While Wayfair (NYSE: W) and Amazon (NASDAQ: AMZN) dominate the online furniture market – with a collective 63% of market share at the end of 2019, according to data analytics firm 1010data – there is plenty of room for smaller retailers.
But many of them face logistical challenges in moving items across the country, limiting their potential customer reach to local delivery areas.
The potential is there, though. According to research from industry trade group Furniture Today, 66.9% of respondents say their next desk purchase will be online. Similar numbers hold true for other large items, including dining room tables (57.6%), mattresses (52.8%), recliners (43.8%) and sofas and loveseats (47.3%).
Furniture was sixth in terms of overall year-over-year growth in e-commerce sales in 2019, Statistica said. It estimates that 14% of e-commerce sales would be furniture in 2022, with total sales of $99.87 billion.
Solving the logistical challenge becomes an imperative for these smaller heavy-goods sellers with hopes to expand their operations through e-commerce. Last month, Deliveright announced the launch of a Shopify (NYSE: SHOP) app for last-mile delivery companies and sellers that use Shopify.
“Shopify has helped traditional retailers all around the U.S. to reach online customers,” Doug Ladden, Deliveright CEO, said. “Our app completes the offering by enabling heavy-goods deliveries automatically.”
Bayonne, New Jersey-based Deliveright operates a digital delivery network for heavy goods, connecting manufacturers, retailers and delivery companies to fulfill the shipment of first- and final-mile heavy freight like furniture and exercise equipment.
Ladden, along with Deliveright COO Ori Anavim, sat down with FreightWaves to discuss the app and the broader trends affecting heavy-goods last-mile delivery.
Founded in 2014 by Ladden and Anavim, Deliveright powers white-glove delivery service with its Grasshopper technology platform. The platform, which is licensed to last-mile delivery companies, is used by e-commerce sites to streamline delivery services. It offers everything from scheduling to cost estimation and tracking and through to final delivery inside the customer’s home.
“It’s a turnkey solution. For a shipper that wants to sell online, its plug and play,” Anavim said, noting that the existing approach for many e-commerce shippers is to guesstimate the cost to ship the item and then manually enter the shipping information for each order.
“If you have five orders a week, it’s not a big deal,” he said.
The Shopify app, when combined with Deliveright’s nationwide delivery network, should open new doors for these online sellers, Ladden said.
“We already know how much it will be [to ship] from point A to point B,” he said. “We’ve all been seeing e-commerce get a bigger share of overall retail sales in the last five years. In heavy goods it’s been slower than parcel goods but over the last year, with COVID-19, we’ve seen [an acceleration in online heavy goods sales].”
Ladden noted that the one-off seller is likely not a Deliveright customer, but for many, the ability to sell beyond their local area can lead to business growth.
“What we used to see is a lot of retailers make deliveries [with their own trucks] within 50 miles,” Anavim said. “Now they have their own website but can’t deliver outside of that 50 miles.”
Deliveright and Shopify are solving for that problem. The app allows customers to choose their preferred service level (and cost) at checkout. Some e-commerce sites may offer free delivery through the app, while others charge the customer. Either way, the result is full transparency for the customer.
“The direction is clear. Yes, there’s been a huge change in consumer behavior and I think the vast majority of orders that people put in online go well, so most consumers have had a positive experience shopping online,” Ladden said.