The pandemic has accelerated change in countless aspects of our daily lives — how we shop is no exception. At home for months, consumers often went online to get what they needed. Over time, doing so helped reshape their expectations and willingness to make online purchases. Not surprisingly, many people’s purchases of the past 2-3 years included furniture and other accessories aimed at making their homes more comfortable places to live and work. According to data from Wayfair, online home goods purchases increased from 14 percent of the market in 2019 to 20 percent in 2021. When you consider the global furniture and home goods industry was in excess of an $800 billion market in 2021, this shift in consumer behaviour presents a unique opportunity for players in the industry to create and capture value.
Furniture is a complex category with large catalogs, many SKUs, and complicated supply chains. Furniture manufacturers produce a lot of different products with numerous variations – a single couch might be available in three different sizes and 25 different colours. Inevitably, that leads to an extensive array of SKUs for manufacturers to track using legacy tools such as Excel spreadsheets and hand-written ledgers. The complications related to getting a SKU online make it hard for manufacturers to realize the benefits of the increasing eCommerce penetration in the industry. To have their products appear on any given eCommerce channel, furniture manufacturers must manually create, deploy, and maintain hundreds of data points for each product they sell. More often than not, manufacturers simply opt to forgo eCommerce sales altogether.
There is a large and rewarding opportunity in front of furniture manufacturers today to capture more value in selling their products online, which is why we are proud to announce that we recently led CommerceBear’s US$10.5M financing. CommerceBear is building the platform of record for furniture manufacturers to move their products online to major retailers like Wayfair and then helping them manage their end-to-end eCommerce. The platform is a single source for everything from SKU listings, pricing, orders, images and analytics, to channel level information.
CommerceBear stands out because its leaders have first-hand knowledge of and experience in the furniture manufacturing space. Founder and CEO Sam Vlessing is a subject matter expert, having grown up in a family that’s operated a furniture business for four generations. The importance of that lived experience can not be underestimated. It ensures that CommerceBear speaks the same language as the furniture manufacturers it serves and intimately understands its customers’ pain points.
CommerceBear’s vertical approach uniquely positions it to become an industry-defining business capable of driving new, high-margin revenue for its customers. We are excited to support Sam and his team on their journey as they empower the future of online sales for furniture manufacturers.
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