How to meet growing customer demand
The global pandemic has tested the resilience of businesses, affecting everything from how employees worked to how they reached customers. For many businesses, their customers have moved online in droves. Since March 2020, online shopping and e-commerce activity has exploded, even in industries where consumers have traditionally preferred to browse in person before buying. Buying a home and interior decorating were no exception. A recent Prosper Insights & Analytics survey found that consumer plans for buying a home have increased year over year.
As people spent more time at home or bought new homes, the desire to refresh living spaces increased. To meet this growing demand, furniture manufacturers and design companies have restructured their supply chains and large-scale operations. For Modsy, a leading online interior design service, the pandemic has prompted the company to make critical adjustments. I had the chance to sit down with Modsy CEO and co-founder Shanna Tellerman to learn more about how the company has adjusted its strategy to meet growing customer demand.
Gary Drenik: Tell me about your background and why did you start Modsy?
Shanna Tellerman: I have always been passionate about the intersection of design and technology. I founded my first 3D technology company, Sim Ops Studios, after finishing graduate school at Carnegie Mellon University. At Sim Ops, we launched a cloud-based 3D gaming platform called Wild Pockets and were eventually acquired by Autodesk. I stayed at Autodesk for over two years as a Product Line Manager to help launch Autodesk Cloud before moving to Google Ventures. While working at GV, my husband and I moved into a new apartment, and it was during this move that I realized that designing a house and buying furniture was difficult. I couldn’t imagine what everything I saw online in my space would look like, and I didn’t have the design skills to put it all together. After polling others, I quickly realized this was a common problem in need of a modern solution, and started Modsy with a vision of combining affordable design services with world-class 3D technology. to change the way we shop for the home.
Drenik: According to a recent Prosper Insights & Analytics survey, more than half (54%) of consumers surveyed said they would rather work for a company that allows them to work from home than in the office, an increase from 42%. Last year. The transition to remote work has been huge. How has this impacted the growth of the online design industry?
Cashier: When people were forced to spend more time at home in early 2020, many realized their spaces needed a refresh and the way they would use their homes had changed. With a new, more flexible work environment, people are moving into bigger homes, renovating their existing homes, and/or repurposing their existing rooms for new purposes. The pandemic has accelerated many changes that were already underway, such as online shopping, virtual services, and a more flexible work environment, all of which have benefited the interior decorating and interior design industries.
Modsy sits at the intersection of all of these trends, as the company was created to provide our clients with access to professional design assistance virtually without the price of traditional interior design. Modsy has grown tremendously over the past few years before and after the pandemic and yet there are still so many opportunities ahead as we have barely scratched the surface of the addressable market for designer services and a more personalized shopping experience. for the House.
Drenik: Given the growing customer demand for online home design, how can companies meet this demand and scale for continued growth?
Cashier: At the start of the pandemic in 2020, we decided to counter anxiety about the future by investing in fundamental business infrastructure, specifically a new financial management system. We thought that if a recession happened, we would want to be in a stronger position on the other side. What we didn’t expect was that the recession never happened and the demand for our services skyrocketed. With our Oracle NetSuite cloud ERP in place, we focused on establishing a flexible and scalable foundation for continued growth today and into the future.
Although the business may seem simple at first glance, it is complex behind the scenes. We are a software developer, professional interior design service and online e-commerce marketplace all in one. We even make our own line of furniture. With NetSuite, we get data-driven insights into the most complex parts of our business and automate manual tasks. Investing in technology has been and will continue to be a competitive advantage at Modsy.
Drenik: What challenges do online design companies face and how have you overcome them?
Cashier: The supply chain and associated disruptions continue to be a major challenge for any consumer goods company. Modsy has a data-obsessed culture and that has helped us alleviate some of these challenges. Leveraging data around which vendors and SKUs are most frequently impacted by shipping delays will help us better route demand to vendors and SKUs that are shipping fastest. This visibility also helps improve the customer experience, as we can optimize our recommendations for products that will ship faster. Having a single source of truth for data across the entire organization – including supply chain, inventory, and finance – becomes increasingly critical as our business grows in size and complexity. During unpredictable times, we are always on the lookout for data that helps us make the best possible decisions for our customers and our business.
Drenik: Many businesses started online and later opened physical stores. How do you see the online design category evolving? Will more businesses start expanding to physical locations?
Cashier: We have been and always will be driven by the needs of our customers. At this time, we have no plans for in-person stores as our clients have clearly told us that they appreciate the online and virtual nature of our design services. The main thing customers expect to experience in person is an item’s comfort level and/or material feel, but these can be easily resolved through detailed reviews and samples that are shipped to your residence. While I think there may be physical manifestations of the design in the future, I think it will always come in support of an inline first model.
Drenik: Thank you Shanna, for your insights into the online interior design industry and your discussion of how Modsy has embraced technology to support its continued growth. It was great to learn more about the company.