Walmart.com continues to bolster its push into home goods with its launch of an online-only private-label furniture brand called MoDRN.
The MoDRN brand fits into Walmart Inc.’s ecommerce strategy to increase its assortment of home items, says a Walmart spokeswoman. A year ago, Walmart announced that it had added new features to Walmart.com’s home section, including editorial-style imagery, design tips, nine shop-by-style options and “curated collections” of home goods.
Visits to Walmart.com’s home category section have increased 35% year over year, and the majority of shoppers are spending more time on the site, Anthony Soohoo, senior vice president and group general manager, home, Walmart U.S. ecommerce, wrote in a news release.
The MoDRN brand has 650 home products, such as sofas, beds, bar wear and dining tables, within three collections: Retro Glam, Refined Industrial and Scandinavian Minimal. Walmart has positioned the MoDRN brand as high quality, on trend and for shoppers with a “modern aesthetic.”
“MoDRN provides the elevated look and feel that you would typically find at a specialty store, without the elevated price tag,” Soohoo writes in the release.
The move into private label is a smart move, says Sara Hicks, CEO of ecommerce platform Reaction Commerce.
“The launch of an online-only private label brand showcases Walmart’s agility and effort to adapt to the evolving world of commerce,” Hicks says. “Walmart is reaping the benefits of its established digital presence through data and customer insights, which has given them a better understanding of customer habits and desires.”
Walmart isn’t the only one that is launching its own private-label home good lines, as Amazon.com Inc. and Target Corp. have done the same.
Amazon.com Inc. introduced seven new private-label brands in the fourth quarter of 2018, bringing its total to 135 private-label brands. It also added more than 150 exclusive brands sold only on Amazon in the fourth quarter, bringing that total to 330 Amazon exclusive brands, according to the TJI Amazon Brand Database, a database that tracks Amazon’s exclusive and private-label brands. Amazon has more than 20 household goods brands in the U.S. alone, according to the report.
Target launched 20 of its own private-label brands within the past year and a half. Within the home category, Target has the Threshold brand, as well as new brands Project 62, Opalhouse, Made by Design and Hearth and Hand, which all appeal to different aesthetics. Target CEO Brian Cornell told attendees at the National Retail Federation 2019 conference that Target didn’t want to dilute a brand by making it appeal to a wider audience but instead developed new brands that appealed to shoppers with different tastes.
The online home goods category is burgeoning as millennials (consumers ages 23-38) are entering their prime spending years, setting up their homes, having children, earning more disposable income and feel comfortable shopping online.
“Millennials are starting families and discovering that things are kind of important,” says Paula Rosenblum, co-founder and managing partner at retail marketing firm RSR Research. “So we’re seeing more mortgage companies and a big boom in home furnishings in general.”
This surge in home furnishings is evident in Internet Retailer’s Top 1000 data as well. The housewares/home furnishings category, which comprises 97 online merchants, was the fastest-growing category in the Top 1000, with online sales soaring 29.7% in 2017, according to Internet Retailer estimates and company reports. That significantly exceeds the 18.5% year-over-year ecommerce sales growth for all Top 1000 merchants in 2017.
Amazon is No.1, Walmart is No. 3 and Target is No. 17 in the Internet Retailer 2018 Top 500.Favorite