As you may know, i’m into the aquarium reefing hobby. Being into reefing, you find yourself constantly searching for corals to add to your tank.

There are 3 main options for buying coral.

  1. Online retailers
  2. Local Saltwater Aquarium store
  3. Other hobbyists

Here are the problems I see with these 3 options.

Problems Buying Corals

Online retailers are typically nowhere around the buyer. This forces the coral to be shipped. Shipping a sensitive animal in water needs to be done overnight. Overnight shipping is expensive. Shipping coral is usually $35-$50 unless you spend $250+ to get free shipping. Not only is it expensive to ship, but the coral is stressed in the shipping process which can lead to coral death. So if I come across a cool liking coral online for $25, $40, $50 or anything in between that, I hate the thought to double or triple the cost just to ship.

Local stores present a better option for buying corals. However, the “retail” markup often makes a coral more expensive than what it should be. Local coral retailers are also usually limited on space because they offer fish and dry goods and such. The limited space usually means a limited selection of coral. Buying coral local involves driving to the store hoping for something good to be there and then paying a little premium on the corals you do find.

Buying from another hobbyist is probably one of the best ways to buy corals. Not only are you building relationships with people with a similar hobby, but you are supporting another hobbyist’s entrepreneurial efforts as well. You also know for a fact that the coral you are getting is aquacultured, meaning it has been grown in a reef tank environment. Aquacultured corals have a better chance of surviving in another reef tank environment. The problem is that there is no good way to know the inventory of all the local reefing hobbyists wanting to sell their corals. We have to rely on these sellers posting in Facebook Groups or within Reefing forums. Social posts cannot show pricing or discuss selling and you can never see an inventory. Forum posts of corals for sale have to individually be opened up for viewing. Then sellers have to re-fresh the post to be seen again if the coral didn’t sell. Neither of these are in a typical ecommerce sales environment like the above online retailers.

A Possible Solution for Buying Corals Locally

My idea for the solution is what I named CoralPickup.com. The website is a multivendor ecommerce store that allows hobbyists to list their corals for sale which can be browsed by anyone in a typical ecommerce fashion. Corals are listed by city and state as the major category so that reefers can shop corals by where they live or where they are traveling.

CoralPickup.com would give reefing entrepreneurs another platform to sell their corals in a visual way. It would also give all reefers the ability to easily browse corals they can go drive and pickup.

The website allows for the buyer to browse, add corals to their cart, purchase through the website, and then communicate with the coral vendors to aline the pickup. No awkward negotiating has to be done. no bringing cash into a stranger’s house, and no pricey and risky shipping of corals has to be done.

CoralPickup Problems

The major problem I see happening with the website is getting sellers to want to list their corals on the site initially. Before there is really any traction, sellers don’t have much of an incentive to go through the trouble of listing their corals. This could potentially be solved by having 2-3 solid sellers per location launched in. And that is how we are starting. The website is going to start in South Louisiana only. I just need to find those 2-3 sellers, including myself, to list a solid variety of pieces. Once the initial inventory is up, I need to market those pieces within the forums and Facebook groups.

Kicking Off

The website is being launched soon. We shall see what kind of traction I can gain. Wish us luck.

Shop local corals, https://coralpickup.com

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