborations.
  • Virtual Try-On Feature: Buyers can visualize furniture and decor items in their space using Chairish’s virtual try-on feature, enhancing the shopping experience with augmented reality (AR) technology.

 

2. Pricing and Commission

Chairish operates on a commission-based model. When your item sells, Chairish takes a commission from the sale price. There are 4 membership plan options: Consignor, Professional, Plus, and Elite. New seller’s accounts are registered as consignor membership by default, which doesn’t charge a membership plan and holds a commission fee of 45% flat rate (for both vintage/ pre-owned products and newly designed products). When the sellers have launched up to 10 listings, they can upgrade to a professional membership plan, which charges a commission fee only and holds a 22% commission fee for antique, vintage, and pre-owned products. For newly designed products, the commission goes to 30%.

imagist3ds 1stdibs chairish pricing comparison

 

3. Application and Vetting Process

Chairish didn’t disclose too much officially about how they review and vet seller applications. They stated on their website that “Chairish doesn’t require sellers to have a business license to sell; we do require that you follow any laws that apply to you as a business selling online. We believe strongly in supporting our community fairly — a community of both buyers and sellers.”

In the Chairish seller FAQs page, you can find many guidance on uploading listings.

imagist3ds chairish seller faq

Given that a certain portion of sellers on Chairish specialize in pre-owned and vintage items, many of these sellers are not necessarily businesses but rather individuals looking to sell off collections for various reasons. As a result, Chairish does not enforce strict requirements regarding business licenses. Instead, they prioritize the quality of product listings. The primary goal is to foster a mutually beneficial community environment for both buyers and sellers by offering a professional, convenient, secure, and trusted platform for transactions.

 

Part 5. The Best Platform for Furniture Manufacturers

1. Chairish and 1stDibs Share Great Similarities

They are both renowned marketplaces, celebrated for their meticulously curated collections of premium furniture, decor, and vintage pieces. Drawing in discerning buyers searching for distinctive and upscale items for their living and work spaces, these platforms boast an impressive array of designer and artisanal creations. From coveted pieces crafted by well-known designers to unique finds from emerging artisans, both Chairish and 1stDibs cater to a diverse spectrum of tastes and styles.

 

2. Chairish and 1stDibs Have Their Own Focuses

  • Target Audience: Chairish tends to cater to a slightly broader audience, including both design enthusiasts and individuals looking for unique home furnishings at various price points. 1stDibs, on the other hand, is often perceived as catering more exclusively to luxury buyers and high-end collectors.
  • Inventory Focus: Chairish offers a mix of vintage, antique, and contemporary items, with a focus on a wide range of styles and price points. 1stDibs primarily focuses on luxury and high-end items, including rare and collectible pieces, designer furniture, and fine art.
  • Seller Base: Chairish allows both professional sellers and individual users to list items for sale on their platform. In contrast, 1stDibs tends to feature items from professional dealers, galleries, and designers, resulting in a curated selection of high-end offerings.
  • Fee Structure: Chairish typically operates on a commission-based model, where sellers pay a percentage of the sale price as a commission. 1stDibs, on the other hand, may charge dealers a subscription fee or listing fees in addition to commissions.
  • Market Presence: Chairish has gained popularity for its user-friendly interface and accessibility, attracting a large and diverse community of buyers and sellers. 1stDibs is often seen as a destination for serious collectors and luxury buyers, with a reputation for exclusivity and prestige.


3. The Ideal Platform to Sell Well-Designed Furniture

  • To reach more audience and potential buyers – Chairish: Chairish wins in audience reach due to its broad appeal and user-friendly interface. Chairish attracts a diverse audience, including design enthusiasts, homeowners, collectors, and interior designers. Its accessibility appeals to a wide range of buyers, potentially resulting in a larger pool of potential customers compared to 1stDibs, which caters to a more niche, high-end market.
  • To find a less competitive market to sell, you can choose – 1stDibs: Due to Chairish’s inclusive approach, welcoming both professional sellers and individual users. With a larger and more diverse seller base, there’s a broader range of products listed on Chairish, resulting in increased competition for visibility and sales. Conversely, 1stDibs employs a more selective vetting process, limiting the number of sellers on the platform. This exclusivity may lead to less competition among sellers on 1stDibs.
  • To gain more margin, the winner goes to – 1stDibs: 1stDibs wins in terms of margin because it offers a platform that specializes in luxury and high-end items, providing sellers with the opportunity to command premium prices. Additionally, 1stDibs offers more choice in terms of pricing strategy, sellers can choose a lower membership fee and lower commission rate or a lower membership fee and higher commission fee based on their business scale and need, enabling businesses to select the options that best fit their profit goals.

 

Part 6. Practical Tips to Gain More Sales from Furniture Platform

Selecting the right platform for your sales is just the beginning. Success hinges on your ability to manage your store and optimize your product listings strategically. These crucial steps can make all the difference between attracting customers and maximizing profits or falling short of your goals. Ready to unlock the full potential of your online store? Let’s dive into some practical tips to boost your sales.

1. Quality Matters

First thing first, upholding the highest standards of quality across your product offerings. Invest in superior craftsmanship and premium materials to ensure that your furniture pieces exceed the expectations of discerning buyers. By prioritizing quality, you establish trust and credibility, fostering long-term relationships with customers who value excellence.


2. Targeting Niche Audiences Effectively

Dive deep into your audience’s preferences, whether it’s classic elegance, contemporary chic, or eclectic designs. Tailor your offerings accordingly to resonate with their unique tastes and lifestyles, positioning yourself as the ultimate destination for furniture that speaks to their individuality. To broaden your reach and enhance audience connection, engage with relevant communities on platforms like Instagram and Facebook; collaborating with influencers in the furniture and home decor space to showcase your products in real-life settings, gaining credibility and captivating potential buyers.


3. Crafting Irresistible Visuals to Elevate Your Listings

Elevate the visual appeal of your listings with stunning imagery that showcases your furniture in its best light. Invest in professional photography or 3D visualization services to capture the beauty and craftsmanship of your pieces from every angle. Consider creating lifestyle shots or vignettes to help buyers visualize the items in their homes, enhancing their desire to make a purchase.


4. Maximizing Listings and Shopping Experience Impacts

Crafting Compelling Messages: Every listing is an opportunity to captivate potential buyers with persuasive messaging. Craft attention-grabbing titles, enticing descriptions, and compelling product messages that highlight the distinct features, benefits, and craftsmanship of your furniture pieces. Write detailed and accurate product descriptions, showcasing unique features and provenance, while utilizing relevant keywords and tags to improve discoverability. Additionally, respond promptly to buyer inquiries and provide excellent customer service.


5. Building a Strong Brand Presence

Establishing a commanding brand presence is pivotal in the competitive landscape of furniture sales. Central to this endeavor is the cultivation of a strong and consistent brand identity across various platforms, ensuring a cohesive representation of your values, aesthetics, and unwavering commitment to excellence. By sharing your brand story, expertise, and fervor for your products, you not only connect on a deeper level with potential customers but also establish yourself as a trusted authority in the furniture niche.

 

Part 7. Partnering with a 3D Studio for Elevated Marketing Collateral

Furniture manufacturers are now tapping into the expertise of 3D visualization studios to enhance the visual appeal of their listings. These studios excel in creating lifelike renderings, providing an immersive preview of furniture designs. Let’s delve into how partnering with a 3D visualization studio can transform the online furniture-selling experience.

Imagist3ds is a 3D rendering and visualization studio with over 13 years of experience transforming ideas into stunning visuals. They specialize in creating photorealistic 3D product renderings, 3D furniture renderings, 3D product animations, and even VR/AR experiences to bring architectural designs and products to life. Their services cater to a wide range of clientele, from architects and product designers to real estate professionals and renovation contractors.

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In conclusion, both 1stDibs and Chairish offer excellent platforms to sell furniture, each with its strengths. 1stDibs caters to a high-end, curated market, while Chairish offers a wider range for various budgets. Understanding which platform best suits your design furniture and target audience is crucial for success.

Regardless of your choice, partnering with a 3D visualization studio can significantly boost your sales on either platform. High-quality 3D renders, animations, and even VR experiences can showcase your furniture in stunning detail, giving potential buyers a more immersive and engaging experience, ultimately leading to more sales and a stronger online presence.

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