Top quality, just a click away- Beliani

By Margie T. Logarta

Beliani Online Store
Michael Widmer and Stephan Widmer, CEO and MD of Beliani
You know the feeling of buying a piece of furniture that turns out to be “lemon”. The time wasted in the purchase…the money down the drain…the hassle of exchanging it for, hopefully, a better model.

Brothers Michael and Stephan Widmer (Beliani’s Co-CEOs) empathized with this all too familiar scenario and decided in 2009 to create an online store where furniture could be acquired with a single click and delivered straight to the customer’s home. High-quality items at discounts of up to 70 percent!

Beliani Switzerland is a result of that commitment to provide the public a pleasing and seamless experience, geared toward attracting repeat as well as new business.

Operating only on an eCommerce platform and B2C in nature, Beliani serves 119 countries including Germany, Poland, Spain, the US and Canada.

And the expansion hasn’t stopped. Since setting the stage in Sweden, home of the popular furniture and furnishing brand IKEA, in 2015, the company has made good inroads into the market, completing the exercise in June of last year. “It’s a great challenge,” Beliani executives declare about this foray into Scandinavia.

Entering the region will allow the company to increase all product availability up to 94 percent. Goods to Sweden are being handled by Beliani’s northern warehouse in Germany.

For further consumer reach, the company links up with other web trading places such as Amazon and eBay or taps distributors/agents. Promotional campaigns utilize the popular tools of social media, Facebook, Instagram, Adwords and targeted Influencers.

Customers have been found to be usually between 25 and 65 years old, with 60 percent male and having medium income.

The promise of affordability and five years’ guarantee for top of the line products is assured because manufacturers, who work with the company, are carefully selected using stringent standards. The screening process consists of request for a sample order, checking it and should it meet the standards of the group, a container order is placed. If things proceed smoothly, Beliani will opt for the long-term relationship with the supplier.

Beliani sources its offerings from mainly Asia, dealing with China, India, Indonesia, Vietnam and Malaysia among others.

Requirements for choosing partners, according to Beliani’s management consist of good quality, reliability and “someone who wants to grow with us and improve even further over time”.

Since goods are sold directly to the consumers and with no middleman present, these are sold at prices distinctively lower than the competition.

Once ordered, about 94 percent of the stock will reach the customer within a few days. Delivery is even free in many markets with a 365-day return policy firmly set in place. In Switzerland, Beliani offers an express delivery service and upon request delivers goods on the same day although at an additional cost. Other add-ons include installment programmes, assembly on site and removal of old furniture as well a 14-day trial. If the buyer’s requirements are not met, the piece can be sent back.

Used goods in perfect condition are offered for sale on the second-hand market or donated to a charity organization. For unsaleable items Beliani provides a viable recycling solution. Customer concerns are addressed by expert and attentive staff that is always available and willing to provide assistance, and a helpline in all major European languages can be tapped as well.

The Beliani gallery is a wide ranging one, consisting of 2,200 contemporary but highly functional products that include garden furniture – using concrete which has proven stable and resistant to different weather conditions – dining sets, Jacuzzis, beds, sofas, chairs, lamps and every conceivable object to make a house a home. A far cry from the original 50 products it started out with.

Besides the headquarters in Switzerland, there is an operations hub in Stettin, Poland. Investment in a 20,000 square-meter warehouse in Germany, a 20,000 square-metre warehouse in Poland and a 6,500 square-meter warehouse in Switzerland provide prime holding areas for Beliani’s ever growing inventory. Some 250 employees work for the online retailer.

Despite increasing demand for the tasteful stock Beliani is becoming known for, the company faces undeniable challenges in its growth map. Consumers are now more price conscious, marketing has gone global and competition has levelled up to become more international in scale.

It’s the smaller players that face extinction if they don’t adjust to the current business environment and value to their services.

For now, Beliani’s goals are clear – step up market share in the countries where it is present and enhance product range.

But the original promise made to consumers all over the world remains – provide great home furniture and furnishing at prices they can afford. The proposition is simple but it also spells success.