Market Overview

Small Business Marketing Challenge - What Do You Do When Your Product Is Too Good To Be True? Simplicity Sofas Doubles Down. Its New Website Claims It's Even Better


North Carolina furniture manufacturer Simplicity Sofas claimed that its entire line of high quality Ready to Assemble Sofas, Sleepers and Sectionals could be assembled by its customers in 15 minutes without tools. Consumers simply did not believe the claim - so the company's new website, launched October 1, 2012 demonstrated that the original claim hadn't been outrageous enough. Even little kids can assemble the furniture in less than half the original 15 minute claim. The new website features a video of an 8 year old boy assembling a $1299 sofa by himself in 3 minutes 52 seconds. This is followed by another video of a 7 year old girl assembling one section of a $4300 seven piece sectional by herself in less than 1 minute.

High Point, NC (PRWEB) October 26, 2012

High Point, North Carolina furniture manufacturer Simplicity Sofas unveiled a new e-commerce website on Oct. 1, 2012. Simplicity Sofas launches new e-commerce website.

Simplicity Sofas invents, designs and custom-builds sofas, sofa sleepers, sectionals and chairs that fit into small rooms and through narrow entranceways where even the smallest conventional sofas, sleepers and sectionals cannot go. Furniture for Impossibly Small Spaces

The company does not sell its furniture to retailers, wholesalers or distributors. All of its products are sold direct to consumers through its e-commerce website.

Since ready to assemble sofas were first introduced by IKEA in the 1950s consumers have come to expect that this category of furniture is inexpensive, cheaply made and a nightmare to assemble, typically requiring from one to two hours with dozens of parts and the ubiquitous Allen Wrench.

Simplicity Sofas introduced something completely different - High quality ready to assemble upholstered furniture made with solid oak frames and premium quality cushions backed by lifetime warranties. Retail prices are more than double those of IKEA and its competitors with sofas generally priced from $1000 - $1600 and sectionals between $2500 and $4500.

Co-inventors and designers Glenn Laughlin and Jeff Frank realized from the very beginning that customers purchasing expensive high quality furniture would not be willing to spend two hours to assemble a single piece. They decided on four mandatory requirements for their furniture:

1. It had to look as good as high quality conventional furniture.
2. It had to be as comfortable as high quality conventional furniture.
3. It had to be able to fit through narrow doors, stairways, RVs, boats, small elevators and other tight passageways as narrow as 15 inches. (A typical modern doorway is at least 32 inches wide.)
4. A single consumer had to be able to assemble a sofa by herself in 15 minutes without tools.

These goals were all achieved. Convincing potential customers who were purchasing the furniture through an e-commerce website, and who could not see or sit on the furniture was an entirely different problem.

Customers could usually be persuaded to believe the first three claims listed above by the company's Total Satisfaction Warranty which stated:

"If you do not like our furniture for any reason whatsoever you may return it for a full refund, including all shipping charges, for a period of one year after purchase."

Convincing customers, particularly women, that they could really assemble a heavy (150 - 200 lb. sofa) by themselves in 15 minutes was a much more difficult challenge.

8 year old Skyler Miller, the son of a company employee, came to the rescue. After practicing four times over a period of less than half an hour, a video was shot in one continuous take of 3 minutes 52 seconds. In that time little Skyler gives a short introduction, assembles the 170 lb. sofa, and even fluffs the cushions. He does not rush during the entire assembly process.

The sectionals have a completely different design and construction, and are covered by a different (pending) patent. Introduced three years after the sofas, they were developed in response to the company's first customer (after more than 1500 deliveries) who was unable to fit a Simplicity Sofa down her stairs. Sectionals now comprise 25% of the company's business.

The sectional is even simpler and faster to assemble than the sofas. Did anybody believe that? Of course not! Sectional assembly is so simple that no instructions are included in the boxes. (Sofas come with a one page instruction sheet that contains 6 pictures and 54 words.)

7 year old Sydney Haire, the daughter of a company employee, completes assembly of an armless section of a $4300 seven piece sectional in just under one minute, including the famous "skip around the sofa" part of the assembly process. Assembly of a complete sectional typically takes:

One minute per armless section.
Two minutes per arm unit section.
Three minutes per corner section.

Does anybody find that hard to believe?

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