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Amazon to test white-glove delivery service of furniture, appliances

E-commerce retailer could have drivers set up furniture, appliances in effort to add value

Amazon will begin testing in-home setup of furniture and appliances according to a new report. (Photo: Brian Straight/Modern Shipper)

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 — home delivery and setup remain the domain of specialized “white-glove” services.

As more Americans buy larger items such as furniture and appliances online, more are also looking for a seamless experience. The Home Depot (NYSE: HD), Lowe’s (NYSE: LOW), Best Buy (NYSE: BBY) and even Wayfair provide these setup services — now Amazon is looking to join the party.

The e-commerce giant will test a premium service that would allow customers to choose in-home setup for furniture or appliances. Bloomberg reported the test markets would include Virginia and two additional, unnamed locations. Drivers would unpack and assemble the items, and if the customer is not satisfied, drivers would immediately remove the item from the home.

Currently, Amazon connects consumers in some markets to local contractors through its Amazon Home Services offering. This option would bring those services under the Amazon umbrella, allowing customers to manage the process in a seamless way. The Home Depot, Lowe’s and Best Buy initiate the setup and installation process at the time of ordering through a seamless process.

Installation services is a growing industry, coinciding with the growth of e-commerce furniture and appliance sales. 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 will be furniture in 2022, with total sales of $99.87 billion.

Wayfair represents Amazon’s biggest online competitor. The company reported net revenue of $3.7 billion in 2020, up 44.9% year-over-year, and U.S. net revenue of $3 billion, up 40.1% year-over-year. Active customers increased to 31.2 million globally, Wayfair said in its Q4 earnings report. That represents a 53.7% increase in customers year-over-year. Repeat customers placed 72.5% of Q4 orders.

Click for more Modern Shipper articles by Brian Straight.

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Brian Straight

Brian Straight leads FreightWaves' Modern Shipper brand as Managing Editor. A journalism graduate of the University of Rhode Island, he has covered everything from a presidential election, to professional sports and Little League baseball, and for more than 10 years has covered trucking and logistics. Before joining FreightWaves, he was previously responsible for the editorial quality and production of Fleet Owner magazine and Brian lives in Connecticut with his wife and two kids and spends his time coaching his son’s baseball team, golfing with his daughter, and pursuing his never-ending quest to become a professional bowler. You can reach him at [email protected]