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Things Are Heating Up in Furniture Retail…And Wall Street is Noticing

By Blueport Team Jun 29, 2015 8:00:43 PM

Have you heard? The furniture and home furnishings sector is heating up, and those outside this often isolated industry are taking notice.

Throughout the spring, financial analysts from notable Wall Street firms have been bringing to light the trending home furnishings industry, and including Blueport in their coverage of the space.

Read on to learn why they, too, think there’s something big going on here.

Goldman Sachs Sixth Annual dotCommerce Day Features Blueport

goldman_sachs Blueport President and CEO, Carl Prindle, participated on the Home Panel at Goldman Sachs Sixth Annual dotCommerce Day in New York. Carl spoke on trends in the furniture industry and about retailers’ aggressive adoption of technology to bring their brick-and-mortar advantages online.

In their summary of the event, Goldman noted:

 “Large categories, dated tech. Ecommerce penetration in the home category of retail, a relatively underpenetrated sector, is accelerating, catalyzed by traction of companies like Wayfair and Williams-Sonoma, according to our panelists.
For traditional retailers that lack technology, Blueport is enabling the shift to omnichannel through enterprise software. Blueport is of the view the store (touch and feel) is an asset in this category, though needs to be connected with data, personalization, and technology-enabled logistics.”


Oppenheimer & Co. Inc.: Blueport an Emerging Player in the Space

oppenheimer In their coverage for Wayfair Inc., Oppenheimer & Co. Inc. noted tailwinds as the home décor industry continues to move online. In addition, the report highlighted Blueport Commerce as an emerging company in the space: We also highlight two other emerging companies: 1) Houzz, a company based in Palo Alto, CA, that has created a similar software platform to Wayfair’s and does not take inventory, and connects suppliers and consumers to the web; and 2) Blueport Commerce, which provides eCommerce software to large furniture retailers.”


Citi to Traditional Furniture Retailers: Offer Omnichannel or Bust


Comparing Williams-Sonoma (NYSE: WSM) to Wayfair (NYSE: W) in their Head-to-Head series report, Citi® Research notes that both “continue to take share in an industry that is increasingly shifting online.” Ultimately picking Williams-Sonoma over Wayfair, the report says consumers prefer the cross-channel flexibility of a retailer with both a strong brick-and-mortar store presence and online presence.

Needless to say, we couldn’t agree more!  We also agree with Citi’s warning to traditional furniture retailers: In our view, the traditional furniture stores without a robust omni-channel offering that caters to mass market consumers will be share donors to the lifestyle brands who offer a differentiated, proprietary assortment (WSM, RH, Crate and Barrel), internet-only players who provide rich online content, a wide selection, and easy purchasing (W, One Kings Lane), or the more discount priced, commoditized offerings from broadline retailers (WMT, IKEA).


Analysts recognize the massive scope of the ecommerce opportunity in furniture – one of the last retail categories to transition online. The open question is – who will capture it?

Will brick-and-mortar furniture retailers get better at ecommerce technology, or will online-only players’ massive spending overcome the native advantages enjoyed by brick-and-mortar furniture stores?

Based on what we see the retailers on our ecommerce platform accomplish every day, our bet is on traditional furniture retailers. Where’s yours?

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