- Aug 21, 2020
- Business Update
JD Tells You Why It’s Good to Shop Furniture Online
by Martin Li
It was around 2012 when Liu Yilong, a furniture designer, decided to develop his own brand and sell it on JD.com.
Liu’s family owns a furniture factory in Shenzhen and used to produce furniture for major brands.
“My family business was a contract manufacturer for other brands for around 30 years, but I realized we had to develop our own brand to seek continued growth. And I chose promote it via online platform because I believed this would become a trend,” Liu recalled.
Liu’s brand Zuomufang was one of the first brands to join JD’s e-commerce platform. Now 80% of his sales come from online. The brand’s products feature innovative Chinese style designs, targeting young people.
Zuomufang is one of the best-selling brands on JD and is one of the seven brands present at JD’s pavilion at the ongoing Shenzhen International Furniture Exhibition, which kicked off on Aug. 20th.
Liu not only uses the online platform as a sales channel, but also uses online data as a reference to design new products and choose locations of offline stores.
“When we come up with some new designs, we post them online as virtual products or products for presale. Based on potential buyers’ feedback online, we decide on whether to produce the designs…this can help us better learn consumers’ needs and reduce inventory,” said Liu.
In addition, the online traffic data also helps Liu choose where to locate his offline stores.
“Online traffic data tells us where our consumers are concentrated, then we open offline stores close to them. They can conveniently visit the stores to experience our products,” he added.
Liu’s offline stores are located in first- and second-tier cities including Beijing, Shanghai, Guangzhou and Zhengzhou.
JD’s pavilion at the Shenzhen International Furniture Exhibition
Liu’s brand is one of around 7,000 furniture and household products brands on JD, according to Mao Yuchen, director of merchandising and innovative business of JD’s furniture business unit.
“Experience and service are two key factors in the furniture industry. Ten years ago, people didn’t have an awareness of buying furniture online because there was not developed e-commerce services like professional logistics for large products like furniture…people didn’t think it was convenient to buy furniture online. However, JD has developed logistics for large products and can delivery furniture from the factory directly to consumers’ homes within a short period of time,“ said Mao.
JD now provides furniture brands on its platform with services including transportation and installation.
In an effort to improve consumers’ experience, JD makes use of technologies like AR and VR to give people an immersive experience of furniture online.
Mao said that, online platforms won’t replace offline channels, but it will help improve consumers’ experience.
Gao Yaodong, director of the original and international brand business of JD’s furniture business unit, said that, previously, offline stores were the first gateway for consumers to experience furniture products. Now online has increasingly become the first channel for people to first encounter the products with the help of technologies.
Gao Yaodong speaks at the exhibition on Aug. 20th
“Once people have their first experience online, they can continue to seek a deeper experience at offline stores and enjoy related services,” said Gao.
In addition to improving people’s experience and providing related services with the help of JD’s strength in technology, supply and logistics, JD has been actively promoting original furniture design on its e-commerce platform and matching it with people who need it.
“We select quality furniture products of original design and in our online community match these products with people who pursue originality and quality…original designers can share their newest designs and interact with consumers online. Meanwhile, consumers can also share their products in the community,” said Gao.
“There are three stages of furniture e-commerce. In the first stage, people cared most about price. In the second stage, people start pursuing quality and brands are able to provide related services. In the third stage, people’s needs are fragmented. Young people who grow up with Internet use it as a key source of information. They care about quality, originality and personality. Currently, furniture e-commerce is moving from the second to the third stage.
On Aug. 20th, JD signed a strategic cooperation agreement with Shenzhen Furniture Association. Under the agreement, the association will introduce its highly-rated furniture brands to JD’s e-commerce platform.
Plus, JD and the association launched a program to support original furniture designers and provide them with e-commerce services.