I lead the mobile development at Houzz.
When we got started, the best advice that we got was
that we should focus first on the user experience and build
that out until we really provide an amazing value
to the community, and then monetization sort
of follows organically at that point.
And that's what we did.
So we spent the first few years really optimizing the
experience, creating the best experience for homeowners
and for the professionals.
One of the things that are unique
about the Houzz experience -- it's not a in-your-face shop.
It's something that lets the user learn and educate himself
about design and design trends.
At some point, you need to make a decision
that you're going to, you know,
turn on the ignition and start monetizing.
We were very lucky in that regard.
We had great feedback from the community
on what are the things that they wanted.
So we followed those things and focused the monetization
on solving those problems that the community had.
So we created our local program.
It's a local subscription program
for home professionals -- architects, contractors,
landscapers, et cetera.
The second monetization channel
that we started more recently is our marketplace.
It's a commerce platform that lets homeowners find anything
for their home, from sofas, to lighting,
to vanities, et cetera.
And that also came because we started getting phone calls
to the office from homeowners that wanted to, oh,
I just want to buy this sofa or this bathtub
that I see in the picture.
And we kept sending them to stores
to buy it, but, really, no.
We want to buy it on Houzz.
Where is the Add to Cart button?
So we created an Add to Cart button.
We constantly monitor and talk to people who shop,
both the ones who end up buying and the ones who don't,
and try to get feedback from them.
What didn't work well?
A lot of people wanted to visualize what
that product would look like in their room, and so we ended
up creating the View in My Room feature,
where you can take five million products
and see what they look like in your home.
People who use this feature end up buying a lot more.
The Houzz app helped grow the business by exposing us
to a different user base and the website.
Users on mobile are much more engaged, are much more returning
to the app, and are much more dedicated
to the Houzz experience.
When we introduced Apple Pay,
we also introduced a Quick Checkout feature
that allows people basically to skip the card.
You don't need to fill in your details
because they're already pre-filled
in with Apple Pay, and that's it.
So basically, it really reduced the obstacle or the hurdle
to converting a user to a buying user.
Think about the experience that you bring to your users
and give them a lot of reasons to return to your app.
After you do that, introducing e-commerce to the app is easy.
I remember for many years reading stories
about how other companies got started and trying
to understand what is the secret sauce that goes into it.
When you look at it from the outside,
it always looks like magic.
What you don't see is all the hard work behind the scenes,
all of the failures, all the things that didn't work as well.
That's kind of the big magic, really, at the end of the day is
when things don't work out the way you want it.
You just continue to work on it until they do.
Try to do things that are different.
Try to see exactly what is it that people need
and fill the solution for what they need.
And don't try to build something that, you know,
you've seen others build already.
Try to build it differently.
Try to build it in the way that would really solve the problem
that the users are having.
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