May was an exciting month for home furnishings news. Check out the month’s top 5
1. Wayfair takes on Visual Search (& Pinterest)
Big companies (think Google) are leveraging visual search technologies in big ways, and Wayfair is getting on board. Now Wayfair shoppers can use either their phone camera or photo library to upload an image to the site. Then Wayfair will find them the most relevant products in the photo and provide them in results. This feature may make the most sense for discount shoppers, who might want to imitate the look of a designer room, but with pieces at a much lower price point.
This technology has been around on Amazon’s mobile app for a while. However, it may be under-utilized. Many Amazon shoppers take part in “spearfishing” or coming to the site with an exact idea of what they’re looking for, and searching it immediately. On the other hand, Home Furnishings/Furniture shoppers are inspired to re-create a look, but may not necessarily have the exact pieces in mind.
Wayfair’s visual search feature also takes a jab at Pinterest. Shoppers can use Wayfair’s “favoriting” option to save items and add them to an idea board. With over 8Million SKUs in stock, Wayfair believes their competitive advantage with visual search is their extensive product offering. With so many products, a customer can surely find the exact or similar item.
2. Target Offers a Cool $1Billion for Casper
Home Furnishings News Reports are saying that in talks between Target and mattress company Casper, Target offered $1B to buy the company. Casper is a fast-growing mattress company based in NYC. They generated $200 million in sales in 2016, which was only their second full year in business. They were also valued at $550 million in 2015. However, after serious acquisition discussions, reports say Target settled to invest instead. They will likely be the lead investor in the next large round of funding for the company
3. It’s Happening: Amazon is Building Furniture Warehouses
According to the Wall Street Journal, Amazon is starting their ascent into the Furniture category by constructing four large warehouse to hold both furniture and appliances. The report says they received this information from “people familiar with Amazon’s plans.” This is in line with rumors that have been circulating for months that the furniture category is Amazon’s next big target.
4. CocoCozy Named Top Influencer in Home
In rug news, Forbes magazine has named CoCoCozy as a 2017 Top Influencer in the home category. This category is defined as “Power players who’ve turned social media platforms into fortunes and empires” within home. CoCoCozy is a branded textiles and home furnishings brand, and includes a rug collection with Capel Rugs. The partnership with Capel rugs started in 2013, and now includes eight different designs that come in various colorways and sizes. Because of ongoing growth, rug news reports say Capel has stated that they plan to continue expanding on their partnership. That means more CocoCozy/Capel rug designs are in the works
5. New CEOS are Taking the Wheel
Create and Barrel: In may, Crate and Barrel confirmed that former CEO Doug Diemoz (formerly part of Restoration Hardware) left the company. In interim, Board Chair Neela Montgomery will take over as CEO.
Ikea: According to Furniture Today, Jesper Brodin, currently the Managing Director of Ikea of Sweden, will take over as President & CEO this September. Ikea’s now 43-store U.S. operation is No. 3 on Furniture Today’s just released Top 100, with $5.2 billion in total revenue for its fiscal year ended aug. 31st.
That’s it for the top 5 in home furnishings news for May. Check back in a month for June’s top 5, or check out our other blog posts here.