June 11, 2009, 12:00 AM

Executing the basics helps Cymax Stores go head to head with bigger rivals

While other home furnishings e-retailers are facing flat or declining sales, Cymax is growing by keeping a lid on expenses, adding a bigger selection of merchandise and deploying better technology, CEO Arash Fasihi will tell attendees next week at IRCE.

Paul Demery

Managing Editor, B2B E-commerce

To compete more effectively against bigger companies, smaller merchants need to execute flawlessly on the basics of e-commerce and keep their pulse on the wants and needs of customers, Cymax Stores Inc. CEO Arash Fasihi will tell attendees next week at IRCE.

In 2009, Cymax, No. 200 in the Internet Retailer Top 500 Guide, is on track to grow web sales by about 80% to more than $90 million. While other online retailers in the home furnishings and housewares space are facing flat or declining sales, Cymax is growing by keeping a close eye on expenses, adding a bigger selection of merchandise in core categories such as TV stands and deploying better technology.

“To stay at the top of your particular segment, you have to anticipate where to look for inefficiency and think of better ways to eliminate it,” says Fasihi, who will be speaking at the Internet Retailer Conference & Exhibition, June 15-18 in Boston, in a session entitled Small Retailers: Beating the Big Guys Without Breaking the Bank. “Even in a small organization the right use of personnel is critical,” he says. “Managers need to make sure each task is clearly spelled out and that the right people are on the right project.”

Cymax specializes in building individual sites, each with its own web address, for narrow niches like sofas at EverySofa.com, game tables at FoosballSelect.com and dining chairs at MoreDiningChairs.com. One of the retailer’s more recent sites is MoreCurioCabinets.com, and it plans to introduce sites for cookware and is considering jewelry and apparel, Fasihi says.

“We have seen bigger competitors come and go in some of our core categories but we’re still among the leaders in niches like TV stands,” he says. “We stick to the basics, give customers the selection they want and maximize our technology and marketing programs for the best results we can get. It’s a straightforward approach, but it works for us against bigger competitors.”

Comments | 4 Responses

  • From my recent experience here is their business model. Cymax Charges a customer credit card. Cymax delays processing the merchandise order until the customer contacts Cymax to inquire as to the anticipated delivery. Cymax then processes the order for 50% of the merchandise and delays delivery claiming that they are waiting to be certain that 100% of the merchandise will be delivered. They delay delivery 3 times claiming that they need to make sure that all items are on their deiivery schedule. Cymax delivers on the 3rd scheduled delivery and then only delivers 50% of the items ordered and paid for. Only after deliverying 50% of the furniture do they tell you that not everything was loaded and that they will return in the morning with the balance of the merchandise. Obviously there is no additional delivery. They never ordered 100% of the merchandise. And now the rest of the charade begins....they claim that they need to investigate and will be back in 4-6 business days. They then claim that the merchandise was never shipped and they need to re-order. After another 4-6 days they never re-ordered. At the end of several 4-6 days of waiting, I request a cancellation. They need to investigate and will be back to me within 4-6 days. After several rounds of waiting, I place a cancellation on line - meanwhile they act apologetic and claim that they will cancel the transaction and refund me without penalty. Then they send a message that claims I will have to pay restocking and return shipping fees and have still not credited me for merchandise that I have not received. This absurd "looking into" exercise goes on for months - meanwhile they have my money and have failed to deliver or resolve the situation. When they finally issue an RMA to return the partial delivery, they give the customer 15 days [including weekends and holidays] to return in the original packing. Mind you they did not deliver with any boxes or packing - and will not accept returns without the original packaging. So essentially, they take customer funds and fail to deliver what was ordered. In my review of the company I have found that the treatment that I have received is customary. This retailer should be investigated - not congratulated.

    • Our customer placed an order online and her order was shipped with one of our reliable White Glove Service carriers. Firstly, we apologize on behalf of them for the delays in shipping and the 3 delivery attempts they made that were unsuccessful. Unfortunately in the shipping world inevitable delays and problematic issues do arise. We were notified by our customer that 2 of her 5 items ordered were not delivered. We understand (based on the customer’s response) that the delivery carrier advised her that they were trying to find all of her items, and delayed delivery until all items were found. Once they did finally arrive they did not arrive with all her items. Once we were notified of this, we contacted the manufacturer to attain the paperwork stating that all 5 pieces were sent from their warehouse. We contacted the carrier who advised that all 5 pieces were delivered and signed for. This caused a delay in locating all missing items. We then received an email from the shipping company advising that there were pieces missing. Retrieving the paperwork to make sense of where the missing furniture was; we agree untimely, but in this situation necessary. In these unfortunate cases, if an item is missing or damaged for a customer, our Replacement Policy states that we will replace it for the customer at our charge. As the customer did not want us to replace the missing items at our cost we needed to find alternate options for her outside of our Standard Return and Replacement Policy that was agreed to. We acknowledge that this experience was less than optimal for our customer and have fully rectified the situation by refunding her in full and have picked up the items she received.

  • your recent experience is not mine. i contacted Cymax twice and never got a response. moreover, i have an email from Cymax that explicitly states it is their practice to bill the customer for items as soon as the order is made. your experience is so far removed from mine. this retailer is NOT to be congratulated and it sounds like u are on their payroll.

  • My one and only experience with Cymax can only be described as a horror show. I am surprised that Google Checkout continues to allow Cymax to use its services when there are so many thousands of complaints against Cymax. I placed a simple order with Cymax for an Ameriwood Desk and paid for it through Google Checkout thinking that the later would provide me at least a modicum of protection. Unfortunately the opposite happened. Ameriwood, at the instructions from Cymax shipped the good via FedEx Ground. Order placed 3/16/11. Order shipped 3/21/11. So far - not bad. 10 days later. No shipment. Filed a claim with FedEx and they acknowledged loss. Got a check from FedEx, but it was made out to Ameriwood with my address. Cymax not mentioned. I sent the check to Ameriwood with a copy to Cymax - no response. After 36 days, Cymax indicates that they will initiate an "investigation" but that it normally tales 14 working days (almost 3 weeks) to do so. But this they also did on or around April 8th (no results were ever provided to me). Meanwhile, FedEx cancels the check and states (incorrectly) that only the shipper can file a claim. They cancel the check and want Ameriwood (who is not on the transaction at all (except a separate order from Cymax), to file the claim. They will also accept a claim from Cymax. But I, who paid for the material cannot file a claim. Incidentally, did not find any such policy in FedEx's own Policy and Procedures manual. So who is lying, who is covering up, and who is just plain cheating the consumer with the help of major advertisers and companies? In the whole process, Cymax was the least cooperative. Ameriwood is simply unreachable (they hide their contact information extremely well); Google Checkout is no help; FedEx is confused and disorganized. And I, am stupid for dealing with Cymax in the first place.

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