After Tackling Los Angeles, FastAF Brings Their Unique Business Model To NYC
Darkstore, Inc. has launched FastAF in New York City this week, the irreverently named digital shop that enables the discovery of the hottest products from premium direct-to-consumer (DTC) companies as well as local brands and has them delivered to consumers doorsteps in two hours.
FastAF is aiming to become the go-to shop for getting essentials, last-minute gifts, must-have self-care treats for consumers to pets, and everything in between. The service offers incredibly fast distribution with a two-hour delivery window of products from national brands like; Nike, Aesop, and Sonos to your premium direct-to-consumer brands such as; Glossier, Public Goods, and Byredo.
We felt deeply that it was important to have an incredible selection on day one for our customers. The brands on FastAF are a combination of official partnerships and brands have reached out to us to officially partner to offer their brand to customers with 2-hour delivery and continue to have a relationship with them through FastAF.
– Lee Hnetinka, Founder and CEO of FastAF
To accomplish their speed-to-market feat, FastAF leverages dark stores which are micro-fulfillment centers strategically placed throughout cities to deliver in-demand products to people in New York City and Los Angeles. The inventory is carried by Fast AF, who has “over 350 premium brands and products with a focus in personal care, health & wellness, fitness, beauty and a few categories for holiday gifts for him and her.” In the future, FastAF plans to deliver to every neighborhood in the country.
The fashion industry itself is ripe with opportunity for the service as delivering last minute goods such as sanitizers and facemasks to film sets and design houses will help keep the machinery of creation humming during a time when going out takes more than the typical amount of planning.
“At a time when consumers want – and miss – shopping locally, FastAF is offering a digital shopping experience that allows them to discover and support both national, DTC and local brands that offer the essential products they need in a way that would be impossible without FastAF’s micro-fulfillment centers…”
– Lee Hnetinka, Founder and CEO of FastAF
If you live in NYC or Los Angeles you can play around with this app right now. It should be noted, however, that as of now the app is only available on iPhones and all payments must be made through “Apple Pay.” FastAF’s choice to limit consumers to this already integrated payment method is emblematic of their goal: to bring the ease of seamless online shopping to the local scale. Because they strive to compete with the aforementioned companies, they have to carve out a niche by not only offering delivery which rivals these other brands but also offering local goods that New Yorkers already know and love.
This idea will thrive during the pandemic, expanding to NYC is evidence of that, but what are the implications of differentiating their brand from more established and better resourced companies by offering local goods after, god willing, the pandemic comes to a close. Do consumers like to shop locally simply to support small businesses in their neighborhoods and to get unique goods that can’t be found elsewhere, or does the allure of shopping locally come from the honest, sincere face-to-face interaction we get from the small yet meaningful relationships that come from going into the same shop and seeing the same faces that provide us with goods which improve our quality of life. This question will be answered in due time. For now, it is clear FastAF has found a foothold in an ever-growing and heavily desired service industry.
Rest assured we will keep you abreast of this company’s development.
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