What: Moveline is an app that helps people efficiently plan and prepare for an upcoming move.
Who: We spoke to Kelly Eidson, Co-Founder and Head of Product for Moveline.`
Where: Moveline is based in New York City.
How does Moveline work?
Moveline is all about simplifying the process of the move. Customers take a video tour of their place, from their kitchen to their living room, to show all the furniture they plan to move. They then submit their video to us or set up a FaceTime so that we can create a list and estimate the number of boxes needed. We have a network of high-quality moving companies who provide quotes based on our estimate so customers can choose which company to work with with confidence.
Customer service is a huge part of Moveline. We have Move Captains for every customer who act as a personal assistant for your move. They are available to advise you and answer questions to make sure the mover does the best job possible. That’s why people want to work with us over other moving companies – because we provide that personal service element that no one else has.
What was the hunch that got you started?
Our story is a bit different than your typical start-up story. I was working at a digital ad agency and we were hired by a moving company to build a platform for moving companies to exchange jobs with one another. This exchange happens all the time offline, but there wasn’t a tool to facilitate the process online. We built it a few years ago, but it never took off. I think it was a little bit ahead of the market, but it taught us a lot about shipping and how the moving industry worked. As we learned about the industry, we realized there was a huge consumer opportunity in the market — it was one of the few remaining service industries that had yet to be disrupted by the Internet.
Moving companies are building tools and applications, but they are really serving their own purposes. Nothing has been consumer-oriented or easy for consumers to interact with. Moving is a really emotional experience, and consumers want to be in control of that process. We are enabling this emotional moment to be as efficient as possible, and give consumers all the options they need at their fingertips.
What have you learned since starting Moveline?
I think the biggest lesson we learned was that the best ideas and solutions come from talking to customers who are engaged in the product. Initially, we had built a webapp where customers could make a list of their moving inventory, but we weren’t sure how accurate people would be in creating that list. But it’s really important for the movers that the list be accurate: if the inventory is off, it throws everything else off. Movers base their prices and plan their logistics based on this information, so if someone underestimates what they have, it hurts the crew and the customer.
So we had built the product and tested it, asking people to make a list of their inventory, and then do usability testing with us over a FaceTime session to see if there were any discrepancies in the estimate. And there were almost always errors — people didn’t want to take the time to learn how to inventory well; they’re busy, and they should’t have to.
So we thought – why not make the video and FaceTime session the means bu which people communicate what they have? If they could quickly show us what they were moving without having to schedule an in-home visit, we could just make the inventory for them. It was so much more convenient for the user, but also eliminated the risk and concerns with accuracy. That’s when we switched focus and started building a product where video was the main component. It was a direct result of working with customers to find a creative way to solve their problems.
What is your team like?
We have six people right now: my co-founder and I, two developers, a business development guy, and a Move Captain. My co-founder, Fred, does a lot of work with operations and partners with the moving companies, and I do a lot of product design and marketing.
Everyone is intimately involved in developing the product. Everyone has access to the codebase and contributes in some way to making the product better. We all use the product everyday to understand how it works and how it changes. We believe that the more companies can look at a digital product as something everyone has a role in, the better the product turns out.
What can brands learn from you?
The thing I would most advocate for, especially for larger companies, is to set up the right structure up front if you want something innovative to come out of it. You want to build small, diverse teams and empower them to get dangerous and dirty. Sometimes these large companies have too many people making one decision – if you have a small team working and testing things out, the faster it will come to fruition and the better the results will be. Just make it really clear how those teams will be measured and judged, and then get out of their way.
Also, I encourage these large companies to test ideas by building prototypes, rather than doing heavy research up front. In my agency experience, lot of brands will spend tons of money on a huge study to justify an idea beforehand. But you won’t get the right quality of data unless people are actually interacting with the real product. There is often the misconception that prototyping is more costly than research – but that’s not always the case. You get way more value out of building something so you can see how your customers use it, how it impacts their life, and get meaningful feedback on how to make it better.