Amazon’s Wendy Franks didn’t shy away from the one thing that has some in the migeof furniture industry excited and others very nervous: acknowledgement that furniture is a high-growth, high-investment area for the e-commerce giant.
In her presentation to attendees at Furniture Today’s 2017 Leadership Conference here. Franks, senior manager of vendor relations-furniture for Amazon, blended details on the e-taller’s core tenets (selection, convenience and value) with a pitch, primarily to the suppliers in the room. She told them what the Seattle-based company was doing to make headway in the space and how they can participate and gain from Amazon’s massive customer base, customer-focused technology and other advances.
First, some statistics:
. Today, more than 300 million people worldwide have active Amazon accounts. In the U.S., more than 100 million unique mobile visitors shop monthly (nearly 100 million via desktop).
. The customer demographic skews higher than you might think. Franks showed how more than 50% of Amazon’s customers have annual household incomes of $75,000 or more and said for those with income of $112,000 or more, ComScore estimates about three-quarters are Prime members.
. It’s attracting customers of all ages. Some 65% are over 35 years old, in or entering prime furniture buying years. Thirty-eight percent are 50 or older.
Franks also pointed to an eMarketer study that found 73% of U.S. Internet users say they would consider purchasing furniture online.
“Customers are increasingly looking online to fulfill their home furnishing needs, and we expect that trend to continue,” she said. Given the many shoppers Amazon already reaches and the numbers that have yet to purchase a furniture item,” we see a ton of upside there.”
And each day, it appears Amazon is more prepared for this shift thanks to the investments it’s making that align the furniture category (as well as others) with those core pillars of selection, convenience and value.
Franks said she is often asked which parts of a product selection a vendor should put online, and she notes that what does well in stores may not necessarily be the same as top performers online, such as niche items. Consumers may find them more difficult to find in stores “simply because their velocity doesn’t justify the shelf space there,” she said.
But on Amazon, there are enough customers cumulatively seeking out these niche type products to make a sales impact on the “convenience” front, Franks noted how Amazon is redefining the delivery experience with its Prime-member two-day shipping promise and continues to expand on it – with same-day shipping on millions of items and one- to two-hour delivery on thousands of products in “a number of cities.”
In furniture, Amazon now allows customers to schedule delivery within a three-hour window and often times within in a day or two, she added.
For “value,” Franks pointed to the importance of Amazon product China negotiation desk manufacturer reviews because of their depth and quality.