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The platform's aim is to help individuals “sell [crowdfunded products] or give them an additional means of distribution,” cofounder and CEO Philip Reicherz stated in a conversation with Crowdsourcing.org.
Aside from offering a searchable e-commerce platform and a number of product fulfillment and marketing services, CrowdHut also has an expert adviser panel that aids entrepreneurs in successfully bringing their products to market.
CrowdHut’s founders had been meaning to use their connections and expertise in marketing to help entrepreneurs place their products in infomercials, on the Home Shopping Network, in retail stores, and other venues, as we wrote in the past. Since then, they have expanded their focus to also helping entrepreneurs at other stages along the crowdfunding process.
“One of the things we learned over the last three months, since we started this venture, was that there is a much bigger need [to help] those entrepreneurs that are funded, but prior to actually having the product being sold,” cofounder and CTO David Borish explained. “There are a number of concerns in the crowdfunding industry about products that have not been able to make their projected deadlines. Our focus is building the advisory team to [also] help those products that are funded and need assistance prior to actually having a product that’s ready for market.”
Currently, the team has eight expert advisers in areas from mass-market retail and direct response advertising to patent applications and finance. By the end of the year, Borish and Reicherz hope to have two or more advisers working in the most saught-after areas. In order to build more functional partnerships between entrepreneurs and advisers, both parties have to agree to work with one another.
The platform’s affiliate marketing network also launched today, which will "give bloggers, and anyone who would like to promote or market a product, [a chance] to make a ten percent commission on it,” Borish said.
For their services, CrowdHut charges an all-inclusive 30 percent fee on successful sales. This goes toward payment processing charges, any return or restock fees, affiliate marketing fees, and other advertising costs.
Thus far, a number of entrepreneurs have decided to list their products on CrowdHut, perhaps anticipating a busy holiday season. Among the most popular products (according to CrowdHut's rankings) have been 3D designer glasses and the iPad version of the XStylus.
Reicherz and Borish said the majority of entrepreneurs they approached have been “very receptive” about working with CrowdHut, though several people had not understood how an additional distribution platform would help them grow their business. A few entrepreneurs have also expected too much of the brand new platform, anticipating CrowdHut to take over all aspects of product fulfillment.
“Some of the entrepreneurs have asked us almost instantaneously to take over their whole back office infrastructure,” Reicherz said. “It’s good and bad for us, because we’re not ready to move there yet.”
Indeed, CrowdHut’s creators have emphasized that the launch of the e-commerce platform is only phase one of their long-term plans. While they did not discuss the specific projects they are working on next, they did say that fine-tuning current features, growing the number of products, and recruiting more advisers make up their short-term agenda.