February 1, 2006, 12:00 AM

Furniture.com opens online shop for Leon’s Furniture

Furniture.com Inc. will handle all online sales, customer service and marketing for Leon’s Furniture Ltd.

Mark Brohan

Research Director

Online shoppers in the Great White North now can join their American counterparts at Furniture.com. The e-retailer has announced it has completed the online integration of its e-commerce systems with the internal information systems of Leon’s Furniture Ltd. Under the agreement signed last summer but only now fully rolled out, Furniture.com Inc. will handle all online sales, customer service and marketing for the Weston, Ontario-based retailer, which sells furniture, appliances and electronics.

The platform for Leon’s is set, with Furniture.com serving as the online presence, says the e-retailer’s president and CEO, Carl E. Prindle.

“Consumers purchase online and we go into the retailer’s systems to determine things like which warehouse a product is in and when that product can be delivered,” Prindle explains. “Or, if a consumer makes an in-store purchase, they can go online and get information including real-time order status, as well as make changes to their order.”

Furniture.com, No. 127 in the Internet Retailer Top 400 Guide to Retail Web Sites, partners with retailers across North America to help them with online activities and aid in the process of delivering furniture to consumers. The company’s partners include Levitz, Harlem, RoomStore Furniture and Leon’s Furniture. The four retailers’ combined annual total sales near $2 billion, Prindle says. He declines to provide online sales figures.

The Furniture.com site includes: interactive shopping tools, such as a graphical room planner; an online furniture magazine; and product recommendations based on data gleaned from shoppers’ online visits. If shoppers want to “touch and feel” merchandise, the site searches the retailers’ store inventories for a selected product and provides directions for getting to the relevant locations.

For 2006, Furniture.com plans to expand its footprint by signing on more retail partners and increase delivery options to more parts of the United States. It also will be offering its retail partners consumer preference data.

“Using anonymous, aggregate data from the site, we will identify how consumers are reacting to retailers’ various products,” Prindle says. “We get 4 million product views every day; these show us which styles, products and prices shoppers like. We are packaging this data now for our retailers, and it will determine improved methods for moving forward.”

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