Massage Chair Industry Update – 3/6/2024

March 16, 2024
 By Dr. Alan Weidner
March 16, 2024
 By Dr. Alan Weidner

Massage Chair Industry Update – 3/6/2024

Hi, I’m Dr. Alan Weidner from Massage Chair Relief, and today is our bi-weekly Massage Chair Industry update for Wednesday, March 6th, 2024. Thank you so much for joining me. I have some good stuff to cover today. I mentioned to you a few episodes back that I had run into some competitors, some other retailers of massage chairs at the Furniture Market in Las Vegas. One of them, in particular, had critiqued my lifetime labor warranty at the time by saying that our condition was we only allowed two visits from a technician per incident of a chair problem or a chair repair.

 

[00:01:04]

And sometimes, my competitors will try to negate or belittle my lifetime labor warranty. And that’s okay. You have to find a competitive advantage somehow. And so, going after the competitor’s policies, warranties and whatnot is one way to do that. But anyway, that got me thinking, and I think I mentioned this, that when I got back home to Utah from Las Vegas, and after thinking about it the whole time I was there, I made some changes to the lifetime labor warranty where I took away the limit of visits per incident. And so, if it takes two, three, or four visits to fix your chair, we will cover that.

 

[00:01:55]

And then, we also just made another recent change to the lifetime labor warranty. If you live further away than 25 miles from a technician, we are charged a dollar a mile as a travel surcharge. And we typically have passed that on to the customer. But we have changed that as well. If you live further away than 25 miles, and there are not many that do. Most of them live within 30 miles of a technician. But for those of you who don’t, we will still be charged a dollar a mile, but Massage Chair Relief will now cover up to $75 of that travel surcharge.

 

[00:02:36]

We just had a customer in New York, I think that was a $99 for their travel surcharge. And we cover $75, so they ended up paying $24 for the balance of the travel surcharge. Plus, they get the service call free, which is anywhere from $250 to $350. So, I just wanted to make mention of that update of our lifetime labor warranty. And I find it interesting that we’re the only company that offers anything like this. So, for a competitor to pick apart our lifetime labor warranty as a form of competitive advantage, I found it funny only because they don’t offer anything after the factory warranty is over.

 

[00:03:19]

Our lifetime labor warranty kicks in after the factory warranty expires. And for labor, that can be anywhere from one year up to five years of labor, and then you’re on your own, and you’ve got to pay for all the service calls on your own. Well, we at least have a lifetime labor warranty. And I have improved it, so I thank my competitors for highlighting a couple of things that they found as flaws in my lifetime labor warranty, when they, of course, had no after-warranty support in terms of warranty support at all. But anyway, because of that, I have tweaked the lifetime labor warranty, so it’s even better now.

 

[00:03:57]

So, whatever issues they had with my lifetime labor warranty… And I don’t know why a competitor would have an issue with my lifetime warranty. It would be the customer that would maybe have an issue. But because of that, and because of the feedback from my competitors, we have tweaked our policy and it is even better now than it ever was before. So, just to let you know, when you buy a chair from us, you are covered by a lifetime labor warranty for as long as you own the chair. And, of course, as long as, parts can be acquired from the massage chair company. And that is something out of our hands. But that is a factor.

 

[00:04:31]

Speaking of warranties, I want to talk a little bit about the Luraco leather warranty. Now, Luraco’s chairs come with genuine leather. The leather is made in a factory that makes upholstery for automobiles. So, it’s a durable leather. It’s not really soft and supple like some couches would be, but they’re built for durability. And so, it’s a little stiffer, but it’s still very, very comfortable. If you’ve ever sat in any of the Luraco i9 chairs, very, very comfortable chairs. But that chair comes with a ten-year warranty. And the reason I’m bringing this up is that we recently had a customer who had a problem with their upholstery. It was starting to shred and peel a bit.

 

[00:05:20]

And that does happen from time to time with the vinyl or the synthetic leather or Pu leather or whatever. There are all kinds of different names for it. It started to peel and crack and shred. The chair was only 3 or 4 years old. And the massage chair company said, “Well, upholstery is not covered under our warranty.” And so, I got to thinking about that. And I think a lot of companies, and I haven’t checked every warranty, but a lot of companies, if not all of them, do not cover upholstery issues if there’s a problem with the shredding or peeling of the upholstery. So, make sure you’re aware of that.

 

[00:06:04]

When you buy a chair, make sure you’re aware of what the company’s warranty is for their chairs. Usually, it’s 1- or 3-years labor, and 3- or 5-years parts. But will they provide parts? Is the upholstery covered under the parts section? That’s the real question. So anyway, I just wanted to accentuate that because we had an experience just last week where a customer was denied coverage because it was an upholstery problem, not a mechanical or electronic problem, which is what most warranties do cover. So, that was something that I hadn’t really thought much about. Anyway, be aware of that.

 

[00:06:42]

And so, that’s why I thought the ten-year leather warranty was … It stuck out in my mind after I had this experience with this other customer because you know exactly how long their upholstery is covered for because that’s a separate portion of their warranty. And that might be something that some of the other distributors might consider doing is maybe rethinking or considering covering upholstery, especially if it’s a floor. I get that if it’s cut by dogs or cats or a knife or whatever, that’s not covered. But if it’s just a natural, fraying of the material.

 

[00:07:21]

And I’m telling you, if you use the chair a lot, it doesn’t mean that your synthetic leather or your upholstery is going to fray and peel and crack, but it happens on all chairs at one point or another. Sorry. Not all chairs, but all distributors have at least 1 or 2 of those chairs that it happens to. It’s the exception to the rule. But that is something that maybe the distributors need to think about is how much of their upholstery coverage, if any, is under the warranty. I also wanted to tell you, that we just had a new a new homepage banner put up on our website.

 

[00:08:04]

Most websites, when you go to them, have a banner that tells you all the sales and things that are going on, as do we. Well, we’ve changed the banner a little bit. We’ve reformatted it. So, two-thirds of it on the left is check out the latest sales, welcome to the website, etc., etc. But the right third, the other side, the one third that’s left we have dedicated to … It was primarily designed, and I’ve talked about this now for some time because we wanted to have this. We’ve been working on this for months. But we wanted to have our live stream, Massage Chair Relief live on our website so people can go to the website and watch it instead of going to YouTube, Facebook, or Twitter, which is where it’s also broadcast.

 

[00:08:46]

So, we found an app that works with our website that allows us to post our Massage Chair Relief live stream literally live on our website. Now, you can’t add comments or ask questions when it’s from the website. You can do that when you’re on the Facebook page or the YouTube channel. But, now you can go and watch it live. Just go to our website, which everybody who visits it knows what it is. It’s www.massage-chair-relief.com or massagechairrelief.com without the dashes. You can actually do either one and you’ll get to the same website. But now you can go there and watch our livestream, which is pretty cool.

 

[00:09:30]

Now, when we don’t have a live stream going on, we can put in a link to another video that we feel could benefit the customers when they come to our website if they want to watch and learn more things. So, the video that’s up right now is our last massage chair industry update. The last one of these, which was, I believe, February 21st. And that is up now for people to view when they’re on the website if they want to see what we talked about, what the latest industry news is or whatever, or what new models are coming out or what models are being discontinued. I usually talk about that stuff, like I do here on this industry update.

 

[00:10:17]

So, you might want to go to the website and take a look and see the new format. I really like it. When we book the live stream … And I’m going to talk about that in a moment. When we book the live stream, then it will come up as a space that says coming on such and such a date, the live stream. When we don’t have that scheduled, then we will put up other videos that people can watch when they come to the website. Now, speaking of live streams, I’m going to be going to Southern California on Monday to visit a number of my suppliers, but one in particular is SYNCA Wellness.

 

[00:10:59]

And Nicholas Beese is a fellow that I consider a friend in the industry, a wonderfully, knowledgeable individual about massage chairs, how they’re made, where they’re made, how much are made in what countries. He’s got an analytical mind that I really enjoy talking with because he’s full of information. Anyway, when we were at the Consumer Electronics Show, they had a Fujiiryoki booth. And Fujiiryoki is a brand name that’s been around for a while, but it’s been misrepresented here by the US distributor. And recently, Fujiiryoki took that name brand back, and now they’re coming out with their own line of chairs.

 

[00:11:38]

Three new chairs are coming out, and they’re all made in Japan. I don’t know the names of them. I haven’t seen pictures of them. Nicholas was keeping his cards pretty close to his chest at CES, but he did say come down at the end of February, the beginning of March, and we’ll take a look at it. And he’s going to be our next guest on our live stream. And I haven’t scheduled a date yet because I’ve got to go on Monday to take a look at what new models he has. I don’t know if he has all three, but I believe he has a couple of them. And so, I’m eager to go see what he’s got cooking.

 

[00:12:09]

And once I’ve done that and made-in-Japan I’ve been down there, then he and I will schedule the next live stream and you can join him. He’s really a wonderful resource in our industry. And you can ask him questions, you can make comments, and ask anything about the Made in Japan chairs. There are not many made-in-Japan chairs anymore. There are chairs that are claimed to be made in Japan, like the JPMedics Kumo, the JPMedics KaZe, and the OHCO M.8, but the construction is done in China, and then the parts are exported to Japan, where the assembly, the testing, and the programming goes on.

 

[00:12:45]

And the quality is still great because the testing is where the Japanese really excel. And testing is what is key to having a chair with a lower failure rate. But now, there are chairs that are actually made in Japan, like the JP 3000, and the JP 1100 from SYNCA, they are made in Japan. The new Koyo chair from Furniture for Life is made in Japan. So, we’re starting to see a renaissance, if you will, of chairs being built in the fountainhead of massage chairs, which is Japan. That is where the first massage chair was created or invented in Japan in the 50s. And since then, of course, massage chairs have spread around the world. But, most of the early pioneers of massage chairs were built in Japan, like Inada, Fuji, and Panasonic. Um,

 

[00:13:41]

Of course, a lot of the building of the chairs migrated to China because it was lower cost. And of course, the vast majority of components and chairs are built in China. But now we’re starting to see a bit of a renaissance. Luraco is an American-made chair. It doesn’t have any Chinese components at all. Now you’ve got these chairs that the majority of them are made in Japan now. And now, Fujiiryoki is going to come out with three of their own models. And so, we’re seeing a shift a little bit. Now, they’re going to be more expensive chairs because the cost of production is still less in China and some of the other Asian countries where some of the components were made,

 

[00:14:24]

But you’re going to see some interesting innovations I’m sure, and some neat products. So, I’m going to be going down there on Monday, hopefully seeing Nicholas I think either Monday afternoon or Tuesday afternoon, before I fly home.  I’m going to share with you what I learned. Whatever he permits me to share, I will. And then, of course, I will have him on our next livestream. And I’m really looking forward to that. And that way you can meet him and you can chit chat with him about what they’ve got coming out. And then, of course, that live stream will be broadcast on our new home page banner.

 

[00:14:58]

Now, lastly, I got a phone call yesterday from Human Touch®, letting me know that the new Human Touch® Super Novo X, which is their split track, which they had at CES, which I sat on. There’s a video of me on that. You can see it on our YouTube channel, and I believe also on my blog. You can see that chair and learn a little bit about it. It’s a good chair. It’s a really cool chair. It looks like the body design is still a pod design, like the regular Super Novo, but now the armrests come up like doors on whatever that car is (I don’t know what fancy car where it comes up) so you can get in and out of the chair easier.

 

[00:15:41]

Has a split track, so you’ve got upper rollers and lower rollers. And it also has interchangeable panels and back pads, which is interesting. So, now you can change the color of your chair. The bass is always going to be black, but you can change the color of your chair to a number of panel colors, which go on the side of the armrest, and a number of pad colors. So, if after a few years, you get bored of the look of your chair, or you’re changing the design or the colors of your living room, bedroom, den, movie room, or wherever it is that you’re putting your chair, you can change the look of the chair as well.

 

[00:16:18]

That’s kind of cool. We’ve never seen that before, so I’m excited to see how that’s perceived. And of course, logistically how it will in the sales environment, the retail environment. But anyway, that chair is going to be coming out at the end of this month or the very beginning of April. They’re quicker than I thought they’d be. I figured, well they say the end of this quarter, which is the end of March, of course. I thought, yeah, probably the second quarter. And that may still be the case, but as it is right now, it’s coming out at the end of March, the beginning of April. And we’re looking forward to getting that chair in our showrooms, and we’re looking forward to having you come and try them out.

 

[00:16:56]

So anyway, I guess that’s about it for the Massage Chair Industry update this week. 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 this video or any of our videos and massage chairs on your various and sundry social media platforms. Thank you so much for visiting and I will see you again in two weeks. Bye-bye.


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