For months, we have been talking about the choices major furniture suppliers are making about selling furniture online. Here is another example.
issue date 8/4/2009
FROM THE OFFICE OF THE PRESIDENT
Thomasville.com visitors with just under 200,000 page views per day, on average. Over 1 million visitors used the store finder tool to seek out your retail locations.
I am emailing you today to share our short and long-term Thomasville.com goals. We are ALL invested in the Thomasville brand. I want our dealer base to be full partners and participants in our growing web strategies:
CREATIVE RELAUNCH APRIL-AUGUST 2009: In April we introduced a new consumer-tested Thomasville.com navigation. These were architectural changes, a necessary platform for continued site development. Coming in late August, you’ll see the next phase of a site upgrade which focuses on creative. This will include landing page refreshes which change with every promotion to keep consumers interested and coming back.
ECOMMERCE PILOT LATE-AUGUST 2009: Simultaneous with the late-August creative reskin, we will begin piloting e-commerce in Company Store markets. Consumers will be able to purchase casegoods, married frame-fabric upholstery and selected accessories online. Order confirmation and entry will be managed at the corporate level. The individual company stores will manage the delivery process…and cultivate a relationship with the consumer to win future sales. Based on these learnings, we will broaden the ecommerce roll-out in late 2009 in all Company Store markets and consider other test markets where we presently have no distribution.
INDEPENDENT DEALERS & ECOMMERCE: In 2010, Thomasville will open up the ecommerce test to selected independent dealers on an opt-in basis. We are looking at a number of different customer service and delivery models for this broader roll-out. ALL include significant revenue share with the retailer. ALL include strategies for connecting an e-commerce experience to the retail store, where Design Consultants can engage with consumers to more fully address their needs and desires.
You may have seen the recent Furniture Today story on July 16th reporting that online furniture sales totaled $4.6 billion last year — 6% of total consumer spending on furniture and bedding. FT cites an HGTV study indicating that 44% of US adult consumers have purchased furniture online. Generation Xers no longer kids but 34-44 years old in peak household formation and furniture-buying years — are most interested in the online channel.
This is not isolated data. Today we know that 75% of furniture purchasers use the web before visiting a store. They often return to the web after a store visit, moving fluidly between virtual and store experience. All consumer usage and trending research clearly indicate that online is hugely important in the furniture category. Is it mature? No. Will it replace traditional furniture retailing? No. Can any of us afford to ignore it? Again, no!
To continue to earn our status as one of America’s best known furniture brands, Thomasville needs to be where customers are. Online and ecommerce are part of the equation today. Thomasville Company Stores are going to pilot a program that will ultimately be to the benefit of the brand and all our retail partners. I look forward to sharing more details on our plans and earning your support for this exciting new endeavor.
Please note the FT story he references from earlier this summer. 75% of the customers are shopping online before theyt ever get in their cars!
Now is the time, folks.