How motion upholstery producers make the decision to add, change features


HIGH POINT — The motion upholstery product segment thrives on new innovations and the latest technology, and many manufacturers rely on a variety of sources to help them determine when and what to incorporate in new motion feature rollouts.

For these companies, their product improvements are driven by current trends filtered through the lens of internal design teams:

  • “When we find a technology or mechanism to explore and create something truly different, that’s where the magic happens,” said David Workman, EVP of sales, citing American Leather’s Comfort Air Collection recliner as a product that was designed by company engineers to move with the body.
  • Kuka Home has a product design team that reviews trends and collaborates with customers. The company’s design and sales teams connect to discuss product ideas and review sketches from the company’s U.S., Milan and China design teams as well.
  • New Classic is “always looking for the next thing,” according to Scott Hill, president of sales. The company says it was one of the first to include under sofa lighting as part of its product approximately nine years ago and was quick to adopt Bluetooth speaker integration in motion.
  • Best Home blends a combination of consumer wants with internally developed product ideas and extensions. “If we have a “cool” idea internally and this idea generates excitement through surveys of our dealer base, then we’ll proceed to integrate into our motion furniture,” said Eric Vollmer, senior marketing strategist.
  • Consumer choice and feedback is used frequently at La-Z-Boy as part of its Century Vision Strategy. “We are using consumer insights to drive brand strategies and true consumer-centric innovation,” said Paula Hoyas. VP, product merchandising. She noted that wireless charging, USB ports, articulating headrests, lumbar, memory settings and one-touch return to home positions are all favored by its consumer base.
  • Manwah looks at technology in other industries and assesses how these can be incorporated into its motion product offerings as well as listening to retail partners and developing technologies internally, according to President Gabriele Natale.
  • “At Coaster, innovations we introduce are evaluated by the price to determine if there is enough value added to justify the higher price point for the feature(s) and appeal to the retailer and the end consumer,” said Don Deeds, EVP, sales and marketing.
  • Stressless develops all new products and innovations at the company’s corporate headquarters in Norway backed by a combination of global trends research, consumer feedback, market feedback and sales data to generate new product ideas and further innovations to existing products, according to Beverly Kastel, head of marketing.
  • At Klaussner, “we try to scan the market to see what’s new and next and incorporate opportunities that fit best to our core capabilities. Lots of new mechs, wireless charging and audio options coming to the marketplace,” said Ben Radoll, VP, case goods and import upholstery.

See also: Vendors keep eye on what makes motion upholstery category move at retail





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