• Ray Allegrezza

Time to Jump in the Game

I am writing this week’s column sitting in the Charlotte airport waiting for our connecting flight to Naples, Fla., and our Leadership Conference.

As you might expect, I’m thinking about all the great sessions we have in store for our attendees. Our theme this year centers on innovation, a topic I think is particularly important for our industry to grapple with.

While we certainly have innovators within our ranks — we will honor five retail innovators this year as part of our conference — I still worry that we tend to be a segment sometimes more comfortable living in the box than outside of it.

One of the channels of distribution that seems more than happy to live outside the box is the pure-play e-tailers — companies including Wayfair, Overstock, Amazon and HauteLook, all of which will be presenting at this year’s conference.

With the Internet as the cornerstone of their businesses, these retailers have given consumers a shopping experience that allows them to shop 24/7, choose from thousands of items, expect — and receive — lightning-fast delivery and if unhappy with the purchase, avail themselves of typically hassle-free returns.

Amazon, in fact, is utilizing some of the world’s most advanced robots to help process thousands of holiday orders. And how’s this for vertical integration? The robots, which weigh 320 pounds and are 16 inches tall, are made by Kiva Systems, a company that Amazon bought about two years ago.

Forget Santa’s elves and Rudolph. We are talking about a company that was contemplating drone home delivery and is now using an army of some 15,000 meticulously choreographed robots to get the job done.

Oh, and if Santa happens to (with the help of the Amazon elves) bring you a new car stereo or a car alarm, Amazon has recently announced the release of Selling Services, which is an after-sale service offering. What Amazon and other retailers like Best Buy and its Geek Squad have realized is that after-sales services are very profitable.

I could go on, but they are calling my flight.

But you get my drift. Like it or not, you are now playing with the big boys.

So, instead of worrying about whether to give 10% or 20% off, it may be time to get your game on!

Ray AllegrezzaRay Allegrezza | Editor in Chief, Furniture Today

Each week in my Editor's Desk blogs, we'll take a look at interesting news or events in the furniture industry. The most important part of this whole process will be your input. So, take a look at my posts below and weigh in with what you think by clicking on "Add Your Comment" at the bottom of each blog.


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