Walmart-backed ecommerce company Flipkart has launched a furniture experience centre FurniSure in Bengaluru, its first such facility in the country, to provide customers an opportunity to get a feel of its furniture offerings.
“This is a step towards helping customers understand the vast selection of furniture offered by Flipkart and increase awareness around the seamless buying and installation experience it offers,” Flipkart said in a press statement.
Visitors can use their smartphones to scan furniture at the centre, which will route them to the platform’s furniture page, allowing them to explore the product catalogue.
"The furniture category has traditionally had a strong presence offline because customers like to see and touch the products they are buying," Adarsh Menon, vice-president, furniture, electronics and private label at Flipkart, said. "As a customer-focused organisation, we understand the requirements of customers and hence FurniSure.”
The experience centre showcases home furniture from nine brands including Hometown, Evok by Hindware, The Jaipur Living and Perfect Homes.
Flipkart plans to introduce two more experience centres in Bengaluru, and will set up centres in other metros.
The company is also working with Google to integrate Google Lens to enhance viewing experience at these centres.
Flipkart Furniture claims to feature over 80,000 products across various categories.
The company’s offline move, though not a direct sales venture, assumes significance as most online furniture startups in India have transformed to embrace an omni-channel strategy over the years. Leading online furniture retailers – Pepperfry and Urban Ladder – have offline stores across the country.
Swedish retail giant IKEA has been consolidating its India business with an upcoming store in Mumbai, after launching its first unit in Hyderabad in August last year. The company has already purchased land in Bengaluru and Gurugram for its next stores. It also made an undisclosed amount investment in Bengaluru-based online home décor startup Livspace in May this year.
Recent deals in the online furniture segment
- May 2019: Livspace raised an undisclosed amount from Ingka Investments, the investment arm of the Ingka Group which owns and operates IKEA.
- March 2019: Interior home design company Bonito Designs raised $6.3 million from early-stage strategic investment fund Tomorrow Capital.
- February 2019: Interior design solutions marketplace HomeLane raised Rs 33 crore ($4.6 million then) in a bridge round from JSW Ventures, Accel and Sequoia Capital.
- September 2018: Bengaluru-based omnichannel furniture retailer Urban Ladder got $5.06 million (Rs 36.29 crore then) in a fresh funding round from venture debt firm Trifecta Capital.
- March 2018: Mumbai-headquartered TrendSutra Platform Services, which runs furniture e-tailer Pepperfry, secured Rs 250 crore ($38.4 million then) from asset management company State Street Global Advisors.