As with most online shopping websites, manufacturers getting rid of excess product can create difficult choices for consumers. With furniture stores realizing the bottom is always falling out of the market, they are looking at ways to remedy this problem – and Made.com is one company that’s exploring new approaches to make efficient use of their inventory.
The History of Furniture
made.com is a website that sells furniture for under $100. Founder John Mayer started the site in 2009 with a simple goal: to help people buy quality furniture without breaking the bank. Over the years, made.com has gained a cult following for its affordable, high-quality furniture. The site sold furniture “without breaking the bank” and introduced customers to products from brands such as IKEA and Target. However, this past year the company has seen unprecedented declines in sales. In October of 2017, John Mayer announced that he was shutting down the site in order to focus on developing new features for the platform.
The closure came as a shock to many customers who had come to rely on made.com for affordable, high-quality furniture options. Despite the closure of made.com, many customers are optimistic about the future of online furniture shopping. In a blog post announcing the closure of the site, John Mayer wrote that “there’s no question the online market is changing rapidly and there are plenty of exciting new platforms popping up all the time.” As online shopping becomes more popular and accessible, it seems likely that sites like made.com will continue to offer quality merchandise at an affordable price.
The furniture market has taken a beating in recent years, but Made.com is hoping to change that with their new line of furniture. Founded by two Harvard Business School graduates, Made.com hopes to turn the industry on its head by offering stylish and affordable furniture that is made to last. From left to right: Jack (co-founder and CEO), Nessa (co-founder and COO), Michael (co-founder and Chief Creative Officer), and Rajesh (co-founder and Chief Technology Officer).
The company started off with just a $2 million seed round of funding, but they managed to rake in millions more in subsequent rounds. In fact, they’ve raised over $100 million so far and have plans to build upwards of 1 million square feet of warehouse space. Their goal is to make it easy for consumers to find good quality furniture without having to spend a fortune.
How Made.com Started The Loop Market
When Claire Russel launched her e-commerce site, Made.com, in 2007, few people would have guessed that the business would still be around 10 years later. But with over $1 billion in sales, Made.com is one of the most successful online retailers in history. And it all started with a unique product idea: designing and manufacturing your own furniture. To boost sales and take advantage of the growing trend of home DIY and maker culture, Claire decided to create a marketplace for sellers of handmade products.
The Loop Market was born and quickly became an essential part of Made.com’s business model. The Loop Market has been incredibly successful for Made.com. In fact, it’s responsible for half of all revenue growth over the past decade! Today, the Loop Market has over 150,000 products from over 2,000 makers from around the world.
Diners and Peeler’s Findings
Diners and Peeler’s findings on apparel and furniture retail may be alarming to some, but the New York City-based startup is doubling down on its mission of simplifying the buying process for consumers. Founder and CEO Brett Swisher tells MADE that his company currently has about 400,000 customers, who purchase an average of $2,500 worth of products every month. In order to keep up with demand, Made.com has hired over 100 additional employees in areas such as product development and eCommerce fulfillment.
“We’re feeling good about where we are, but we definitely see room to grow,” Swisher says. “We think our product offering is unique and it’s something that needs to be delivered in a digital format.” The goal is to make it easier for people to find what they need while also providing them with more options so they can customize their purchases.
What is the Loop Market?
The Loop Market is Made.com’s newest venture into the furniture market. Created as an online marketplace for consumers to buy and sell used furniture, the Loop Market is a direct competitor to sites like Craigslist and Overstock. The idea is simple: consumers post furniture items they no longer need in exchange for cash or store credit, and dealers post furniture items they are selling that are still in good condition. The Loop Market was created as a way to help consumers get rid of clutter, cut down on waste, and save money – all while creating new relationships with local businesses. So far, so good – the Loop Market has been extremely popular with both dealers and consumers.
The biggest challenge facing the Loop Market is figuring out how to make it sustainable. Right now, it operates as a closed system where dealers can only post listings from within the network and consumers can only view listings from within the network. This means that there’s little liquidity in the marketplace, which makes it difficult for dealers to find customers and for consumers to find quality deals. This would be easier to fix if the Loop Market had more merchants (dealers) participating in it, but so far there have only been a few small-scale signups.