Drop-shippable RTA upholstery addresses speed of delivery

LAS VEGAS — The growth of ready-to-assemble sofas, chairs, recliners and motion seating continued to evolve in construction and consumer-friendliness at Las Vegas Market.

With e-commerce increasing consumer expectations for fast delivery to their doors and supply chain management paramount for retailers and vendors, this category keeps gaining ground with new drop-shippable upholstery that offers real furniture value at mass-market price points.

Handy Living has long experience engineering stationary and motion upholstery for drop shipment and continued to refine its construction at Las Vegas Market.

“We try to build a general platform for a product,” said General Manager Tom Erdman. “The structure is the same, but we can dress it differently with things like wing arms, nailheads or buttons. We put quality into the product while keeping logistics in mind to reduce the cost.”

New offerings include a hefty scaled 82-inch sofa that disassembles into two arms, a base box and back for shipment in two boxes. A 92-inch motion sectional with four space-friendly wall-hugger recliners and two storage consoles ships in four boxes.

“We noticed that most recliners are so big that when people see it in the store and like it, they might end up jamming it into space they don’t really have,” said General Manager Tom Erdman. “Even if people don’t have a lot of space, they still want recline function. Then it became a logistics game on how to get this into a box. The (modular) pieces are moderately scaled but have reclining comfort.”

Lifestyle Solutions has a range of drop-shippable sectionals and sleeper beds. It also offers a range of shipping options for customers.

“We’re shipping directly to the store, we can ship to the consumer, or we can ship to the retailer’s own distribution center,” said Vice President of National Accounts JC Gholston. “That multi-shipping opportunity has been big business for us.”

Packaging that goes the extra mile with barrier separation inside the box, corner protectors and the like is especially key when shipping directly to consumers, he added.

“It’s all about packaging so you have a low return rate,” Gholston said. “If we are more than 2% on a piece, we know something needs to be fixed, whether it’s the packaging or the product itself. You also have to back that with using good images on the website.”

For example, the color shade on a sofa displayed online had better be an exact match to what shows up at the consumer’s door.

Making it better

Resident’s Bundle division has a new manufacturing partner in Tennessee for its ready-to-assemble upholstery. The new factory is helping Bundle step up its construction and scale with deeper seating.

Resident Co-Founder Eric Hutchinson said the mattress industry, where Resident is a growing player, increased consumers’ comfort level and experience in purchasing large items online.

“Consumers want to shop online; they want a broad assortment and things that are easy to deliver to their home,” Hutchinson said. “Our view is that, more and more, the consumer is looking for products with great design, great (construction) and are delivered on an Internet-shopping timeline.”

To meet that timeline, Bundle builds parts to stock for assembly and upholstering upon order.

“Right now, we ship in 48 hours” from receipt of order, Hutchinson said. “You can look at trimming that with forward deployment of goods or prebuilding some products. If we’re measuring order fulfillment in days not weeks, we deliver a premium experience to the consumer.”

Hudson represents the large Turkish manufacturer Istikbal in the United States. Istikbal’s line includes an array of sofas and sectionals that deconstruct for drop-shipping in one box. It’s “Sofa in a Box” program addresses changing consumer attitudes toward disposable income, according to Director of Business Development Devrim Birlik.

“This generation coming up is deciding do I buy furniture or an iPhone,” Birlik said. “We want to be in a position of not competing with those other high-powered desires, but have a complimentary solution that satisfies needs.”

That “solution” encompasses three aspects: time saving, multifunctional and durable.”

“The new generation is extremely utilitarian when it comes to their purchasing,” Birlik continued. “The term ‘Sofa in a Box’ signals the value of the product and its practicality: a functional item with easy delivery and set up regardless of where the consumer lives, apartment or house.

“We’re offering seating, storage and sleep with performance fabric in a product that comes straight to the door at a great entry price point around $699,” Birlik said. “It assembles in five minutes with a screwdriver.”