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Online furniture retailer Brosa’s grand designs for success

Melbourne-based online retailer, Brosa, is approaching 30 staff and is on track to generate more than $10 million revenue this financial year, having raised $2 million from venture capital firm Air Tree Ventures, in July 2015.

After buying a new house in Melbourne – and outgrowing Ikea – Brosa co-founder Ivan Lim spent four weekends traipsing through furniture showrooms, before deciding to start his own e-commerce venture.

Officially launched in February 2014, Brosa aims to provide designer furniture at a more affordable price point.

“The whole idea behind Brosa is we are a vertically integrated e-commerce retailer, that means we work directly with makers, we don’t work through agents or importers,” Lim told Internet Retailing.

“The idea is to bring the best design pieces from makers around the world, direct to customers at an accessible price point.”

Thanks to a vertically-integrated structure Brosa, which means smile in Icelandic, is able to launch two to three news collections a week.

“One of the unique things that is special about Brosa, is that because we work so closely with makers we basically are able to directly launch at lot of designs… Where a Freedom or Coco Republic may take six months to launch two new collections for example, we launch two to three new collections a week and that gives us a good variety for our customers and they are able to see a range of new fresh pieces all the time,” Lim said. 

Brosa has built its front-end on Shopify and built its own internal ERP system which is the tech layer to control its supply chain. 

Omnichannel future
Lim believes the future of retail lies in a hybrid online/offline model and has been encouraged by early efforts to capitlise on multiples channels.

Brosa has a mattress brand Greywing, which has a small showroom within the Brosa head office in Melbourne where customers can book a time to try out the mattress.

“It’s working really well… between sixty and seventy per cent of showroom visitors will buy the mattress,” Lim said. 

“Firstly that gives us a lot of encouragement. We are big believers in what the buzzword is, omnichannel retail or multichannel retail. We think the future of retail really is about meeting the customers where they are at and giving them experiences.

“Models such as pop up showrooms that separate pop of sale from distribution are really interesting and that’s something that we continue to want to explore. We are looking at potential channels like that for Brosa.”

Lim says in 2016 the key priority for the brand is “to nail” the customer experience via improvements to the shopping journey. 

We are constantly looking to improve that experience level for customers, whether it’s them being able to book time for delivery via SMS, to being able to easily to find information which they need. For us, really the rest of the year is about nailing that experience and we know that as more and more loyal customers grow with us then the business itself will grow.

“The other focus is being able to grow market share and get more customers, but I think a core part of that is being able to nail the customer experience so that is really a big, big focus for us. That requires a lot of operational work, a lot of tech work to make the platform better which requires bringing the right people into our business to help execute that.”

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