Tag Archives: ecommerce

The Changing Face of Selling Furniture

Consumers are used to buying small items such as books, music, and household goods online thanks to Amazon and other ecommerce retailers. But what about shopping for larger and more expensive items such as furniture? Is there a market for online sales of furniture?

It turns out that the answer to that question is “yes.” Wayfair, Inc., a Boston-based retailer has no physical stores with very minimal inventory, but it has grown to be the largest online-only retailer in the United States with revenue more than $2.25 billion! The company advertises itself as selling “a zillion things home” and carries more than seven million products, from rugs to sofas. Utilizing a supply network of more than 7,000 different furnishings suppliers, the company ships large bulky items direct from suppliers to the consumers.

While it might initially seem that consumers would not be interested in buying furniture online, Wayfair uses a unique combination of Web site along with television shows to showcase its products and designs. The show “The Way Home” sponsored by Wayfair airs on Lifetime TV on Saturdays. Different episodes focus on design challenges including the latest trends, utilizing small spaces, and decorating on a budget.

Go ahead, see how to make over your least-favorite room on a budget!

Group Activities and Discussion Questions:

  1. While the buying process may vary slightly for different products and target markets, the basic 5-step process remains the same: problem recognition, information search, evaluation of alternatives, purchase decision, and post-purchase behavior.
  2. For furniture buying, have students work on the actions taken in each of the five steps.
  3. Next, show Wayfair’s Web site: https://www.wayfair.com/
  4. Show Wayfair’s TV show: https://www.wayfair.com/thewayhome/?&episode=10&clip=1
  5. How is the company using integrated marketing communications?
  6. For furniture, who is the target market?
  7. Divide students into teams and have each team develop a profile of a target market for Wayfair. Include demographics, psychographics, behaviors, values, attitudes, etc.

Source:  Wall Street Journal   

Leave a comment

Filed under Classroom Activities

Amazon’s Treasure Truck


Amazon continues to move beyond its digital roots and into the physical world. This time, it’s the “Treasure Truck” – a delivery vehicle for daily deals that drives around  neighborhoods in Seattle. Amazon compares the Treasure Truck to the neighborhood ice cream truck, brining joy, fun, laughter, and deals to different neighborhoods. The truck – nicknamed Scout – is bedazzled with lights, signs, display cases, and music.

How does it work? First, you have to be located in Seattle as that is the only location currently in operation. Then, using the Amazon mobile app installed on your smartphone, you can see the products and deals on the truck, as well as get alerts about deals and locations. Next, buy the item using the app, and then drive to the listed pickup location. At the pickup location, Amazon employees are stationed in white tents next to the truck and they quickly deliver the order to you.

The deals are limited in quantity so buyers have to act fast!

Group Activities and Discussion Questions:

  1. Poll students: What types of businesses are they used to seeing operating out of trucks?
  2. Bring up the Amazon Treasure Truck Web site: https://www.amazon.com/treasuretruck
  3. Show the video on the home page.
  4. This example can be used in multiple ways to determine marketing strategies, set SMART objectives, and more.
  5. Discuss setting SMART objectives (specific, measureable, achievable, realistic, and time-bound).
  6. Divide students into teams. Have each team develop five SMART objectives for the Treasure Truck.
  7. Discuss the objectives. How would the objectives change if a different strategy was used?

Source:  GeekWire, CNET, New York Times

Leave a comment

Filed under Classroom Activities

World’s First Pizza Delivery by Drone


The journey of a new service from the concept stage to commercialization can be a long road, and one that is usually littered with potholes and obstacles. Such has been the path for commercialization of drones to be used for deliveries. Although there have been a number of drone versions and tests by different companies, none have yet been able to take the final step as countries develop regulations for safe commercial drone flights.

However, Domino’s Pizza in New Zealand can now boast that it has now completed the world’s first pizza delivery by drone! New Zealand Domino’s partnered with Flirtey, an independent drone delivery service company. Flirtey has partnered with companies and agencies in various countries to promote the use of drones for deliveries of items such as food, medicine, first aid, and more.

The companies worked together for several months to develop a process for getting hot pizza delivered to a customer’s door. Using autonomous GPS drones, the target time to get pizzas to the door is 10 minutes, bypassing traffic, road construction and more.

How many pizzas would you like delivered?

Group Activities and Discussion Questions:

  1. Discuss drone commercialization with the class.
  2. Show the Domino’s delivery video:


  1. View the Domino’s press release with additional information about the project:


  1. Also view Flirtey’s Web site to review its business model:


  1. Discuss the components of an environmental scan: social trends, economics, technology, competition, and laws.
  2. Divide students into teams. Have each team complete an environmental scan for using drones in business.

Source: Brandchannel.com

Leave a comment

Filed under Classroom Activities