Marketplace model part of new game and new name for Mathis Home

OKLAHOMA CITY — It’s a new day for the Top 100 retailer formerly known as Mathis Brothers Furniture.

The Oklahoma City-based retailer now goes by Mathis Home and, through a new partnership with advanced enterprise marketplace SaaS platform Mirakl, has extended invitations for third-party, home and home-adjacent vendors to sell to its consumers directly from its website.

Rit Mathis, chief marketing officer for the family-owned retailer, told Furniture Today that by offering more home products beyond furniture, bedding and décor, Mathis Home is strengthening its position in the market. He said the company drew inspiration for its Mathis Marketplace concept from the world’s largest online retailer.

“It’s an opportunity for us to take what is already a competitive advantage we have in being the selection leader in our marketplace and take it to a whole different level,” Mathis said. “We saw how a marketplace approach transformed Amazon’s business by not feeling like they had to handle all the first-party inventory themselves, but to add a whole host of third-party sellers to their offering. It made their e-commerce experience powerful.”

The launch of Mathis Marketplace, with implementation supported by Mirakl, allows the company to significantly expand the products it offers customers, partnering with brands to grow beyond furniture and mattresses into new categories such as baby, kitchen and home organization.

“Adding sellers to a marketplace is one of the most important strategies that a retailer can take to expand their marketplace business. The marketplace seller opportunity is extremely appealing for businesses: Last year, the number of businesses that began selling on marketplaces increased by 46% over 2020,” said Sophie Marchessou, executive vice president of customer success for Mirakl. “Mathis Home will continue to benefit from Mirakl’s unmatched ecosystem of pre-vetted sellers within Mirakl Connect, making it even easier for Mathis to rapidly expand and scale their product assortment and ultimately grow their marketplace business.”

Boston-based Mirakl supports a customer base of more than 350 marketplace platforms across the world, accounting for more than $4.3 billion in gross merchandise value each year. Supported by Mirakl’s seller onboarding experience, Mathis Home expects to add dozens of curated third-party vendors and hundreds of thousands of new products by the end of 2023, all of which are included in the Mathis Rewards Program. Marchessou noted that Surya is among the companies Mathis Home is using to expand into other categories in its marketplace.

Kaci Crane, Mathis Home’s e-commerce marketplace director, said to-date, Mathis Home has established relationships with around 150 vendors and has room for more.

“There are multiple ways we engage with the sellers. On our website, we have a link where you can enquire to be a marketplace seller. The second is the Mirakl Connect platform. That’s where all these sellers live,” Crane said. “As the name says, it’s a connection tool. You build a profile. We’ve created pitch decks and sales tools to inform people who we are. They can connect to us, or we can connect with them. Outside that, we’re working with aggregators who have these relationships as well who can directly connect us with vendors.”

Mathis said expanding Mathis Home’s offerings is also about learning more about today’s consumer and letting her say what she wants.

“For us, it’s not just about selection. It’s also about finding adjacent categories where we might find growth. We’ve got giant showrooms, and we still don’t have room to show everything we want,” he said. “I think it could inform some pretty serious changes in what our floor looks like. We’re prepared to learn things about what we should or shouldn’t carry.”

And with the modified and expanded approach to product offerings, Mathis said the time was right to change the company’s name. He said officials had kicked the idea around from time to time, but the timing worked out perfectly in this instance.

“Changing the name of the company is a hard decision, (for) an old company, especially. Once in a while, it would come up over the past decade that if we started a company in 2022, we wouldn’t name it Mathis Brothers Furniture; it felt a little old fashioned. We see a lot of companies abbreviating or going to shorter brand names,” Mathis said.

“It was about picking something that made more sense and related to the Marketplace initiative and being a destination for more than just furniture. It wasn’t just changing the name for the sake of making it shorter. It was something that made sense for a lot more reasons.

“We’ve known we wanted to change our name if we found something that made sense and took us to a better place,” he continued. “Finally, everything came together as we were contemplating the marketplace approach. It’s a change to our business model. It’s a completely different way of thinking about e-commerce and selling.”

With furniture and homewares representing 17% of total U.S. e-commerce sales and considered one of the fastest growing categories in e-commerce, Mirakl officials say the launch of this marketplace has positioned Mathis to capture an outsized share of this category growth. The marketplace model will allow Mathis Home to experiment with expansions within and beyond its existing product categories, without the inventory and floor space restrictions of brick-and-mortar.

“We believe that there are similar exponential results for us in the category. We feel Mirakl is best-in-class when it comes to marketplace offerings,” Mathis said. “It’s a healthy ecosystem with tons of sellers. It brings a lot of sellers to the ecosystem.”

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