How Doorstep Market Puts Local Makers in the Global Spotlight
A Flexible Platform for Big Ambitions
America is home to some of the world’s most creative and dedicated makers. From organic farmers to fresh wood carpenters, each region in the country is a showcase for beautiful products made locally and sold in small batches. But when the COVID-19 global pandemic hit, supply chains were suddenly disrupted and consumers turned to online shops to make their purchases, leaving these local brands to compete with the giants of e-commerce.
Enter Doorstep Market, a digital marketplace that evens the playing field for local makers by opening up their goods to an international audience. Founded by Edible magazine publisher Jennifer Solow, Jonathan Taee, and Tom Jacoby, Doorstep Market is a unique multi-region website built on Magento Commerce that marries highly curated experiences with the convenience of the Magento Commerce platform.
From inception, time and flexibility were of the essence for Doorstep Market’s founders, who wanted to launch the site as quickly as possible and begin helping local businesses to overcome the challenges of COVID-19. The company began by launching a beta site on e-commerce platform Sharetribe, allowing it to aggregate its makers onto a single platform and test its concept. But from day one it became clear that Doorstep’s vision would outgrow the platform.
“Our vision for the business was to start in the Hudson River Valley, then roll out to more regions across the U.S. over the next year, and then look globally,” recalls Taee, Doorstep Market’s CTO. “But unlike the platforms that inspired us, such as Etsy, we were a small start-up that didn’t have time or funding to build our own platform from the ground up.
With the help of Magento Solution Partner Envision eCommerce, a Netsmartz Company and Magento Marketplace Extension Developer Unirgy, Doorstep deployed its platform in just three months. Unirgy’s multi-vendor support was ideal for Taee and his team, allowing them to customize Magento Commerce to Doorstep’s new marketplace concept. Additionally, Magento Premier Technology Partner PayPal facilitates marketplace payments and automatic vendor payouts for Doorstep Market.
Since going live in the Hudson River Valley in April, Doorstep Market now serves New England, South X Southeast, the Northern California Bay Area and, most recently, Southern California. But for Taee, this is only the beginning.
“We’re up to 200,000 impressions on the website per month, and our aim is to get to 2 million this time next year,” says Doorstep Market CFO Kevin Murphy. “We are also up to selling more than 2,000 products from 470 makers, a figure that we hope will rise to 10,000 in the next year.”
We started in practice, not in theory, and Magento Commerce was the key to us going live fast while getting all the functionality needed for the long term.Jonathan Taee
CTO, Doorstep Market
Empowering Makers in Every Region
A major selling point for Magento Commerce was its platform-as-a-service (PaaS) model, which ensures Doorstep could retain full control of its data, Taee says. He and his team explored a number of software-as-a-service (SaaS) vendors, but none could customize their platform to accommodate Doorstep’s multi-region marketplace structure.
“The Magento Commerce open architecture allows for full control of your customer experience, no matter the scale, while also offering the flexibility and extensibility that is so valuable to growth-orientated business,” adds Felix Machlis, managing partner at Unirgy. “For Doorstep Market, that meant delivering a consistent online experience while being able to dive down to the regional level when it comes to accounting, vendor management, and customer service. With Unirgy’s modules on top of the customizable Magento Commerce platform, we were able to make that happen.”
For Taee, it was crucial to centralize Doorstep’s product catalog so it could be deployed across every regional store. This was an important differentiator for the company’s founders, who wanted makers to have full control over how their products are represented and sold on the website. Through its maker microsites, created with the help of Unirgy, Doorstep was able to create editorially rich profiles for each maker, helping them to connect directly with customers in a personal and authentic way.
“These maker profiles were a conscious and strategic add-on for us,” says Taee. “Most marketplaces take that control in-house, giving vendors minimal access to their storefront or storytelling."
Today, Doorstep Market offers a universal shopping cart on its website. Customers can purchase an oyster knife from the Hudson River, Oysters from the Bay Area, and a plate from a ceramicist in New England, and buy everything in a single transaction rather than paying each maker directly.
Bringing Local Flavors to The World
Taee says he’s “energized” by Doorstep’s success so far, but his eyes are firmly set on the future. With Magento Commerce fueling the company’s online experience, Doorstep is now eyeing global expansion and exponential growth for the coming year, with plans to triple the number of makers represented on the website from 450 to more than 1,500.
“There are other curated marketplaces out there, but we’ve distinguished ourselves with a truly global approach. From food to fly-fishing, electronics to local experiences, we offer a whole universe of services that continues to grow as we expand to new regions,” he says. “Thanks to Magento Commerce, we are set up to continue expanding and giving our makers a broader platform to sell their products, which is exactly what we set out to do.”
But we understand that everyone likes to do business differently, and Magento Commerce allowed us to embrace what set each of our makers apart.”Jonathan Taee
CTO, Doorstep Market