While apparel and accessories are emerging categories in the resale space, furniture resale marketplaces are also gaining more momentum. Floyd, a Detroit-based DTC furniture brand, launched a secondhand furniture program, dubbed the Full Cycle program, last year in partnership with FloorFound.
Retail Leader caught up with Aaron Turk, senior vice president of operations and corporate development at Floyd, to learn more about the program and the growing demand for secondhand furniture.
Retail Leader (RL): Can you comment on how recommerce is immune to the supply chain issues in the furniture sector?
Aaron Turk: Due to the global supply chain crunch, furniture manufactured abroad can take well over six months to reach customers. Thankfully, Floyd’s domestic manufacturing footprint has enabled us to remain in stock, but there are still challenges with supply. Through our Full Cycle recommerce initiative, we’re able to bolster our inventory and find new homes for items that are already produced. In partnership with FloorFound, Full Cycle is Floyd's center for extending the life cycle of our products. Consumers can buy returned and imperfect Floyd products at up to 50% off.
Also, because we can leverage FloorFound’s nationwide network of returns processing centers, we cut down on turnaround time and days spent in transport compared with the traditional model of returning merchandise to a centralized warehouse, which can be a thousand miles away. Overall, we can ship resale items within days as opposed to weeks.
RL: Have you seen an uptick in recommerce interest among your customers? Do customers who engage in recommerce skew to a certain generation?
Turk: We’ve seen incredibly strong interest in our Full Cycle offering since launch, with an average time to sell of just eight days for each newly-merchandised item. This response isn’t surprising, since according to research from our partner, FloorFound, consumers are eager to try recommerced furniture. More than half of consumers have bought second-hand furniture already, and 95% are willing to buy resale goods directly from brands at a discount.
Our high-quality, modular furniture is already appealing to apartment dwellers and new homeowners in the Millennial and Gen Z age range, but what we’re finding with Full Cycle is that we’re reaching shoppers who are design-conscious but seek a lower price point as an entry into the brand or simply prefer buying non-new products. Three-quarters of the buyers on Full Cycle so far are new to Floyd, and a quarter of them have already returned to buy new products.
RL: What are the recommerce challenges specific to the furniture sector?
Turk: Returning a sofa isn’t the same as mailing back a pair of shoes that don’t fit. The logistical hurdles are complex: the customer needs to initiate the return and schedule pickup, then the sofa needs to be trucked back to the warehouse, inspected to determine its condition, priced for resale and merchandised. Once resold, the item needs to be delivered again to its new home. Typically, the more time that furniture pieces spend in transit, the more they’re apt to collect dings and minor damage just through the wear and tear of the voyage.
It’s also crucial to distinguish our Floyd recommerce experience from what consumers can find on Nextdoor or Craigslist. Yes, shoppers want a discount — but they’re also looking for quality; in fact, the highest-priced items that are in nearly-perfect condition on Full Cycle are currently some of the ones that are selling fastest. We’re evaluating and classifying each piece based on strict, standardized inspection criteria. Also, we’re offering pickup and delivery of the returned or imperfect products, making the experience hassle-free for our customers. That service component is crucial: 89% of consumers in the FloorFound survey said they’d expect the shopping experience, delivery and customer support for resale goods offered by brands to be just as good as if they were buying something new.
RL: How does partnering with FloorFound align with Floyd’s sustainability/environmental goals?
Turk: Sustainability has always been at the core of what we do; our mission since launch in 2013 has been to provide timeless, quality alternatives to cheap, disposable furniture. More than 12 million U.S. tons of furniture are discarded every year, 80% of which goes to landfills, so it’s a major challenge for the industry. In 2020, we deepened our sustainability commitment with a slate of new initiatives aimed at becoming a completely circular operation, and the FloorFound partnership was central to meeting these new goals.
Our recommerce offering encourages reuse and extends the life of our products, keeping them out of landfills. A second sustainability component is reducing greenhouse gas emissions across our supply chain: thanks to FloorFound’s network of warehouses, we’re reducing the number of miles traveled for pickup of the returned item and re-delivery to the second buyer – which in turn lowers our carbon footprint. Customers have heightened awareness about the environmental impact of their choices, and 84% of participants in FloorFound’s research said furniture delivery was an important aspect of sustainability to them. FloorFound is helping us meet those expectations for meaningful action.