For Canadian furniture giant Structube, global expansion begins at home. With over 50 stores in Canada, and new ones opening every few months, the company recently announced plans to open stores across the US. By the end of 2020, Structube could have twice as many stores as it has today.
The company has fueled its growth by broadening its portfolio with contemporary home furnishings for everyone, matched with lower prices that attract the largest segments of furniture buyers. “Lower prices provide greater affordability to more consumers in Canada and other markets,” explains Tony Trew, Structube’s Director of Marketing and E-commerce. “It’s more than an economic decision, it’s a commitment to be more inclusive, to serve more people through what we do.”
Founded in 1974, the company originally sold tubular retail racking for clothing stores, hence the name “Structube”, derived from the French term “structures tubulaires”. But president and founder, Marcel Knafo, had a passion for furniture, opening the company’s first home furniture store in Montreal in 1980. Structube quickly became popular for its modern designs which were perfect for a new generation of customers shifting from larger homes to apartments and smaller houses.
Home furnishings for everyone
The company’s strength is aligned to a sweet spot in the global home furnishings market for quality furniture at reasonable prices. Structube’s quality standards are at or above brands like Crate & Barrel or West Elm. But it has changed its pricing to become competitive with self-assembly brands like Ikea. This combination provides powerful growth opportunities in new and existing markets.
Every aspect of Structube’s business benefits from Knafo’s passion for improving the customer’s experience. This hands-on approach and innovation is welcomed across the company, which now has more than 400 employees. “From design to sourcing, manufacturing, marketing, distribution, and delivery – every aspect of our business can be improved. Innovation isn’t just encouraged, it’s expected from all of us – as members of the Structube family,” adds Trew.
According to Barclays, furniture is the second-fastest growing segment for U.S. online retail. Launching their ecommerce capabilities in 2015, Structube may have been late to the party but made quite the entrance. “We wanted to ensure our underlying infrastructure was in place before we launched, so we could offer our entire inventory and provide the same service our customers enjoy in our stores.” says Trew. “We underestimated the online demand for our products and we outsold our target on the very first day.”
On that first day of online sales, Structube also experienced their first fraud loss. Trew’s team was shocked by the volume and velocity of fraudulent orders they saw online. “Once we realized the orders were fraudulent, we tried to filter them out, but had limited success and ended up turning away legitimate customers.” says Trew. “I recall how we asked for photos of driver’s licenses, and how the very first one we received was obviously fake.” The team quickly realized manual efforts to thwart online fraudsters were damaging relationships with legitimate customers, and fraudsters quickly found ways around such measures anyway.
Fraud protection that fuels international growth
Given their rapid growth, Structube needed a fraud protection platform that could grow with them and assume liability for their fraud as their online sales grew and matured. “Signifyd was an easy choice. Protection was complete for us yet invisible to our customers, with no negative effect on conversion.” explains Trew. “We actually increased sales because we could accept more orders, since we no longer had to turn away or investigate legitimate customers we weren’t sure about. All we needed was Signifyd’s approval to ship the order.” To streamline their process and eliminate manual order review, Structube integrated Signifyd directly in to their Magento console to enable faster delivery.
Fraud Protection from fraud isn’t the only innovation Structube has deployed to its award-winning website. Since its launch, the site has been a shining example of omnichannel shopping capabilities designed around the customer experience, earning it a “Commerce Marketer of the Year” nomination in 2017 from Magento, it’s ecommerce platform provider. Design and digital marketing expertise for the site were provided by Absolunet, including numerous features that enable growth while enhancing customer satisfaction. One such example is the tripling of orders almost overnight when the team introduced its “Ship to Store” feature to online buyers.
This serves as a reminder of why Structube has been successful all along – understanding and catering to their customer’s needs, instead of the company’s. “It’s important to ‘get out of the way” of the sale. To make buying easy, even if what you need to do to accomplish this is extremely complicated.” says Trew.
Built on a tradition of accessibility, passion and innovation, Structube is positioned well for the immense growth opportunity ahead, both online and in-store. As more home furnishing customers make buying decisions online, the company is confident its comprehensive and convenient shopping options will continue to serve its existing and new customers at home and across the world.