Perfection takes time: Rico Castelberg from Graubünden is building an online platform for Swiss furniture stores.
For a long time, the furniture trade was regarded as resistant to digitization. Tables and beds are usually produced to order and are difficult to return; these are two characteristics that seem to make furniture unsuitable for the fast-paced online trade.
The recent trend reversal has to do with technical possibilities such as virtual reality (VR), which does, for example, allow customers to beam new furniture into their home digitally. “State-of-the-art web applications are expensive, however, and break the budget of most retailers,” says Rico Castelberg. In order to pave the way for small and medium-sized furniture houses to sell online, the 35-year-old entrepreneur from Graubünden and his partners run a furniture platform called solovivo.ch.
The platform has been online since Easter, and by the end of the year, furniture expert Castelberg, who used to run his own furniture store two years ago, wants to win over 40 furnishing houses from all over Switzerland. At present, it is mainly store exhibits that are sold digitally; basically, however, partners can upload their entire range of products. There is great potential: The Swiss furniture market is worth four billion Swiss francs; the online share is only five percent.