Boston is filled with e-commerce companies that are quietly growing into industry giants.
While Zappos may get a lot of attention for its shoe and fashion empire, there are many companies making waves in some of the less “sexy” verticals that have the opportunity to be as successful. Many of these businesses are building their success ‘under the radar’ in Boston’s innovation ecosystem.
One of the brightest local e-commerce stories is Blueport Commerce, the South End-headquartered company whose web platform allows furniture companies to create their own branded, omni-channel websites. Retailers turn to Blueport’s e-commerce solutions in order to optimize their websites for online as well as in-store sales.
Blueport integrates its proven technology and industry experience with major furniture retailers eager to make a greater impact in e-commerce. Blueport’s industry leading tech solution/platform allows well-established companies to continue to focus on product rather than waste resources with IT and other complicated e-commerce issues.
Wait a second, I’ve never heard of Blueport, how could they be an industry e-commerce leader?
If you’ve ever heard of Furniture.com, you know Blueport. Furniture.com, one of the largest furniture sales websites in the country, is Blueport’s other, more well-know product.
While the company’s branded, omni-channel platform makes sense for some large furniture retailers, Furniture.com allows smaller businesses to have a gateway to internet sales. While larger companies may have the budget for their own Blueport enable site, smaller furniture retailers can sell their wares through the Furniture.com site.
Some retailers even use both, Furniture.com as well as their own Blueport enabled branded site leveraging as many e-commerce opportunities as possible.
A huge benefit of partnering with Blueport is that it offers its clients products that would otherwise be costly and require additional employees. In addition to its basic branded site development, Blueport includes marketing, social media, design, and mobile optimization tools to its customers.
The way Blueport sees it, they are at the innovative forefront of an entire industry transition from an old way of conducting business to the ever-expanding world of e-commerce.
In a press release announcing some exciting recent developments at Blueport/Furniture.com, the company’s President and CEO Carl Prindle explained, “Furniture has been called the last remaining $1 Billion e-commerce opportunity...capturing this complex opportunity requires a ‘wow’ customer experience that can only be delivered by marrying leading technology with the scale and expertise of world class furniture chains.”
Morgan Woodruff, the company's COO, told me that, "Furniture is about an $85 Billion category that is barely 3% penetrated online." He added, "If that doubles, it's huge."
Blueport recently expanded its partners and announced that it will relaunch a new and improved Furniture.com later this year. The new Furniture.com partnerships, with American Signature parent Schottenstein Stores Corporation, RoomsToGo, and Leon’s Furniture of Canada, among others, has expanded Blueport/Furniture.com’s reach to the furniture industry in most of North America. In addition to providing sourcing, warehousing, and delivery capabilities, RoomsToGo and Schottenstein have become investors in Furniture.com.
Dennis Keohane is a staff writer for VentureFizz. You can follow Dennis on Twitter (@DBKeohane) by clicking here.