Depst

Developing an Etsy-inspired online marketplace for local users

Depst is an online marketplace where you can find things like furniture, clothing, and decorative items from independent craftsmen and designers. It was launched in 2011, and it has become a niche site for those who are looking, not for mass-produced products, but for unique items.

The task

In 2011, the founders of the marketplace startup approached us with design layouts for their platform and the idea of creating a local version of the Etsy online marketplace. The development team had to meticulously transfer the ideas embodied in the interfaces to the technology platform, as well as develop a frontend and backend designed for future scaling.

At that time, new frontend technologies were actively developing, allowing for the creation of more complex and interesting projects. However, at the same time, the market was quite unsaturated, so there was enough time to experiment. The founders of Depst decided to take advantage of these opportunities.

They were attracted to Evrone’s technological expertise and experience launching Ruby portals. Since, at that time, we had already launched the Prophotos and Fotoshkola portals, the Eat At Home media project by Yulia Vysotskaya, and several special advertising projects for LookAtMedia.

The solution

We developed and launched an online marketplace for custom, locally-made items, which included a Ruby on Rails CMS platform for the marketplace and all the necessary functionality for user management and the development of a network of suppliers.

Depst has all the standard e-commerce features for marketplace owners to accommodate the three user groups: buyers, sellers, and admins.

Buyers can:

  • Register for an account and log in
  • View the catalog of items by category
  • Search for products in the catalog and filter the results
  • Manage their profile
  • Place orders and pay for purchases
  • Contact stores or administrators
  • Leave comments and ratings for items

Sellers can:

  • Register their stores and brands
  • Add products with images and descriptions
  • Purchase and place advertising banners
  • Manage order processing 
  • Issue invoices and charge commissions
  • Communicate with customers in the messenger and comments sections

Administrators can:

  • Manage user and seller lists
  • Create and manage user groups
  • Manage the catalog and product lists
  • Add content to the blog and edit it
  • Place advertising banners
  • Manage widgets of recommended and popular products
  • Communicate with buyers and sellers and provide technical support through the messenger or commenting systems

Depst has a minimalist interface, so users can focus on the products, which are often works of art themselves. The design intentionally does not detract attention away from them.

Unlike Etsy, where any designer can register to sell their products, registration for Depst initially required pre-approval. The founders of the project selected the best specialists on their own, traveling across Russia in search of talented craftsmen and unique products.

This allowed them to find their own niche - unique decorative items and clothing, made by small-scale designers. Thanks to the manual selection of designers, it was possible to create a uniform catalog that caters to the target users. For registered craftsmen, Depst has become a way to quickly establish themselves and reach the right customers through the online furniture selling platform.

The result

After developing to target metrics and successfully launching the site, Depst also opened 2 brick-and-mortar stores in Moscow, which helped them enhance the customer experience and reach customers who prefer to buy in person. This is key when selling expensive, unique, designer items, as many people want to physically see and touch the product before purchasing.

The online marketplace solution we developed has been working successfully since the initial launch, allowing the Depst team to focus on the quality of products, not the challenges of scaling.

The experience and knowledge we gained through this project allowed us to build up our expertise using Ruby on Rails for e-commerce products and retail. Thanks to what we learned through the Ruby on Rails marketplace development process, we were able to successfully work on projects like iGooods, Machinio, Bloom perfumery, and more.

If you are looking for a team to build an online marketplace with Ruby on Rails, or you have an idea for a niche solution for local users, fill out the form below and we will contact you to discuss your project.

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