Las Vegas Winter Market 2020 recap

Sam Vlessing
January 31, 2020

The furniture industry’s first major gathering of the year happened this past week in fabulous LV, Nevada. Here’s some high-level context:

  • 4,000 home furnishings brands
  • January 24–29, 2020
  • 5.4M square feet of showrooms
  • Way too much candy (seriously 🙄)

Brick and mortar will ALWAYS be a thing — This is the cold, hard truth. Anyone who thinks it’s going the way of the dinos needs to take a long look at the trends in the home furnishings world. Sure, retailers are being pressed and manufacturers that rely too heavily on physical dealer networks aren’t as financially diverse as they *should* be, but it isn’t a zero-sum game. Early adopters in our industry have accepted omni-channel revenue as the most effective way to get slices of pie from multiple markets.

Jerry Seinfeld Seinfield GIF - JerrySeinfeld Seinfield Yes GIFs
how we feel about omni-channel revenue 💸💸💸

Where there’s interest, there’s a way — Desire for omni-channel revenue is consistently getting stronger. There’s a lot of interest in building a new revenue channel but underlying fears of upsetting brick & mortar dealer networks still linger far and wide. Early adopters who have embraced the need for BOTH in-store and online revenue are already scaling fast while late adopters will be hard pressed to catch up over the long-term.

Container flow is king — Many SMBs ($5-$50M revenue) importers/wholesalers would love to scale an online rev channel through retailers like Wayfair, Overstock, Amazon, etc. but aren’t able to ensure deep enough stock for their dealer networks while scaling an online business at the same time.

Our approach with CommerceBear customers has always been to walk before you run. Which, in practice, means starting with a small subset of the catalog, capping online inventory levels (which can be done automatically with our inventory app), and ensuring that demand can be met prior to scaling further. Cross marketplace ecomm doesn’t need to be 0 to 100, real quick. A careful and calculated burn can sometimes be just what the furniture doctor ordered.

Terrific traffic on Sunday/Monday at market — with many CommerceBear partners expressing satisfaction with order volume written over the initial couple of days. Big dip on Tuesday, with top 100s and tier-1 online retailers already back at home. Market is a great way to write business, build relationships, and get a pulse on new industry developments. We’re wondering, however, if 2 days might just be enough. Think about it.

Designers don’t get enough credit, to be frank — So much of the energy and buying power at market is due to the wave of designers that always stream in on day one. If you’re a designer and reading this, thanks for sticking with it 🤙. And don’t worry, we’ll have some sweet software tools for you too in the future.

Everyone is doing some sort of ERP integration *sigh* — The world we live in is made up of ERP systems designed for traditional commerce. They’re also cumbersome, expensive, and generally confusing to operate. They might be a necessary evil, but it’s one that is seemingly on top of everyone’s docket in the first quarter of 2020.

Picard Facepalm
when we hear the word ERP or EDI integration

Casper has a physical showroom now — which is cool given that they started as a D2C brand. Worth mentioning that their showroom in Vegas was B1301, right next to ALL the bedding manufacturers that make similar bed-in-boxes. Even though Casper does not make their own mattresses, this might just be their way of cementing a brick & mortar network and telling the competition “we’re here to stay.” I’m very interested to see how their story unfolds as they gear up for an IPO this year (👀).

Net new importers exhibiting for the first time — Brazil, Vietnam, and Malaysia were in Vegas with a strong showing of companies showing up to the big leagues for the very first time. Many of them are testing the waters and gauging dealer interest prior to establishing a warehousing operation on US soil.

Overall, we had an unreal time meeting with customers, prospects, and partners in Vegas this past week. The CommerceBear team will be at High Point Market (April 24–29) in full force, so book some time with us right here, right now.

As always, stay excellent to one another.

Sam Vlessing

P.S. If you want some of our super swaggy stickers, click here 🎉🐻

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