Finding the right piece of furniture for the space people live in can be a difficult task. From bulky sofas to breakfast tables and bedroom sets, furniture moving can be one of the most awkward, stressful and time consuming activities.
Given the fact that people move an average of 11.7 times throughout their lives today, it may be safe to say that the types of homes and sizes of rooms will not all be the same. As such, it’s important to either have agile furniture or pay extra for movers to be very careful.
That was, until just a few years ago, when eCommerce started to pick up steam and people started buying their furniture online from places like Wayfair and Overstock.com.
One company that’s helping to move the ball for many living in various space sizes is startup on-demand furniture company Interior Define, based out of Chicago. To help bring high-end pieces of furniture to the public without having an out-of-reach price tag, the company works directly with two factories to help build on-demand custom sofas. By removing the middleman, Interior Define has the capability to bridge the gap between inexpensive mass produced pieces and high-end out-of-reach furniture.
While Interior Define initially started out with just couches, the company recently announced its addition of beds and opened up its first NYC brick-and-mortar location in SoHo. With this storefront, Interior Define offers up an interactive experience mixing traditional sales with a digital approach that includes touch screens and 3D visualization offerings which may help disrupt the furniture industry. Interior Define is also planning to open up three additional guide shops (the company's version of brick-and-mortar locations) in 2017 for those people timid about buying without trying.
Disruption in the furniture market is happening in more ways than this particular company on its own. eCommerce giant Amazon just announced its decision to venture over into the world of selling furniture. We reported on Amazon’s plans to both open up four large warehouses to store pieces as well as its intention to tip toe into Interior Define’s category of on-demand furniture design services. Where Amazon may have Interior Design beat is its promise to have one to two day delivery in certain areas of the country, while the Chicago company promises delivery between eight to 12 weeks.
The issue that may arise, however, is whether or not Amazon’s future custom-built furniture will be manufactured and delivered at the same quality as Interior Define’s. Some may also question if Amazon is stretching itself too thin with its various vertical focuses.
One offering that helps set Interior Define apart is its 365-day return policy. With people buying its furniture without ever having seen it or sat on it, the company allows people to return pieces up until the 11th hour on the last day.
Interior Define’s founder and CEO, Rob Royer, shared with Tech.Co Chicago how the company came to be and what he sought to accomplish. He said, "We felt like there was this massive missing experience in the sofa shopping process. We try to tell a story about what a big gap there was in the market and how we're filling that through a really unique supply chain approach and delivering a brand experience in sofas that's second to none."
As technology continues to advance, it's likely that we'll continue to see an array of unexpected industries sign up to move parts of their operations into the digital, custom and on-demand offering. This new way of implementing technology into the retail process may be the key to opening up a way for businesses to become more profitable, streamlined and less wasteful by only producing what's demanded by the public rather than the traditional mass production model of the past.