3 ways E-commerce is changing furniture production

In this post, we will delve into the impact of e-commerce on the furniture industry and how consumer preferences and trends are driving manufacturing processes, production schedules, and product design. 

Consumer expectations: custom furniture on demand

Since its inception, e-commerce has grown rapidly to the point that virtually every retailer and purveyor of goods and services offers an online store or some form of virtual portal for web-based payment. With two-thirds of the U.S. economy attributed to consumer spending, and one-tenth of that spending occurring online, a significant amount of money is being exchanged within e-commerce platforms. With these figures in mind, it should come as no surprise that e-commerce’s reach has extended to the furniture industry and is transforming production. The way in which today’s consumers purchase furniture has also changed, as customers utilizing e-commerce have higher expectations of customization and an on-demand experience.


Customers who utilize e-commerce platforms have become accustomed to on-demand experiences – the ability to select and purchase an item that will, in turn, be shipped and arrive at their doorstep or available for pick up at a retail location in as little as two days.

Combined with the expectation of a quick turn-around is the ability to customize a product. Gone are the days of two to three standard options and anything beyond the norm – custom colors, materials, sizes, etc. – must be custom made or special ordered, which inevitably delayed how soon the product would be available. In contrast, today’s consumers choose from a variety of colors, materials, and other configurations through sleek and interactive online platforms. With the help of innovative technology, the custom product is delivered in the same speedy fashion as a standard option.

These expectations extend to the furniture industry, where automation has allowed manufacturers to meet the demands of the modern consumer. End-to-end processes encompass all aspects of production – from design to the creation of models and ultimately, production. A few large companies dominate the furniture marketplace, and otherwise, the space is made up of smaller and more “traditional” manufacturers. In order to keep pace and compete with their larger counterparts, these smaller companies are increasingly automating their processes and systems to respond to the on-demand environment.

In this streamlined process, data is key; allowing companies to effectively manage designs and patterns and work toward replicable workflows and process improvement – from cutting to the time needed to go to market. 


Speed without compromising quality 

As previously mentioned, speed is a major expectation for today’s consumer. But the modern consumer is also unwilling to compromise on quality. With the help of the Internet, customers read reviews and otherwise thoroughly research their purchases to confirm the quality of a given product.

The charge for furniture manufacturers who wish to meet the demands of their customers and remain relevant in today’s marketplace is to produce goods quickly without compromising quality. To achieve this balance, many companies are turning to technologies such as digital printing. Whereas traditional methods required purchasing and keeping pre-printed rolls at the ready to fill orders, digital printing allows for quick customization – an essential tool for a demanding customer base. 


Emphasis on trendier pieces means designs can never be stagnant 

The access that consumers have to information through the Internet and e-commerce means that a world of possibilities and options is available to them when looking to purchase furniture. Customers are becoming increasingly aware of trends and new and unique styles and patterns of furniture.

In this environment, furniture makers cannot afford to become complacent or stagnant in their designs and product offerings. 


The bottom line

E-commerce will continue to transform the way in which customers purchase and interact with companies. As the furniture industry evolves together with the technology it utilizes, furniture manufacturers must utilize innovative tools and solutions to help them operate more nimbly and efficiently to meet the unique demands and preferences of the modern consumer. 


On the cutting edge 

Gerber Technology’s GERBERZ1, in conjunction with Gerber’s Software is an essential tool for today’s furniture manufacturer – providing end-to-end, automated, on-demand furniture production capable of responding to dynamic market forces and the fast-paced world of e-commerce. 


Positioning you for success 

At Gerber Technology, we are focused on providing solutions to optimize your material processing workflow. We help our customers reduce time to market in order to satisfy today’s on-demand consumer, all while minimizing overhead and maximizing profits.

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The future in furniture

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