Insider's Guide to Furniture & the Home Furnishings Industry

Jeff Frank is a 40 year veteran of the furniture industry who is happy to answer your questions about furniture! Ask your question today!

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What things should I keep in mind when starting an online furniture retail business?

Find a small niche market that is not dominated by Wayfair, Amazon and other existing online retailers.

If you are expecting to sell outside of your local area shipping costs will be a major handicap. For example your cost to ship a sofa across the country will probably be hundreds of dollars higher than what Wayfair or Amazon pay.

If you are planning to purchase brand name products and then re-sell them that will be extremely difficult since you will encounter severe competition. Larger competitors will probably be buying the same products at lower prices than you can.

Container-ship

Bringing in cheap generic furniture from overseas may seem tempting but don’t forget to factor in the costs of shipping and warehousing container loads of products that may sell far more slowly than you anticipate. Also you will probably run out of the best sellers long before you can move the slower selling items.

Another potential hazard with bringing in cheap imported goods is the high risk of getting damaged or defective products.

If you are bringing in hundreds of containers one defective (or insect-infested) container can be overcome or replaced by the supplier. If you are bringing in only one or two containers, problems like that will wipe out your business.

Unless you are already familiar with furniture industry suppliers, have substantial financial reserves and have the capacity to service your customers, there are many other types of products that are far easier to sell online with far less risk and hassle.
187 Views · 3 Upvotes · Answer requested by Mansoor Khagga

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