FastAF is expanding just a few months after its launch.
The two-hour delivery e-tailer that officially opened Last fall, first in Los Angeles and then in New York, it will come to San Francisco and Miami in the first week of April. Next up is The Hamptons in the Long Island area of New York, and founder and CEO Lee Hnetinka sees the company available in eight to ten US cities over the next 18 months as part of an “aggressive growth plan”.
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“Our vision is to bring FastAF to every single city,” said Hnetinka from a friend’s house in Malibu. “The world’s largest retailer has more than 10,000 stores in 24 countries. I don’t know why we can’t be that big. “
As a six-month-old offering that arose from a previous company, Darkstore Inc., that has raised just over $ 30 million in venture funding to date, there is still some work to be done before FastAF is the size of Walmart. But Hnetinka has a 30-year plan for the company. And he has already turned down acquisition offers. Its goal is to grow as a funded company and bring FastAF to the public.
But it will take time and money to get there. As of now, Hnetinka seems happy with the company’s progress, and while the timing of starting an online retailer with two-hour delivery was more random amid a global pandemic, he doesn’t think a post-pandemic world will be less interested in convenience becomes .
“When I grew up, you had to go to Blockbuster to choose a movie,” said Hnetinka. “Now that you have access to all of these digital platforms and you can get a movie faster, you won’t be reverting to previous habits.”
While Hnetinka has so far not disclosed sales or number of users, he cited the company’s Instagram handle, which recently broke 10,000 followers, as a measure of FastAF’s popularity. He said none of the trailers had been bought. Even so, growth has been limited by certain things, such as FastAF is only available as an app for iOS and only accepts ApplePay, both of which will change. Credit cards are only just beginning to be accepted and FastAF will be available on Android within a year.
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Nonetheless, Hnetinka noted encouraging user metrics, such as a 20 percent weekly growth over the week who make a purchase every week on average, but log into the app to surf every other day with a response rate of less than 1 percent. And 70 percent of FastAF’s revenue growth is due to regular customers, while more and more brands are added as wholesalers.
“We have definitely reached the tipping point where brands are getting closer,” he said. “Eighty-eight percent of our brands are exclusive to us for a two-hour delivery. 70 percent are not sold on Amazon. We’re looking for brands that we can have a unique relationship with. “
Goop, APL and Boy Smells were recently added to FastAF’s 350 brands. While Hnetinka admitted buying some branded items at retail outlets and posting them on the website to see what is in demand, FastAF is a retailer that makes its money mostly from wholesale margins. Bala bangles, wrist and ankle weights, are the site’s top sellers, with personal care products like Aesop and hotel lobby candles being some of the most popular.
But months of growth have also brought some lessons. When FastAF managed to get some PlayStation 5 devices over the holidays (by buying them at retail, not wholesale) and putting them on the app, there was some surprising outrage from buyers who failed to get one.
“People got pretty loud,” said Hnetinka. “You have to manage customer expectations. But the drops will be big for us this year. “
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