• Clint Engel

Amazon builds furniture seller program ‘slowly’

SEATTLE — Amazon is taking it slow with a new furniture seller program designed to make it easier for furniture stores to participate on the giant marketplace.

According to an email correspondence between an Amazon representative involved in the new Unified Delivery with Services program and a Northwest retailer, the selling option is available “in a handful of major metro areas on the East Coast” and “scaling very slowly.”

First word of the program — which eliminates a national delivery requirement for furniture sellers and enables retailers to adjust their pricing based on added services — came during the April High Point Market (see Furniture Today, April 24, p1), when Amazon pitched the program to members of buying group Furniture Marketing Group. FMG members include many of the nation’s largest furniture store chains.

At the time, Brett Hobson, an Amazon business development representative in the furniture category, and an associate announced the new program would launch in the third quarter of this year. Furniture stores would be able to use a geo-fencing tool to choose ZIP codes so their Amazon listings would show only for consumers looking for delivery in regions the retailers can best service — a reversal of a previous nationwide shipping mandate.

Retailers also could adjust the pricing the consumer sees for their product on Amazon based on the service level the customer chooses — starting with a minimum white glove delivery to a dry room (vs. dropping off at the front door) up to delivery to the consumer’s room of choice and haul-away service.

In the email Amazon sent last week to the Northwest retailer, who asked not to be identified, Hobson said he wasn’t sure when the program would reach the retailer’s state, but he said, “I can let you know as soon as that changes so that you can be an early adopter.”

Asked for more detail on the program rollout, Amazon told Furniture Today, “The program is in refinement and scaling to expand to additional major cities” but declined additional comment.

Clint EngelClint Engel | Senior Retail Editor, Furniture Today

Please feel free to email or call me with all of your retail news and tips, including expansion news, successful merchandising and marketing strategies and anything else you would like to see covered by Furniture/Today.  Contact me directly at cengel@furnituretoday.com or 336-605-1129.

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