La-Z-Boy's new Web store eases it into e-commerce

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Iconic American furniture store La-Z-Boy launched an online store on June 16.

The company decided to debut the site when it realized that shoppers are making their purchases “whenever and however they want to,” said Doug Collier, CMO of La-Z-Boy, in an e-mail.

“Our e-commerce model will help us deepen relationships with our consumers and better respond to their informational and online furniture shopping needs, while providing them the high service level that only a local dealer can provide,” he explained.

The new online store has an advantage because it utilizes the entire network of La-Z-Boy dealers, according to Collier.

“Once a purchase is made, La-Z-Boy will process the order and utilize its national network of stores to ensure seamless ser­vice, delivery and one-on-one customer fol­low-up,” he said. “We also have consumer telephone and e-mail support available to ensure customers are comfortable with their experience every step of the way.”

One snag with selling furniture online, such as La-Z-Boy's famous recliner, is that customers cannot give them the “sit test” before purchasing. But Collier asserted that, with 2,000 bricks-and-mortar stores across the country, the Web store is an opportu­nity to “enhance” the company's customer experience. He said customers may choose “a combination of both” the physical retail store and e-commerce site when making their purchase decisions.

The furniture retailer said last week that its net sales for the fourth quarter ending April 2008 were $368 million, down 9.8% from Q4 of the previous year. For fiscal year 2008, La-Z-Boy reported sales of $1.5 bil­lion, down 10.5% from the prior year.

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