Zaarly First Experience

On October 30, 2011, in Startup, by Mike D. Merrill (@mikedmerrill)

Zaarly Bacon

Last week Zaarly reported stellar news raising $14 millon in funding and that Meg Whitman has joined their board. Now I was familiar with Zaarly as I’ve followed this company since following the Startup Weekend movement. So I was curious to figure out a way to use the application but couldn’t figure out what to ask for. Since I’m a lover of bacon and had a speaking gig last week why not ask someone to deliver bacon to the event?

The Offer

So I set out to see if anyone would deliver 8 slices of bacon at 7:30pm on Thursday the 27th at Flying Saucer in Fort Worth after I completed my talk at Social Media Club of Ft. Worth. Since the service was new I honestly didn’t think anyone would take me up on the offer. I think the folks at Zaarly were curious to identify who made a wild request like this. Within a few minutes former Ignite Dallas Co-Organizer Joey Pomerenke and CMO of Startup Weekend mentioned to Eric Jorgenson of Zaarly that is was probably me who posted the request. Zaarly

Low and behold at 1pm on the day of the event someone responded. Now this is where it became very cool. As soon as I had someone willing to fulfill the request, it immediately went to SMS speeding up the ability to respond and clarify exactly what I wanted. Now I also received email notifications too, but the fact the system recognized that once you had an offer SMS was probably the most compelling way to get the offer booked.

Up to this point it was all completely anonymous. Once I paid then I sent the person my cell phone number so they could call when they arrived. Here’sZaarly Delivers a photo of Matt who fulfilled the request. Now $15 for 8 slices of bacon is quite a premium but I wanted someone to take notice and feel inclined to deliver it. Turns out Matt works at Waffle House nearby. So most likely his cost was very low (free) other than the time to find me at the Flying Saucer.

Initial Impressions of Zaarly

Zaarly fulfills the need of someone stating what they need and where with a mature mobile offering as well facilitating GPS based search. While Craigslist offers some form of this, Zaarly clearly focuses on the buyer in the equation flipping Craiglist on it’s head. I’m confident many consumers will like this model. The current product is very compelling however as consumers rush in I think categories will definitely be needed to help sort. Today the search box will fulfill that need and I’m sure they have already thought about this.

With $14 million to spend on marketing and product development, I’m certain this app will grow into something with broad appeal. As a product guy I fealt compelled to also share a few feature requests I’d like to see in Zaarly.

4 Feature Requests for Zaarly

  1. Add more fields for the buyer to complete to reduce number of questions from the seller such as delivery location, time of delivery, brand name and part number. Of course you can make this all optional, but with electronics, compatibility is a big issue and many of the current requests I’ve seen so far are electronics related.
  2. Add Categories to make it easy to sort at a glance
  3. Add the ability to add a photo in the offer or responses. For example, I may have included a photo of myself so the seller could find me rapidly.
  4. Make it clear that PoundPay is the payment gateway. When is saw the email at first I thought something was wrong since it wasn’t from Zaarly. I was not familiar with that service and may have preferred PayPal or Google Checkout.
Either way I can see many ways I can use Zaarly in the future and will be glad to recommend to others. Have you used Zaarly yet? If so, what was your experience like? Let me know in the comments below.

 

 

 
  • http://www.balancedworklife.com/blog Bryce Christiansen

    That’s a cool story.  I had never heard of Zaarly before reading this, but I could see how it definitely has a unique foot in the field.  What a neat service.

    It certainly is a small world.  Chip over at the Ft. Worth Social Media club emailed me earlier this week with a guest post for the blog I run.  I told him I used to work for you and said he should meet you some time.  Turned out he already had :)

    I always enjoy catching up on what you’ve been discovering in the world of Social Media.

    Bryce

  • Tory Smith

    Cool story Mike.  I just got my copy of Entrepreneur magazine in the mail today and it looks like Zaarly founder made it on the front cover!  Definitely a company I’ll be watching closely.

  • http://www.mikemerrill.com Mike D. Merrill

    Oh that’s great! I dont’ subscribe to that one but do Inc. and Fast Company. Everything else I get online.

  • http://www.mikemerrill.com Mike D. Merrill

    Definitely a small world

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