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Furniture customers seeing lengthy shipping delays amid supply disruptions

Posted at 8:22 PM, Nov 12, 2020

If you're waiting on a furniture delivery, you're not alone. Some customers are reporting delays of four months or more assuming you can find the item you want in stock.

Like everything else, the coronavirus pandemic has complicated distribution for the furniture business, and no one is immune to the problem of supply, demand and disruption.

"This has been a fundamental shock to the system,” says Michael Miller, chief operating officer at Convey, a technology company that helps retailers do better deliveries.

“Our network has over 5 billion shipping events so we track every single data point from when a package leaves a fulfillment center, goes on a truck, goes to all of the different handoffs, and then reaches your door,” Miller added.

Convey supports big, small and specialty retailers. Miller says the disruption in online business is complicated. And while things are getting better amid attempts to rebound and adjust to a new normal, there's a lot that can't be fixed overnight.

“People are getting creative but the common denominator is they need more drivers, they need more trucks, they need more warehouses to keep up with this demand,” Miller said.

Modloft, a Miami-based company that sells elite, contemporary and modern furniture, has 60% of its items on backorder, which company chief marketing officer Sean O’Brien said is “historic.”

The “factory could have a delay, the transit company could have a delay bringing it into port, the port could have a delay, the warehouse could have a delay, there’s all sorts of places along the line where things can get backed up and we have to be good about communicating to the customer what’s happening and when,” O’Brien said.

Modloft saw a good April and a historic summer for sales, breaking company records But, like all other businesses who are trying to get customers their goods as fast as possible, stock is a problem.

“Customers are frustrated they can’t get a particular sofa or color they want for 90 days and this is happening at all brands,” O’Brien said. Customers “may have been to four other stores and come to us as the fifth and still frustrated with the same experience.”

A-list celebrities are Modloft customers, like professional athletes and Grammy-nominated recording artists, but no matter your name, your wait time will be the same.

“If you see something you like, grab it,” Miller said. “There are definitely supply shortages out there. I would pounce, not wait if you see something available. Secondly, pay close attention to what the retailer is telling you about the estimated delivery date. This is very, very important.”

Convey says customers should sign up for alerts, make sure an estimated delivery date is clearly displayed before you buy, and be patient. Especially through the holiday shopping season.