January 14, 2009, 12:00 AM

One Way Furniture looks to new ways to get web sales back on track

One Way Furniture is taking an 8% decrease in 2008 web sales in stride. To boost revenue, the company is adjusting pricing and adding more diverse product lines.

Bill Briggs

Senior Editor

One Way Furniture Inc. is taking an 8% decrease in 2008 web sales in stride even as it figures out better ways to add more business this year.

In 2008, e-commerce sales for One Way Furniture, No. 320 in the Internet Retailer Top 500 Guide, dropped to about $18.5 million from just over $21.1 million in 2007 as consumers cut back on their spending for big-ticket items. “We are adjusting to the times,” says One Way Furniture founder and CEO Mitchell Lieberman. “We are seeing less of a demand compared to previous years.”

In early 2008 sales were brisk, but slowed considerably by the fourth quarter, Lieberman says. “January of last year was like another December for us, but then sales softened,” he says. “The real downturn came around Sept. 15 with the timing of the financial crisis. We got hit by a perfect storm of a credit crisis and a weak housing market and had to make a tremendous adjustment in the fourth quarter.”

Even though web sales dropped last year, One Way Furniture remains profitable, Lieberman says. To attract more budget-conscious web shoppers, the online furniture retailer has temporarily suspended its $10 order processing fee. One Way Furniture also reconfigured its product database and merchandising pages to display a larger array of popular furniture brands at discounted prices. “We lowered price points and did a lot of price optimization,” Lieberman says. “Consumers now are very price sensitive.”

In 2009, One Way Furniture will make more acquisitions to grow its market share. The company might also expand into other vertical niches such as housewares, window treatments and gift baskets, Lieberman says. “Our category was one of the first to be hit in the downturn, but I think we’ll also be one of the first to come out of it when the economy improves,” he says. “Last year was still profitable and in 2009 we will invest to grow our market share.”


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