Home furnishings Web site HomePoint.com announced today that it has joined the growing list of dot-com companies that have added the element of offline stores by establishing its HomePoint Advantage Network.
The system will link thousands of furniture stores to the Web company’s extranet, an electronic system that facilitates the ordering and delivery of over 60,000 furniture selections. It will allow HomePoint to team with local furniture stores so that customers can visit a store, see items close up and utilize its product delivery capability.
The local store benefits by being able to sell from the large selection in the HomePoint inventory.
Consumers shopping at a HomePoint-authorized dealer will be able to peruse the retail floor or use an electronic catalog, assisted by a trained sales person, to search the HomePoint Advantage site, place orders and arrange delivery right on the spot.
The Online And Offline Blend
“We have seen enormous growth in sales of home furnishings products over the Web,” said Mike West, CEO of HomePoint.com. “But some of our Internet shoppers still enjoy visiting a furniture showroom and dealing with a local establishment. For them, HomePoint Advantage is the perfect solution.”
Local stores can use the network as an e-commerce program. Once they’re connected, the store gains access to thousands of items not previously available because of manufacturers’ minimum order and stocking requirements.
Stores also get to participate in HomePoint’s promotional programs and tie-ins.
“In effect, we are transforming the local furniture store with limited product lines into a giant furniture retailer,” said West. “With our huge inventories of products and our regional warehouses throughout the country, we will cut delivery time to the consumer from the typical six to eight weeks to just seven days,” added West.
Competitive Forces High
HomePoint is launching its network at a time when a number of dot-com furniture retailers are vying for the online consumer’s attention. In addition to the online/offline network, HomePoint is working to gain market share through free delivery in the U.S. and by offering 100 percent satisfaction guarantee.
Based in Greenville, South Carolina, HomePoint was launched in December 1998 under the FurniturePoint.com name. The company added products and changed its name to HomePoint.com in June of 1999. The company now offers 60,000 home furnishing products.