Sales across the total US Furniture and Home Furnishing market reached 65.1 billion U.S. dollars in 2018 and is projected to increase to almost 100 billion U.S. dollars in 2022. Source: Statista
The e-commerce Household Furniture Sales industry in the US has grown by 7.6%, reaching revenues of $12bn in 2019. Source: Ibis World
Online furniture sales is 12.9% of total retail e-commerce sales in the US. It is one of the strongest e-commerce sales segments. Source: Statista
The good news is that online sales are solid and growing. The bad news is that consumers who shop online expect the same fast, seamless, free and damage-free delivery regardless of what product they are buying. That is fine when you are shipping a pair of shoes or a dress shirt, anything small enough and light enough to ship by parcel. The disconnect happens when you have to deliver large, high-value, bulky and easily damaged products like furniture. The consumer expects the same service, but what goes into delivery of online furniture sales is not the same.
Final mile delivery is the last leg of the supply chain that transports the product that was ordered from a local distribution hub to the customer. It is an important shipping step that engages, and hopefully delights, the customer.
In the past, consumers were often satisfied with delivery to the front door or garage. Not anymore. White Glove deliveries are final mile shipments that require special attention. Furniture like awkward oversized couches, fragile lighting fixtures, and heavy bathroom vanities often require special care and more than one person just to get them through the door and safely into the home. Some furniture requires assembly with packaging debris that needs to be removed. The good news is that many consumers are willing and even happy to pay extra for these value-added last mile services.
Reverse logistics is the process of returning goods because of damage or failed delivery – and it can be costly. According to CBRE Research in 2016, “Consumers return more than $640 billion of products annually, and the average return rate for e-commerce orders is 30 percent.” The value added services described above and others that are provided by Last Mile Carriers can also help lower the cost of reverse logistics by inspecting goods before they go out for final mile delivery and by increasing customer satisfaction through successful delivery.