Massage Chair Industry Update – 10/20/23

October 24, 2023
 By Dr. Alan Weidner
October 24, 2023
 By Dr. Alan Weidner

Massage Chair Industry Update – 10/20/23

Hi, I’m Dr. Alan Weidner from Massage Chair Relief, and today is our bi-weekly Massage Chair Industry Update for Friday, October 20, 2023. Thank you so much for joining me today. We are approaching November. Our next industry update will be in November, and that will be the beginning of the buying season for Black Friday, Cyber Monday, and Christmas holiday purchases. And we will be keeping you abreast of what we have going on. We will also have a web page. I believe it will be up to the 1st of November, which will have all the ongoing sales that are strictly for Black Friday and Cyber Monday holidays and the holidays. Stay tuned for that. But right now, I can tell you that the Human Touch Quies chair, which is a chair that we started carrying some time ago, hasn’t been a terrifically popular chair on our website.

 

[00:01:10]

We don’t have it in our showrooms, of course, and that does affect the popularity of the chair for us. But Human Touch announced that they are going to be selling that chair only through humantouch.com, which is their website. So, HT Quies, we’ve taken it off our website, and you can get it through Human Touch if you’re interested in that chair. Also, from Human Touch, they’ve increased the prices of some of their shipping again. They’ve had a couple of increases lately. Usually, it’s a 25 to $50 increase. This time around, it’s primarily for the white glove delivery. And I believe it’s $50 up for the Novo chairs and the Certus and some other models. Anyway, some of the prices haven’t gone up, but their white glove delivery prices have gone up.

 

[00:02:00]

The new Ogawa Master Drive LE, which is the same as the Master Drive AI 2.0, but without the AI component, without the chair doctor component. That chair we had mistakenly priced at 10,999. It is actually priced at 9,999 and $0.99, just so that you know. We don’t know what the sale price will be on that chair if and when it does go on sale. Ogawa typically has good sales on their chairs every month. So, for example, the Master Drive AI 2.0 is regularly 12,999, and it’s on sale for 8,999. So, I suspect the LE, if it goes on sale, it’ll be a little bit lower than the 2.0. By the way, we do have a lot of pre-owned chairs. And one of the pre-owned chairs we have is our floor model Master Drive AI, the original AI. The 2.0 came along earlier this year, and we still have the I floor model in our Northern California showroom.

 

[00:03:01]

So, if you’re interested in that chair, reach out to us at 888-259-5380, and we can give you a little bit more information about that chair. But anyways, that’s Ogawa. Sharper Image has come out with a new chair called the Axis. And Sharper Image is a name that’s been around for a long time. There used to be Sharper Image stores. Well, Infinity bought the rights to the name, and so now, Infinity, who also has the Kyota brand, now has the Sharper Image brand. And they’ve had it for 2 or 3 years. We’ve carried, I think, the Relieve 3D in our showroom in Utah. But they’ve come out with the new axis 4D chair, and it looks like a good chair. It’s regularly listed at 6,999. It’s on sale for the rest of this month for 3,999, which is a good price for a 4D chair. And, of course, it’s backed by Infinity’s customer support, which is a fantastic customer support department, which we like. So anyway, just be aware that the Sharper Image Axis is a new model to take a look at.

 

[00:04:03]

I don’t know if they’re going to be keeping that price at 3,999 through the holidays; just wait and see. But it is on sale right now for the rest of this month, and that is a very good price. People come into our showroom all the time looking for 2 to $3000 chairs, and there’s not a lot that our name brand that are high-quality chairs and backed by a good company that has good customer support. This pricing on this chair is in that lower price point. And they are a good company, and they will take care of you if anything goes wrong with the chair. Also, we have our next live stream, which I’m excited about. Our first live stream was with Jim Coppins, the VP and COO of Infinity. That turned out really well because we had a lot of people attend, a lot of questions asked, and a few comments made.

 

[00:05:01]

And, of course, Jim and I talked about just the topics that I brought up and that he wanted to talk about. And so, we’re going to be doing the monthly for the time being. Our next one is next Wednesday, October 25th. They’ll be usually the final Wednesday of every month at 2:00 Eastern time, which is 1:00 Central noon, my time here in Mountain time, and 11:00 Pacific time. Now, our guest will be Dr. Kevin Lee. He’s the head honcho for … He and his brother Tom started and basically owned Luraco Technologies. And I’ll have Dr. Lee go through the history of Luraco because it’s not just about massage chairs. They started as a defense contractor for the United States government, and then they branched out into, I believe, jets for hot tubs, and then nail salon chairs.

 

[00:06:02]

And then, of course, now they’ve branched out into chairs for residential sales or for personal sales. But I’d like to get a little bit more clarity on that. That’s just from what I’ve heard and what I’ve discussed in the years gone by. We’ve been Luraco distributors for quite a few years now, and it would be good to have a course with Dr. Lee. So, he’ll be here, and he’ll be available. You can go to our YouTube channel and our Facebook page at that time, 2:00 Eastern next Wednesday, the 25th, and join in and listen in, and you can ask questions. You can meet Dr. Lee. As an owner of one of their Luraco i9 Max chairs, which they have now, or as a prospect who’s looking at the chair, that might be a great opportunity to ask some questions from the man at the top. And Dr. Lee’s a great guy. He’s very conversational. He’s got no problem answering questions.

 

[00:07:02]

He doesn’t shun the opportunity to talk about his company and about what they’re doing. And it’s a great company. They’re American-made chairs. It’s the only American-made chair in the industry. And, of course, we qualify. Every time we say a chair is made in Japan or made in America, we qualify that by saying that in today’s world economy and in the world industry, components come from all over the place. They might have components that come from Taiwan, Malaysia, Singapore, or China, but a large percentage of the chair is made in a particular country. And in this case, it’s largely made here in the United States. They manufacture a lot of the components in their headquarters in Arlington, Texas. And they also assemble the chairs there and test them. And when you order a Luraco, they don’t build the chair until you place the order with us, and then we place the order with them, and then they build the chair.

 

[00:08:03]

And that usually takes a couple of days for them to assemble it or build it and then test it. And, of course, there’s personalization associated. If you get the i9 Max Special Edition or the Royal or the Billionaire Edition, there’s a customization where they will put your name on a leather or gold plaque on the neckpiece or the headpiece. And they also personalize the display on the remote control. And the remote control is like a mini-computer. It’s a pretty cool remote control. It looks like a smartphone. But they also personalize your name on it or whatever name you want on it. But anyway, that’s all done in Arlington, Texas. I have a video that I did when I visited their facility when they first started building the i9 Max, which was … I think it came out at the beginning of this year, but they had the i9 right before that, and then they upgraded quickly to the i9 Max.

 

[00:09:02]

Anyways, if you go on my YouTube channel, which is youtube.com/massagechairrelief, you will be able to see and look up the Luraco i9 video tour that I did. And it’s pretty interesting stuff. It’s pretty cool. Because, really, heretofore, massage chairs have all been, for the most part, made in Asia. So I did go to Asia, to China, and a couple … I was 2.5 hours outside of Shanghai to visit a factory that makes the Infinity chairs, the Body Frame chairs, the Human Touch chairs, and a lot of the Osaki chairs and the Daiwa chairs. And we visited that factory, and I recorded that. That was really eye-opening for me. It’s mass production, like multiple lines of chairs being produced. And it was an impressive factory. And I hate to say this because it sounds like very regional thinking.

 

[00:09:57]

But, in my mind’s eye, I imagined, and maybe that’s because I grew up in the early to mid-70s, when you envisioned China as small factories, rickety, maybe old buildings with maybe marginally good facilities. And, of course, this was before China really became a world player in the economy of production and manufacturing of products and goods. But they made a radical change; I believe it was in the 70s or 80s when their objective was to become main players in the world economy. And they have become that, of course, as we know. The majority of products that we receive in our country, here and in Canada and any other country, are made in China. But I had this vision of a small little factory where maybe they would pump out a few chairs at a time.

 

[00:11:07]

And I maybe envisioned that there might be children working at the factory. And I apologize. This is stereotyping from a very regional Canadian boy who grew up in the 70s. And it was so incorrect. Because when I got there, it was one of the most amazing, modern, technologically advanced facilities I’ve ever seen. It was enormous. It was in a town that was 4,000 years old, but here was this beautiful, beautiful factory. And you’ll see it when you look at the video. And so, in hindsight, I realized I was very, very marginalized, and my thinking was very regional and very small in my thinking. It was an amazing facility. And that’s how a lot of the factories are. Now, Arlington in, Texas, where Luraco is built, they just build their own chairs.

[00:12:04]

It’s not like multiple massage chair companies are having their chairs built. These are chairs built by the company that designed and engineered them for their own business. It’s not as big, but it is an impressive facility with what they’ve done there. Anyways, I’ve gone on way too long. I wasn’t planning on talking about that. But anyway, Dr. Lee will be there next Wednesday. If you want to get details, you can go to our YouTube channel or Facebook page. The Facebook page is facebook.com/massagechair.relief. And you can not just watch it, but also, participate. If you’re a viewer, you can ask questions if you have them. And it’s a great way to meet the heads of industry in our industry. Last month, like I said, it was Jim Coppens, who’s the CEO and VP of Infinity, which is a very big brand in the United States.

 

[00:13:04]

And now you get to meet with Luraco, which is maybe not as widespread a brand, but a very well-known brand because it’s the only massage chair made in America. And their chairs are very, very unique and they have a lot of amazing features. But anyway, I digress from what was on the agenda here. So anyway, live stream next Wednesday, 2:00 Eastern, and you can check it out. We are actually hopefully having our home page redesigned with the banner at the top to a smaller banner. Right now, the banner takes up way too much space, in my opinion. The banner will be a little bit smaller, two-thirds of the size. And then, on the right-hand side, there’ll be a third of a block that will be dedicated to our live streaming. And so, it’ll have a countdown ticker there when we have it up. And hopefully, we’ll have that up by next week. If not, it’ll definitely be done by the November livestream.

 

[00:14:08]

After this stream is done, we’ll announce our guest for December. But anyway, having said that, you should be able to also watch the stream on our home page. So, visitors who are going to the site can just watch it there if they don’t want to go to YouTube or our Facebook page. The only drawback to that is that we’ll have a drawing for one of my books at the live stream, and you can’t sign up for that on the version that’s on our website. But you can at least be there and listen and hear what our guests have to say. And I just wanted to close with a little discussion on what I call manipulated reviews. Now, reviews are a big thing. My goodness, my wife and I, when we go out to eat, and we do not go without looking at reviews of the restaurant.

 

 

 

[00:15:03]

And a lot of people do the same thing with a product purchase. And reviews, to us, are extremely important. And it’s also important that they’re candid and that they’re real. And so, our reviews can be seen on our website under particular products. For any product that has a review, you can go to that page and scroll down a little bit on the product page, and you’ll see the review tab along with some other tabs, but you can check out the reviews that people have written. But we also have reviews on our Google pages. And there’s one page for each store. So, there are there’s reviews about that particular store, for better or for worse. We can’t say who’s going to be leaving a review or not. And sometimes the reviews are a little unfavorable. I had one a few years back at my Utah store, and it was humbling because they observed something when we weren’t open one day, and they’d come down. And that was back when I used to do appointments only before we had a manager there.

 

[00:16:02]

We had some pallets in front of the store to be picked up by people who recycle the pallets, we had a new chair that had just been dropped off, and all the lights were off. And this guy wrote a scathing review. And it hurt me because it was true. That’s why it hurt; it was true. And so, we made changes. That’s when I started looking for a manager. That’s when we started putting our pallets out back and having people pick them up out back. That’s when we had a staff member who could bring the chairs in when they were delivered if we weren’t there. So, anyway, a review can do a lot of good for a business, even if it’s not a positive review. If you have a product or a business that has all five out of five reviews, the best chair on the market, the best everything, this, that, and the other, or they might have a four out of five review. And I talked about this before, and I noticed some of the reviews would change a bit on some of these companies.

 

[00:17:00]

But if you have a four out of five review saying, “Oh, the chair is fantastic. It’s amazing. The delivery was a day late, and so that’s why we gave them a four out of five.” But those are not real reviews. Those are what we call manipulated reviews. There’s an app called … Oh my goodness. What’s it called? Oh, my goodness. Oh, heavens. I just reviewed it yesterday. But anyway, it’s an app that you can put onto your computer or your phone, and you can look up a website that has reviews, and it will tell you how the review is graded. It’s called Fakespot. That’s what the name of the app is, Fakespot, because it’s designed to weed out fake reviews. And they will give a website or a product a grade based on the reviews, a grade of the reviews for that product. So, you might go look up something on Amazon or Yelp or go on to a particular website, like even my own website, and you can look up reviews, and it will tell you if the reviews … Or give you give the reviews a grade.

 

[00:18:11]

So, it might be F, it might be A, it might be BCD. But you might be surprised to see how poor some of those reviews are ranked, which means that they’re either paid reviews, hired or manipulated reviews where somebody from the company might add the review, or a review might be added, and someone will go in and manipulate it. If it’s not a good review, they’ll manipulate it to sound better. I remember one customer of ours from Central California who bought a chair online from a company, and oh my heavens, she was not happy with the way the order was going. She went to cancel her order. She put down a $100 deposit. She went to cancel her order, and they would not refund her $100.

 

[00:19:03]

Because it never said it was non-refundable, they said it was a refundable 100, and she put it down. So, she came looking at our Southern California store to look at chairs, and she found a chair she loved. And she went on to, I believe it was Yelp and left a review. And the review was scathing of the other company because she just thought that the way they handled her and treated her was bad. It was bad. And there were some other extenuating circumstances, but I can’t remember them all. But that company reached out to her to get her to change her review, and they would give her a free chair. And she said no. And then, they tried to do something else. But then, after the second attempt didn’t work, they tried bullying her by saying that they knew her name, and they knew where she lived. It was horrible.

 

[00:20:02]

But she was a very stubborn gal, and she couldn’t have cared less what they threatened her with. But it was bad. The whole thing was bad. Finally, she got her $100 back because they realized she wasn’t going to remove the review. Well, do you know what they did next? They went to Yelp and told Yelp that it was a fake review. And so, Yelp marginalized … Or maybe not marginalized, but qualified that review as a questionable review. Now, if that’s not a manipulated review. And that was a good review, and it was manipulated by the company that sold her the original chair that she got the money back from, who probably threatened Yelp that if you don’t, we’re going to stop paying you whatever we pay you every, every month for search features or whatever unless you do something about this review. And it was an honest review.

 

[00:20:59]

And so, the customer reached out to Yelp and said, “This review is true. This is my honest review.” But the damage had already been done on her review. So, needless to say, some of these companies are really sketchy. And this company that did this is online and advertised. You see them everywhere. They’re advertised everywhere. They don’t typically sell their chairs through retailers at all. They just do their own marketing direct to consumer. And they’re a name that you would probably know. I won’t mention the name because I don’t want to speak ill of other dealers. But it was bad. It was ugly. And I could not believe the extent they went, rather than just changing their policy and saying, I’m sorry about the $100 non-refundable thing or refundable thing, here’s your $100. And I think they eventually did give her a $100 back. But it was like, just change your bloody policy and take the review for what it’s worth. It’s an opportunity for you to improve your business model. But they were not interested in that. They were interested in getting only good reviews.

 

[00:22:02]

And by the way, if you see any chair and all the reviews on that chair are only five out of five, not just about the company, but just the chair, that is a red flag. Because no chair, I don’t care if it’s made out of gold and built by Zeus; the bloody chair is not going to work for every person that sits in it. It just doesn’t. I know this because we’ve sold the world’s best chairs. We’ve sold in the world the best chairs that are out there. And one chair does not make everybody happy. That is the truth. It’s like one car; you might drive a Rolls-Royce, for heaven’s sake, or go try out a Rolls-Royce and go, “You know what? Doggone it, I like my Camry better. It just seemed to ride smoother.” So, no one chair fits every bill.

 

[00:23:01]

So, if you see a chair that’s got tons of reviews and no one makes any kind of comment like, you know what, it was okay, but it was a little too strong, or it was a little too soft, or it was too whatever. If you don’t see that, then that’s a red flag. Be careful. Be very careful because there may be manipulated reviews. And this is a real thing. And one other thing to consider. One of the places that should be a safe place to go to get reviews is a Better Business Bureau. I’m registered with Better Business Bureau, so people can go to Better Business Bureau and write a good review or a bad review. But most people don’t go to the Better Business Bureau for a good review. They’re going there as a last-ditch effort to get some help for their chair that’s not getting serviced, or where the warranty wasn’t honored, or they wouldn’t pick up the phone, or they wouldn’t return the calls. That’s what Better Business Bureau is used for.

[00:24:03]

And some companies have become clever. For example, let’s say you’ve got a chair called XYZ chair model, and it’s sold by Bob’s Massage Chairs, and you’re having trouble with your XYZ model, and Bob’s not responding. And so, you go online to file a complaint with the Better Business Bureau, but you can’t find Bob’s business on Better Business Bureau. And some companies, what they’ve done is they’ve said this is our doing business as company, but our real company is ABC company. But nobody knows that they’re affiliated, so you can’t go online and leave a review on a company that the Better Business Bureau doesn’t see or doesn’t recognize. So, even Better Business Bureau can be a little bit …

 

[00:25:06]

Better Business Bureau in and of themselves are not bad, but there are people manipulating Better Business Bureau to make sure that they don’t get bad reviews. And that’s something that we’ve seen. So, transparency is a big deal. Reviews are supposed to make things transparent. But now, some companies are manipulating those reviews, which is making companies and products and what goes on not transparent. And so, we don’t delete our bad reviews; we actually respond to them. And hopefully, if it’s a legitimate review … Sometimes people are just pissed off because one of my managers looked at him funny, or who knows what. I’m just making stuff up. But they want to leave a bad review. Well, then, what do you do about that? You can only do so much if someone can’t stand you for who you are.

 

[00:26:00]

I get people making comments on my YouTube videos saying, “Geez! Why are you always twitching? Have you got Tourette’s?” One guy thought I was doing coke because I twitched a lot. But that has nothing to do. It’s a genetic thing. I can’t, really … That’s not something I have a tremendous amount of control over, even though I do have some control over it. But I just laugh and whatever. I can’t help if someone doesn’t like that about me because that’s who I am. But if it’s about a chair or a company, those reviews need to be legitimate, they need to be real, and they cannot be manipulated. Because now what you’re doing is messing with the buyer. You’re messing with the goose that lays the golden egg, so to speak. And you can’t do that if you want to have happy customers and you want to sell. Make sure that you’re honest and upfront. You can’t do stuff like that. And so anyway, again, I’m on my soapbox today. I haven’t done that in a while, but I apologize if I’ve gone on too long. But I hope you appreciate what I’m saying and realize how important that is.

 

[00:27:10]

So, watch out for the reviews. What I’ve done, though, unintentionally, is maybe I’ve put doubt in your mind like, “Geez, can I believe any review?” Well, most reviews are probably straight up for most of the online retailers. But sometimes, the direct-to-consumer people, they sell their product directly to the consumer, and they don’t want anything negative about their product spoken about. So sometimes you might see some way too many, like 100% positive reviews. That’s not good. So, anyway, that’s just from our experience of doing this for 19 years. So, take it from us or take it from me because I’ve seen all this garbage, and you got to be really careful out there.

 

[00:27:58]

Anyway, I’m Dr. Alan Weidner from Massage Chair Relief. I hope you found this video helpful. If you did, please feel free to thumbs up like us on our YouTube channel. And, of course, help us spread the word about massage chairs by sharing this video or any of our videos with your friends and family on your various and sundry social media platforms. Hope you have a great day, and we’ll see you again in two weeks. Bye-bye!

 

 


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