Corporate Vision February 2017

50 CORPORATE VISION / February 2017 , Furniture in Fashion is an online retailer which provides high quality products at affordable prices. We invited CEO, Asad Shamim to chat to us about what makes the company different from their competitors. Not Just A Retailer Established in 2007, Furniture in Fashion has grown from strength to strength, providing high quality of furniture and services at very reasonable prices fitting almost every budget and lifestyle. Prior to this, the firm was a retail business, saw the market changing from general retail to online shopping, and moved online. Asad Shamim, CEO, chats to us about how Furniture in Fashion differs from their competitors in the market. “We have our major warehouse and showroom based in Farnworth near Bolton in 3.25 acres. With such a huge warehousing space, we were able to initiate our importing services across various countries and right now we are one of the largest online furniture stores in the UK possessing a strong online presence. We were one of the first companies to start bringing in high quality products from German-manufacturers and produce a variety of items such as TV stands, coffee tables, living room sets and sideboards that come directly from our 500,000 square foot warehouse in Germany. This has been the major reason behind years of our successful business. “We also started producing in the Far East, notably China and Malaysia, and have good relationships with manufacturers in France and Italy. As a business, we are not just a retailer, we are a manufacturer as well.” In order to stay ahead of the competition, Asad outlines the main difference between themselves and other companies in the market, whilst also explaining how Furniture in Fashion has succeeded in a competitive market. “The main distinction between us and our competitors is that we are a large stockholder, unlike our other competitors who have a dropshipping model, whereby people assume that the goods are coming directly from the company they have placed their order, when that’s not the case. What our competitors do is to provide a colourful website and their products are sent directly from the importer/wholesaler, not from themselves. As a producer, we have an edge on pricing, production any design of furniture. We look at the market trends, and produce furniture that is tasteful and attractive to various lifestyles. “There are large players in the industry, who have got large store groups with a long established client base. In terms of competition, it’s very fierce. Competitors have large buying power. Companies such as Tesco are known as a world brand, therefore people want to do business with them because of the volume and traffic that they have. That makes our life difficult, as we are trying to compete against larger store groups. For that reason, the decision to manufacture our own products was important because that’s the only way we could produce attractive products at affordable prices and keep ahead of competitors. From this, we’ve had a lot of enquiries recently from companies such as Amazon.” The industry is always changing. Furniture In Fashion ensures it always stays on top of any emerging developments in the industry in order to compete in the market as Asad explains. “We look at the market trends across the region, what trends there are in Europe and across the globe. What we tend to find is that the UK market follows the European market 6-12 months later, so it’s a great indicator to discover what products are likely to come in. We are quite aggressive in our investigations into what products are selling, and we manufacture some small test products which gives us a great indication on what is going to sell in volume in the near future.” Furniture in Fashion has managed to save costs by expanding their team of staff abroad. Asad outlines what is being done to create a more efficient service. “We opened a call centre in India almost two years ago because of the costs that were involved in having staff here in the UK. The staff at this centre manage customer services, sales and administration tasks etc. This has been a big saving for us as a company, whereby we can utilise the savings for marketing purposes. In the UK, we have a team of quality control staff in our warehouse so that each and every product is checked and repacked before being dispatched to our customers. This is something that our competitors can’t offer.” Finally, Asad shares his thoughts on his future plans to expand the Furniture In Fashion brand beyond the UK and Europe. “Our plans are to be one of the largest online retailers and producers of furniture in the UK. Secondly, we are aiming to look at other markets such as UAE and USA and build a brand. There have been conversations from other companies who are looking to collaborate with us. People in other countries don’t have some of our products, and if they do have them, the price is very high so we do get a lot of interest. Our plans are to look at these markets to see if we can establish ourselves there.” K Company: Furniture In Fashion Name: Asad Shamim, CEO Web Address: Address: Furniture In Fashion House, 14 Stone Hill Road, Express Trading Estate, Farnworth, BL4 9TP Telephone: 01204 792700 1702CV03