How a new online retailer is changing furniture consignment

A novel online consignment furniture and home décor retailer is making waves in the Chicagoland with its unique business platform.

MarketSquare, launched last year by Bryon Finke in the city’s Avondale neighborhood, seeks to provide an improved experience for buyers and sellers.

In a community whose residents are constantly moving, online furniture resale is a popular alternative to the pricey new home furnishings business. Yet, the industry certainly has its problems.

With an emphasis on digital, MarketSquare prides itself on two merits that other furnishing retailers don’t necessarily provide their customers — convenience and quality. Both are traits not normally found in the furniture consignment space, which Finke says has been plagued by inefficiency and unreliability.

“We’re similar to your local mom and pop furniture consignment store, but we provide the complete end-to-end experience with the latest consumer technology,” Finke says. “Because we are online first, we can enable higher value for both buyer and seller.”

How it works

Essentially, MarketSquare works as a third party to pick up furniture from the seller, house the piece while listed and deliver it when sold. Because of this approach, there is more focus on buyers, who are encouraged to view items at MarketSquare’s warehouse without the pressure to make purchase decisions on the spot — giving buyers more control.

“Everything is transparent and marketed through our website,” Finke says. “In this way, we offer an extra layer of trust and organization to all parties involved.”

Before furniture or home décor is accepted into MarketSquare’s inventory, it must be approved by a team of curators. This process starts when sellers submit a summary and photos of the items they wish to consign. Sellers can easily submit and manage their pieces via mobile or desktop.

All approved items are picked up at the seller’s convenience by a team of MarketSquare logistical associates, and brought to the MarketSquare warehouse where it is photographed, listed and housed until sold. The seller receives 60 percent of the proceeds from a sale.

MarketSquare’s unique business model allows buyers to pick up purchases at the warehouse, or arrange for delivery for a small fee.  Delivery is free on all orders over $299, alleviating the ever-present headache of transporting furniture in a city whose majority of residents do not own vehicles.

Where does the furniture come from?

One of the major differences that sets MarketSquare apart from its competitors, according to Finke, is its tasteful curation. MarketSquare rejects pieces that fail to meet its standards. The inventory includes top brands, such as Crate & Barrel, Pottery Barn and Room & Board, to name just a few. If there are any damages to a piece, the information is clearly stated in its listing.

MarketSquare’s furnishings and home décor largely come from large estates and people experiencing major moving changes but lack the resources to sell or transport their furniture.

The company also receives a number of established businesses’ showroom inventory, as well as custom online manufacturers that sell them customer-returned items and showroom pieces.

Finke says MarketSquare’s increasing customer base supports his company’s technology-lead model for improving the complicated process of buying and selling furniture, allowing a complete reinvention of a living space in a simplified and cost-effective way.

According to Finke, “Our team will deliver an entire apartment — for under $1,000.”

For more information or to see the company’s furniture and home décor listings, check out MarketSquare here.

 Dana Fouchia for MarketSquare

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