Growth 500

A word with Article on mastering the direct-to-consumer model

Having nabbed first place on the Growth 500 ranking two years running, co-founder Fraser Hall divulges how the direct-to-consumer furniture biz has evolved in the last 12 months

Growth 500: Canada’s Fastest-Growing Companies

Which direct-to-consumer kinks has Article managed to straighten out in the past year? 

We noticed that, whenever we get negative feedback, it is almost always due to the delivery experience—reviews say, “It’s a beautiful product that’s easy to order,” but the delivery was late, drivers were rude or they dropped the product. We now operate our own delivery service that we launched less than a year ago in New York and L.A.—next month, we’ll launch in Vancouver. Operating our own service is a difficult [undertaking], but we’ve seen it decrease our negative reviews in those areas by 83%. 

Any chance you could have figured this out without poring over reviews?

We might’ve had some idea, but we really had to dig in quite deeply. The problem was delivery, but what about it? The delays? Lack of communication? Courtesy and service once in the home? We subdivide those reviews so we know exactly what the base is saying, and then tailor the team to meet those needs. 

Given your scale, do you still read through every review? 

The senior team that reviews our reviews has become larger. We’re delivering 13,000 orders per month, so it’s become fairly daunting. 

Is there any interest in revisiting the brick-and-mortar format?

It’s not out of the question. Eighty percent of furniture shoppers do not buy online, so we’re currently missing a large portion of the market. That said, we built out the atrium of our office to be a bit more showroom-like. We walk through to get an idea of how people may interact with the product. Still, we want any Article space to reflect our values. And, right now, we’re seeing fantastic growth without it.