Transcript of Video Titled "Massage Chair Industry Update - October 12, 2021"
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Alan: Hello, I'm Dr. Alan Weidner from 'Massage-Chair-Relief.com' and today is our biweekly massage chair industry update for Tuesday, October 12th, 2021. Thanks so much for visiting with me today.
[SCREEN TEXT: Current Massage Chair Sales]
Alan: There's a few sales, you know, I don’t remember all the sales all the time, but every month there seems to be a different sale. We're getting close to Black Friday/Cyber Monday, which is when we see quite a bit of either discounting of chairs or add-ons to chairs, like extended warranties or free White Glove delivery, or free gifts. Right now, we see Ogawa has $2000 off on their Master Drive AI. Osaki has a two-year extended warranty with their Admiral and their Osaki First Class models. Furniture for Life is offering a flight voucher, so you get a gift card from either Southwest, Delta, or United, I believe, those airlines. You get a choice of, depending on the chair you buy, a $350 or a $750-gift card. I've never seen anything like that before either. Furniture for Life has really been toying with the bonus angle this year, and it's been kind of cool. They’ve had, in the past, this year, they’ve had Omaha Steaks, and they’ve had, now they're offering the flights, or flight cards, or gift cards for the airlines, and they’ve offered the Varier ergonomic chair. So, and they're trying some different things, which I think is kind of fun, and they’ve been, you know, fairly well received. Also, from the family of Infinity, their, let's see, it's the Genki is on, the Kyota Genki is on for $2499, and the Kyota Yosei is on sale for $4999 for the month of October. And all these sales, by the way, are for the month of October, and I'm just trying to remember if we've got any other ones, but that’s about it right now.
[SCREEN TEXT: Luraco i9 Floor Models Arriving in Late October]
Alan: As I mentioned on my last industry update, this was following my trip to Texas, to Luraco's main headquarters, and to experience the i9, and those chairs, we have our floor models ordered, and I believe that the first, the Arizona and the California store floor models will be shipping out around the 15th, so hopefully later this week, and then I believe our Utah one will be shipping out a week or so after that. So, and needless to say, we're excited about getting the i9 in stock. Well, not necessarily in stock, but we have it in our showrooms. Apparently, Luraco is going through an A, B, C kind of process of launching the chairs. First, they're sending them out to their distributors, so that they can have, people can have a chance to sit on them, then they're going to send it out to customers that preordered, and apparently there's quite a number of preorders. So, when you order the chair, it'll be a while before yours is built, and as you may or may not know, they build the chairs in Dallas, in Arlington, actually just outside of Dallas, and so, the chairs are not shipped from another country. The vast majority of the components are made right there in Arlington, and some are outsourced to other companies in America, which led to its claim that their chairs are made in America. Anyway, all the assembly, and the testing, and the programming is done in Arlington before the chair ships out, and they’ve always done that with their chairs, even when they had a higher percentage of their components from Taiwan, all the American and Taiwanese components would be inventoried in Arlington, and then the chair would be assembled, and tested, and programmed at the time of the order. So, it usually would take 24 to 48 hours for the chair to be ready and shipped out. Well, they're back-ordered now, of course, because it's a brand new chair, and it's got some buzz about it, and it's going to be a very good-selling chair, a top-selling chair, and that, and so they’ve got preorders, and they’ve got orders by distributors, so needless to say, they’ve got to catch up because it's not a huge assembly line, where they just pump these chairs out, hundreds a day. They are built individually as the day goes on, or as each order comes in. So, anyway, we are expecting to have the i9 in at least a couple of our showrooms by the end of October, the third or fourth week of October.
[SCREEN TEXT: Luraco i9 Article Describing New Features on our Blog]
Alan: I wrote an article, by the way, I kind of, after my visit I, you know, I went on my visit and I took lots of notes, and I had video footage, as you may or may not have seen on our YouTube channel, but I put all those notes together in an article going over the features of the chair, and what I, kind of what I saw when I was there experiencing the chairs, or the chair, and so you can read that article if you want to get an update on what's going on, or what this new chair is all about, and it's hard to describe in words how the chair feels when you sit in it, but it's different for every person, right? So, you can have a chair that will be perfect for one person and not perfect for another. I remember many years ago I wrote a blog post called 'What is the Ultimate Massage Chair?' and I, so in my mind's eye, I had an idea of what the ultimate massage chair should have, and I asked for feedback from some customers, and it was interesting. Some things that are important to me are not important to others, and some things that are important to others were not important to me, and so thus it's hard to find the perfect, ultimate massage chair. It is, it's not hard to find a great massage chair that checks off most of your boxes, that’s how most people buy these chairs nowadays, but there's no perfect chair, per se. Well, it may be perfect for you, but on the whole, it's not perfect for everybody, but anyway, the i9 will be a popular-selling chair. The things that really stand out in my mind about it are the sliding doors, the armrests that are like sliding doors, the leather upholstery, which is beautiful, and that’s the standard, that’s their standard upholstery is leather. The arm rollers are very strong, and very, they cover a lot of area on the forearm, and the hand, and wrist, and it can handle someone who's 6' 10". That's incredible, we've never seen a chair that can handle someone that tall. So, those are the kinds of things that really appeal to me. Of course, it has all the standard stuff, like, oh, whoa, well, duh, I forgot to mention it has the split track, so you can flatten the chair out and get a better stretch than a regular L-track, and but you know, it's got foot rollers, calf rollers, it's got body scan, you know, a very intuitive, easy-to-use remote control. It's got all the other, you know, heat. It's got all the other things you'd want, lots of airbags, etcetera, etcetera, but those features I mentioned at the beginning are the things that are, really kind of make this chair unique, so I think it'll be fun, and I think people will enjoy sitting in it, and we'll see how, we'll see how this chair fares, and I suspect it will fare very well.
[SCREEN TEXT: New Massage Chair Relief Showroom in the Bay Area - Update]
Alan: OK, also, I mentioned by accident on my last massage chair industry update that we were opening a new store in the Bay Area, and that store, we've had a heck of a time getting the lease done, and hopefully, we'll be able to finalize it this week, and I think I've been saying that for like the last 10 weeks, but we are, we've got everything else in place. We have a tech there, we have a delivery team there, we have, and we're narrowing down our employee search to a couple of wonderful applicants. And so, things are coming together for the store, but again, it's still not even officially, we don’t have the official address yet, and the company is kind of, or not the company, the store is kind of still, we're still working out the details of the actual lease, and the space. But hopefully, you know, and I hate to say this, because it's like I jinx myself, hopefully, in the next one, we'll have all that data.
[SCREEN TEXT: Things to Seriously Consider When Purchasing a Massage Chair]
Alan: OK, now, one thing I just want to talk about a little bit, and I've talked about this before, there are so many things that go in to the delivery of a chair, or I should say, the purchase of a chair, you have to get, first of all, you have to find the chair you want to buy, OK? So, you got to find a chair to purchase, and when you get the chair that you want, at the price that you want, then you have to worry about whether there's inventory, like is the chair in stock? And right now, with COVID, backups on the port of Long Beach, and I've gone in to this ad nauseum over the last year and a half, then you got to worry about making sure the chair is in stock, and then once it's in stock, then you got to worry about getting the chair delivered in a timely fashion, and some companies are saying it could up to six weeks for a White Glove in-home delivery and set up. Then, you have to be, and I would encourage you to do this before you buy the chair, that you do this is, make sure you understand what the return policy is, of the company that you're buying your chair from, make sure you understand what the warranty is, for the massage chair company that is distributing the chair, through your retailer. Make sure you spend some time understanding, and try to do searches for the, you know, Better Business Bureau reviews, or online reviews about the customer support of that company, what their reputation is for taking care of their customers and making sure they honor their warranty. Find out how the companies handle, and you know, this is something, and this is, you know, this might be a tough thing to really find out, but one thing that I've experienced in this industry is sometimes, well, we've all experienced it, but chairs get discontinued, models get discontinued, but we don’t always know when they are going to be discontinued, so you could buy a chair today, and in a month from now, the chair's been discontinued, and if you have problems two or three years down the road, it might be tough to get parts, and you might be out of luck, so to speak. So, find out if they have a plan, and I think this is a great question to ask, and I don’t think anybody has ever really asked me this, even though they do ask about parts availability, but you might want to ask a massage chair retailer, or you know, whatever company you talk to, what does that company do if their chair is discontinued, even, you know, even before the warranty is expired, and that discontinued chair does not have parts any more, you can't get parts for it anymore, what does that massage, what's the backup plan for that massage chair company, what is their strategy for taking care of their customers if a chair is unfixable, if you will, before the warranty is over, or for any time thereafter. And some companies have plans in place, so they will either give you a significant discount on another chair, another model. They will either replace that model with something extremely close to it. Some, and this is where it gets a little, they say 'Well, we can still order parts from the factory for that chair, but it'll take 6 to 12 months,' and I have personally seen that. I've got a chair in my back of my showroom that a customer needed fixed, and they were moving out of their house, so we took the chair, and we said we'll just call you when the part comes in. Well, we called the massage chair company, said when can we get a part for this chair, that chair, that version, that iteration of the chair had been discontinued, and they told us 6 to 12 months. Well, I've had that chair in the back office for two and half years, and they still have no parts for it. So, when they say they’ll order parts from China, and it'll take 6 to 12 months, that might just be a stall tactic so you'll forget about it, but it's kind of hard to forget about a 350-pound white elephant, or white elephant, elephant sitting in the middle of your room. White elephant, that's a Christmas thing, sorry, but you're going to be stuck with this, you're stuck with this behemoth, albatross, elephant sitting in the middle of your room, and that doesn’t work, and it will forever be a reminder of what feels like a waste of money. So, anyway, I'm going off a little bit on this, and I don’t mean to, but I have seen this over time, that some companies will not have inventory to take care of the chair after the chair has been discontinued, no matter how, regardless of whether you're out of warranty, or in the warranty still, there's no, it's tough. And so, I think every retailer, like myself, should also have a plan in place for when your customer, because they're ultimately your customers, even though they're buying Brand X, Y, Z, they are buying it from you, or you're buying it from us, I should say. So, we should have a plan in place when something like that happens, and sometimes the plan is fluid, you don’t really know how you're going to handle it when, until the situation arises, or what the situation is, but we try very, very hard in our business to make sure our customers are happy, and we make sure that they're taken care of. And that leads me to the, I think we already touched on this, but make sure you understand what the return policy is, we'll talk about that a little bit. When you buy a chair, and you decide that, and first of all, you don’t even know if you're going to like the chair, so you want to know what the return policy is, so read the fine print about their return policy. Do you have to pay for the return shipping? Is it a seven-day return policy? Is it a one-month policy? Is it a 60 day, a 90-day return policy? Is the policy, is the length of the return based on when the chair ships, from the time of your purchase, from the time it's delivered, from the time you called them, or the time that the chair actually is coming back to the retailer? These are things you need to know, because I had an experience just this last month, a fellow bought a chair, and it was affecting his sugar, his blood sugar, and he's diabetic, and he realized that when he sat in this chair, it was uncomfortable for his legs, or something like that, I can't remember exactly the details, but he called me like the week before the 90 days was up. We have a 90-day return policy, and so he, there was no way that chair was going to get to us on time. So, you know, make sure you know what the policy is, if you cannot get the chair back within the 7, 14, 30, 60, 90 days, whatever the return policy is, and make sure you know what you're paying for. Do you have to pay for the return shipping, do you pay a restocking fee? Some companies will advertise free returns. Well, what does free returns mean? Does that mean they will pay for the return shipping, but they back-bill you for the original shipping? A free return, well, maybe it is a free return, but do you pay a restocking fee? These are things you need to be aware of, and I would exhort you, as someone in the industry that’s been here long enough and has a vested interest in your contentment with a massage chair, make sure you understand those things. Those are things that people do not think about. The vast majority of people don’t think about these things. Oh, and if you get a new massage chair, keep the bloody box. Don’t toss away the box unless you know, unless you're past the return period, and you can't return it, or you might want to, you know, ship it somewhere, if you're moving, or you might want to return it. Keep the boxes, and pack, because you're going to have to package it up the way the chair came. If not, some companies will not accept your return. Some will charge you a significant cost of shipment because, the cost of shipping a chair without a box, and the risk of damage to a chair without a box that’s being shipped, is high. So, and you're going to bear that burden if you're not careful, so make sure that you understand what you're responsible for, what the company is going to do for you, oh, and putting the chair in the box, you know, it's not easy, a 350-pound chair, taking it apart and putting it in the box the way it came, and strapping up the box, and getting it ready for shipping, you may not be able to do that on your own, you might have to hire a company, a local furniture moving company, or you know, we can give you some leads as well. But you're going to, you know, you’ve got to consider that, you’ve got to think about that, and if you can't restock that chair, or repack that chair yourself, who's going to do it for you, and you're going to be paying for that, so just be aware of these little tiny things that most people don’t ever think about, and I never thought about them either until I, and you know what? Some of these things I tell you I didn't think about for a few years after I started my business because these situations arise, and when they arise, it's like 'Oh my gosh, I don't know, I've never experienced this before.' I had an experience like that this morning with a company that, well, I won't go in to it, but the way they were handling a customer, I'd never experienced that before, and I didn’t quite know what to do, so now we come up with a new policy on what we do in that situation, and that will become policy in the future. So, there's stuff that even we're still learning, and we're the retailers. We're supposed to know all the answers, and we don’t. As a matter of fact, I had a guy, well, I could go on and on, and you know me, I can talk just way too much. But anyway, having said all that, I just wanted to make sure that you're aware that there are things you need to be aware of when you're buying a chair and when you're looking for a chair, as we don’t want you to have a bitter experience. We don’t want you to be angry at us, we don’t want you to be angry at the distributor, we don’t want you to be, we want you to, we don’t want you to feel like you're not being taken care of, that nobody really cares, they just, we got your money, and you know, good luck, you're on your own. We don’t want you to feel that way, and I think I speak for most retailers when I say that. We just want, we want our customers to be happy. So, anyway, alright, enough of that.
[SCREEN TEXT: Make-A-Wish Foundation Update - Thank You!!]
Alan: Finally, the last thing I just want to talk about is our Make-A-Wish, now, for those of you that don’t know that a portion of every chair that we sell on Massage Chair Relief gets donated to the Make-A-Wish Foundation. I'm a huge Make-A-Wish Foundation guy, I love the Make-A-Wish Foundation, and it all started when I was a chiropractor, and we were approached about doing a fundraiser for a Wish child, and I thought 'Oh OK, what the heck, we'll do that, and so we gave a portion of every massage chair, or sorry, massage chair, a portion of every chiropractic treatment, to the Make-A-Wish Foundation. And I went down to the Make-A-Wish Foundation building here in Salt Lake City, it's in the town of Murray, which is part of the Salt Lake valley, and I went in for a tour, and by, I was only there 10 minutes, reading stories of the wall, waiting for the lady to come out and give me the tour, and I was balling like a baby. When she came out, and said hello, I'm, I think her name was Vicki, I couldn’t even talk, I was blubbering like an idiot because I was so moved by these stories of these Wish children, and for those of you who don’t know, the Make-A-Wish Foundation is set up to provide, to grant wishes to children with, not always terminal illnesses, but debilitating, life-altering illnesses, and you know, you’ve, I don't know, you’ve probably heard of the Make-A-Wish Foundation. But anyway, when I started my massage chair business, we you know, not long after starting it, I began a fundraiser for the Make-A-Wish Foundation, and our goal was $100,000, and just this last, I think about two weeks ago, we passed $84,000. And you can go on the Make-A-Wish Foundation page, and look, or just on Google, 'Alan Weidner,' it's under my personal name because we can't do a corporate fundraiser unless we donate $250,000 a year, and we're not there yet, but it's until my name via the vehicle of my business, and you can search you know, 'Alan Weidner massage chair, or Make-A-Wish Foundation,' and our page should come up. You can always access the page, it's on every single product page on my website, you'll see the Make-A-Wish logo. So, anyway, why I'm telling you this is, I just want to, I want to thank those of you who have purchased chairs from me, and indirectly, donated to the Make-A-Wish Foundation. I love the Make-A-Wish Foundation. I have six children, I have six grandchildren, and I've got one child who's a Type 1 diabetic, and I've got another child who recently has been diagnosed with an autoimmune disease. So, I have a real tender, tender spot in my heart for children, and so thank you for purchasing from us, and trusting your purchase with our company, and I want you to know that a portion of your purchase price is going toward this Make-A-Wish Foundation, a very worthy foundation, but that’s me, and I'm biased, and I really love the kids.
[SCREEN TEXT: Please "Thumbs Up" Like This Video!!]
Alan: So, anyway, alright, I guess that’s about it for 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 massage chairs by sharing this video, or any of our videos, with your friends and family, you know, through your various and sundry social media platforms.
[SCREEN TEXT: 888-259-5380]
Alan: And of course, if you have any questions, feel free to reach out to us any time. Our number is 888-259-5380, or you can go online and chat through our chat feature, you can leave comments on our YouTube channel, on a video, or our Facebook page, or Twitter, whatnot. We just are always here to answer your questions, and help you with making decisions about massage chairs, or take care of you if you have a problem with your massage chair. Anyway, I'm Dr. Alan Weidner, and we will see you again in two weeks. Bye bye.
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