Omaha based Fairshop reinvents the standard home improvement ecommerce website with an entrepreneurial twist.
When Fairshop co-founders Iyad Aldalooj and Jay Raggal found themselves in the ecommerce marketplace in early 2013, they were committed to bringing their startup to the head of the home improvement market.
How Fairshop works
Aldalooj and Raggal had seen the unorganized and rigid ecommerce sites already operating and they knew they could do better by offering a level of customer-focused service that they felt was lacking in other stores.
Fairshop’s main priority became establishing themselves as a customer-centric store with perks not found anywhere else.
“We’re the only site in the home improvement industry that offers free returns,” said Aldalooj.
Fairshop offers free shipping, free return shipping and does not pass along supplier restocking fees to their customers. They also pride themselves on offering unique brands and products that can’t be found in other stores.
Connecting with reliable suppliers
When Aldalooj and Raggal started working together in 2010, they were focused on selling Aldalooj’s patented “clickvent” covers online. Over time, they came to see that there was room in the home improvement market for a store that combined a niché shopping experience with a wider range of products.
When they made a pivot into the world of ecommerce with Fairshop three years later, they realized that there were some things about operating a larger store that they were going to have to learn the hard way.
“There are so many challenges like merchandising and finding the right product that people want,” said Aldalooj. “Finding reliable suppliers as well,” added Raggal.
After two years of trial and error, they developed their own eleven-stage vetting process which strengthened the company by eliminating time spent working with unreliable suppliers.
“The final stage is inviting them onboard and listing their products through the store,” explained Aldalooj. “One of our strengths now is finding good suppliers.”
Standing out in the industry
Fairshop has already gained attention online, not only by customers, but by larger companies. In 2015, they were one of a select few websites invited to sell their products through Walmart.com, an invitation only marketplace.
Aldalooj was also announced as one of Pipeline Entrepreneurs’ 2017 Pipeline Fellows.
“That’s the most exciting news so far,” said Aldalooj. “We are very, very honored to be a part of Pipeline.”
What’s next for Fairshop
Aldalooj and Raggal said that they’re in the stage of scaling and expanding, and raising funding. Currently, Fairshop is doing more with less, competing alongside larger home builder websites and brick and mortar stores with a team of nine employees.
Their end goal is to expand Fairshop into more marketplaces and increase their suppliers and number of products offered. Raggal says they also have more processes under development that will make Fairshop an even more unique shopping experience.
The focus will always remain on the customer though.
“We want to create the largest home improvement store online,” said Aldalooj. But, “if we pride ourselves on anything, it would be customer service.”
Christine McGuigan is the Associate Editor of Silicon Prairie News.