Cladwell Week 10 — paid order fulfillment bottleneck — yay!


by Ry Walker

We're working hard to validate Cladwell's business hypothesis — that guys are willing to pay money to avoid shopping for clothes.

As I wrote previously, we started asking for money from prospective members in week 9, without any certainty whether guys would buy in.

Houston, we have a bottleneck

The marketing engine is revving up and working. We're getting users to sign up for trials.

The user experience is strong enough to convert trials to paid users at a 3x higher rate than initial goal. Awesome!

Because we wanted to test that conversion target as early as possible, the backend expert system to recommend clothes to guys is only 1/29th complete. Last week we got Jeans recommendation v1 up, but we have 28 other categories of clothes that requires manual intervention by our fashion team.

Here's V1 of our fashion team:

Chris and Erika are not only trying to finishing building the rules and data to automate the other 28 product categories, but they're also challenged to keep up with a steady flow of paid orders to fulfill.

So even though we've automated our trial recommendation (Jeans), we can't release users because the awesome conversion ratio means that we'd quickly bury our fulfillment team in a bigger pile of paid orders to fulfill.

What a great problem to have

I feel for Chris and Erika :) A lot of pressure is on them now.

But I'm excited that Cladwell's problems are shifting from startup problems — Are we building a product that anyone wants? — to real business problems — How do we expand and optimize our fulfillment capacity to handle our order volume?

All in ten weeks from first commit to the Github repository (we're up to 897 code commits now).

Great work, team!

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