One of the fastest growing segments of the $450 billion U.S. e-commerce market is large, bulky goods, such as furniture, home furnishings, antiques, mattresses, treadmills and more.
eMarketer predicts revenue from online furniture and home furnishings sales will reach $42.7 billion by next year, while Furniture Today, a leading online furniture news source, reported that U.S. furniture sales will reach $122 billion by 2020 over the next five years, a three percent compound annual growth rate.
As buyers, especially millennials, have gotten more comfortable purchasing large items online and spurred demand, top legacy logistics companies are also eyeing the furniture delivery business, realizing they can no longer ignore the segment.
Yet a sizable chasm remains between the service online sellers are providing – often slow, expensive and uninsured – and customers’ expectations of fast, affordable (or free) delivery, aka the Amazon Effect.
To help close that gap, uShip today announced a fixed price, in-home, white glove service that helps online sellers better serve buyers of oversize goods with faster, more affordable, insured delivery. The service also helps e-commerce sellers better compete with Amazon, Walmart, and big-box online stores.
“In an extremely competitive market, online sellers are scrambling for a turnkey logistics solution for bulky items, something Amazon, UPS and FedEx currently struggle to provide,” says Mike Williams, CEO of uShip. “When an e-commerce seller partners with uShip, they get white glove service, predictable delivery costs, and shortened transit times thanks to our proven logistics platform and nationwide network of feedback-rated transporters.”
Pilot Program Results
uShip’s successful pilot program with several online merchants, including Everything But The House (EBTH), the world’s premier online marketplace for authenticated second-hand items, processed over 12,000 fixed-price furniture deliveries to customers across the United States. Partners reported cutting delivery costs by nearly 50 percent, and reducing transit times by up to 65 percent, from 4-6 weeks to just 14 days.
“uShip’s been digitizing large item logistics for 14 years and simultaneously been able to unlock trailer capacity through our network. Now a single piece of freight, from a one-of-a-kind antique to a standard sofa, a single carrier can economically manage the first mile, long haul, and last mile,” says Williams. “Why take six connecting flights when you can go non-stop?”
What makes uShip’s solution different from existing third-party, legacy third-party logistics companies (3PLs) is its API-driven technology and the thousands of unconventional carriers in its network. With 3PLs, large shipments can change hands as many as eight times from depot to door. With uShip, deliveries can be handled by a dedicated driver.
2.2 million and counting…
uShip is no stranger to large, bulky goods. Since 2004, the uShip platform has facilitated the delivery of more than 2.2 million oversize items — from cars to cranes, freight to furniture, and households to horses — for consumers, businesses, online sellers, and logistics enterprises, such as DB Schenker, Europe’s largest land transport company.