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Case Profile: Furnishing a Full-Featured Offering in Online Retail

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The fast moving start-up, Fidarsi online furniture store has already won a number of awards for its sleek design and positive sales culture. Neil Singh, founder and CEO, speaks with us about his business’s success.

Fidarsi is a pure play online furniture retailer that offers quality furnishings at online prices. With offices based nearby Sydney’s Darling Harbour, the company can fulfil deliveries to any location in Australia and the USA.

While the business was only founded four years ago, Fidarsi has already attracted a number of awards for best online practices. We spoke to Founder and CEO, Neil Singh about his fast-moving furniture venture.

What is your background in e-commerce and what culture do you promote at Fidarsi?

Having worked in the past in the online mobile entertainment space for an extremely successful global startup, I’ve embraced many of their core values and working principals, which I have introduced to Fidarsi and instilled in our team.

As founder, CEO and CHO (Chief Happiness Officer) of Fidarsi, it is my responsibility to ensure that our most important assets (clients and staff) are thoroughly enjoying our beautiful products and brand experience.  Fidarsi is a young Gen X/Gen Y organisation and we have adopted a work hard, play hard culture.  We work with a sense of urgency around the clock to deliver quality products at a fraction of the retail price to delighted clients across Australia and the USA.

How did you come up with the idea for Fidarsi and what was your experience in getting the business going?

Fidarsi was born from a desire to shake up the traditional retail furniture arena in Australia.  Archaic retail furniture business models coupled with expensive showroom pricing and a lack of customer service provided a compelling challenge.

In 2008, I experienced first-hand the notion of wanting to furnish my apartment with designer furniture.  After visiting many traditional retail furniture stores I became disheartened at both the exorbitant retail pricing and boring designs that suited my humble budget.  I retired to the lab with a pen and a pad and emerged 48 hours later with a business plan.

Over the past four and half years, Fidarsi has experienced exponential growth, catapulting our brand into an enviable position and winning a swag of awards.

How do you handle e-commerce technologies? What do you outsource and what do you manage in-house?

Who needs a showroom when you have pictures like these on your website?

You don’t need a showroom when you have crystal clear, stunning photos like these to display your products.

We manage almost all of our processes internally using a variety of systems and platforms which allows us to carefully monitor every facet of the organisation.  Various teams rely heavily on systems for reporting and analysis and our customer success representatives engage with our clients by utilising a customised CRM.

Our freight component is outsourced to various couriers and we utilise and rely on the third party couriers to transport and deliver our products nationwide.

How does your store differentiate itself from other furniture retailers?

As Fidarsi is a pureplay online store, we don’t have any physical showrooms for our online clients.  Our online store provides potential clients to view our entire designer furniture collection and we incorporate product information including photographs, dimensions and colour swatches for their review.  By eliminating the costly overheads usually associated with designer furniture, we provide our online clients with beautiful furniture at a fraction of the retail price.  As an online store, we’re very transparent with our product offering and in addition to product warranties and guarantees, we also extend a generous returns and exchange policy to all clients.

As I’m sure you are aware, there are some figures within the industry that say furniture can’t be sold profitably online (Gerry Harvey, for example). How would you respond to this sentiment?

Harvey Norman’s franchised business model is entirely different to Fidarsi.  A franchised furniture business model is far more complex to adapt or change quickly.  After all, the livelihood of Gerry’s franchisees is at stake and each franchised store has different products and different pricing. There is no uniformity in this archaic model when selling furniture.

Whilst I respect and do appreciate Gerry’s predicament, the success that Fidarsi has enjoyed as an online only furniture retailer is great testament to the evolving purchasing behaviour of Australian consumers.  When Fidarsi first launched four and half years ago, purchasing furniture online was not as mainstream nor as accepted as it is today.  The retail landscape in Australia is rapidly changing and Australian consumers are now more than ever open to purchasing furniture online.

Seeking more information on how to get an online retail venture off to a flying start? See our complete A-Z guide, Power Up: The Online Retail Entrepreneur’s Guide.

Campbell Phillips

Article by

Campbell currently serves as Editor for Power Retail. He has a background in science communication and a long history in retail. Campbell has a keen interest in emerging technologies and their impact in the world of media and online retail. Campbell is an indoor sports junkie, to the point of playing in a local dodgeball competition once a week, “just for kicks”. Follow Campbell on Twitter, Google+ or connect with him on LinkedIn.

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