Zaarly's Eric Koester, center, shares his beer with Darrell Cavens of Zulily and Scott Jacobson of Madrona Venture Group.

Here’s one of the more unique promotional gimmicks we’ve seen in some time.

Eric Koester with his special delivery
Prior to the start of the e-commerce panel at the WTIA’s TechNW event this afternoon, Zaarly co-founder and chief marketing officer Eric Koester used the location-based service to have a Zaarly member deliver a six pack of beer to the stage as a way of demonstrating the service as he described it to the crowd.

The panelists cracked open the bottles of Pike IPA, and enjoyed themselves along the way. Maybe the suds helped drive the discussion forward, with plenty of chatter about the use of Facebook in e-commerce and, strangely, a long discussion of celebrity endorsements. Zaarly happens to be backed, in part, by actor Ashton Kutcher.

Zaarly lets users request items and tasks by location over the web and a mobile app.

What better way to showcase the service — and win over the fellow panelists — than a beer delivery to the stage?

Koester told us afterward that he paid $40 for the six-pack and delivery, saying that he had no idea who provided the service.

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  • Skeptic

    Zaarly is cute. But how does it scale? Why won’t it fail like Kozmo? Not many people are willing to pay $30 in delivery charges for a $10 six-pack.

    • Eric Koester

      It’s an outstanding question… truth is, I was totally willing to pay $30 in delivery charges because I only had 30 minutes to get the beer delivered.  So the “price” of urgency to me was totally worth $30.  It really depends on the service, good or experience to see how pricing dynamics work. 

      We are building a service that takes the best elements of an eBay or Craigslist, optimizes them around the mobile phone experience (with a complementary web-service as well).  There is a big market for person-to-person commerce — but the trick (as you aptly pointed out) is how to we get ubiquity where everyone is using the service to buy and sell, which can make transacting on the platform the best (cheapest, fastest, safest, etc.) experience to shop.  

      Lots of work ahead, but hope that clears up our goals further.  We aren’t making Kozmo (we don’t employ people), we are building a mobile-optimized, and buyer-optmized marketplace.
      Eric Koester

      • Thewickedwitchisdead

        Interesting response, but what market are you targeting and how does it scale? If I need to buy something new, generally an Amazon is going to be cheaper and delivery fast enough with Prime for most purposes. Used stuff, Craigslist has great inventory that is tough to beat. The number of times I really need something right now but do not have a place nearby to get it from does not seem large enough to support a business.

        Services are certainly a market but I don’t generally need to buy many services right now either, and for larger services–painting a house for instance–would want to have some idea of who is providing the services before engaging them.  I also see most women I know as unlikely to post a service need due to the random creep possibility factor and giving our your location.

      • another skeptic

        Are there millions of people willing to pay $30 to have beer delivered? How are you not an unusual case. You can’t build a big business of unusual cases. How do you deal with liquor laws? Did the guy delivering the beer break the law? Does Zaarly have a liquor license?

        Does anybody need a mobile-optimized buyer-optimized marketplace?

        When Zaarly becomes the primary way people order pizza, then I’ll believe.

  • Dave

    How does that beer ordering work when the CMO violates their own terms of service? On the prohibited list for transactions are: “Drugs, alcohol or tobacco products, including prescription drugs, drug paraphernalia (rolling papers, pipes, etc.) or other controlled substances are prohibited. Over-the-counter medicine is okay.”

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