Amazon is coming after Ikea with its first furniture brands — and it's one-upping the competition in one major way

  • Amazon has launched two new furniture brands: Rivet and Stone & Beam.
  • Rivet is a midcentury modern-inspired brand, and Stone & Beam is focused on family-friendly comfort and durability.
  • Both brands ship for free.

Amazon is inviting its customers to take a load off — preferably on a sofa from one of its new furniture brands.

The retailer is launching two new furniture brands. Rivet is a midcentury modern-inspired brand with a focus on urban, small-space solutions and high style. Stone & Beam is much more tailored to the "modern family" with comfort and durability in mind.

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Both brands sells sofas, accent furniture, chairs, rugs, lamps, and decor.

Stone & Beam's prices are generally higher than Rivet's prices.

These are Amazon's first home furnishing brands, though it also sells things like office chairs through its AmazonBasics brand.

7 shock-worthy facts about Amazon:

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7.5 percent of Seattle's working-age population are Amazon employees

Amazon has more than 300,000 employees worldwide, and 40,000 in Seattle alone.

As a portion of the city's working-age population — roughly 528,000 — that comes out to 7.5% of the city working at Amazon.

For perspective, if the same portion of New York City's adults worked for one company, that company would have about 488,000 locals on staff.

Amazon accounts for 43% of all online sales

Amazon used to be a way to buy books online; today, it's the default buying site for just about everything, especially for people who have Amazon Prime.

An analysis by Slice Intelligence released in February found that 43% of all US online retail sales were done through Amazon in 2016.

That's up from 33% in 2015 and 25% in 2012.

1 out of every 4 US adults has Amazon Prime.

Speaking of Amazon Prime, the company now counts approximately 63 million people among its subscriber base, or about 25% of the total US adult population.

That number may underestimate the true coverage, however, since it doesn't account for multiple adults in one household all sharing the same Prime account.

Amazon ships 1.6 million packages a day

Amazon fulfillment is a beast of its own.

A report from 2013 (the latest year for which data are available) found Amazon shipped 608 million packages that year, or 1.6 million packages a day.

As of 2015, Amazon estimated its fulfillment centers were within 20 miles of 31% of the US population, and within 20 miles of 50-65% of its core, same-day-accessible market.

That's enough cardboard to span all of West Virginia

A back-of-the-envelope calculation reveals all those packages (not including padded envelopes) yield roughly 26,400 square miles of cardboard.

The total land area of West Virginia, meanwhile, is just north of 24,000 square miles.

Given the speed of Amazon's shipments, the company could blanket the whole US in cardboard in about five months.

45,000 robots roam the floors of Amazon's warehouses

To help those shipments leave the warehouses on time, Amazon relies on a growing fleet of autonomous robots that fetch packages from their shelves and bring them to human employees.

The 45,000 robots live across 20 fulfillment centers in the US. In 2016, the company increased the fleet 50% from its prior head count of 30,000.

Amazon is more valuable than all major brick-and-mortar retailers combined

The sum total of those investments in infrastructure and supply chain management have made Amazon by far the most valuable retailer in the United States.

Amazon's $356 billion valuation is so big, it's larger than Wal-Mart, Target, Best Buy, Macy's, Kohl's, JCPenney, and Sears combined.

With the recent acquisition of Whole Foods, there are no signs the retailer has any plans of slowing down.

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Both new brands offer 30-day returns. Rivet offers a one-year warranty, while Stone & Beam comes with a three-year warranty.

Both brands are also offering free shipping. Smaller items, like decor or furniture with some assembly required, are shipped like normal Amazon packages. 

Larger items like couches offer scheduled deliveries, and a signature is required.

Notably, the furniture does not require an Amazon Prime membership to purchase, unlike some of Amazon's clothing brands. Prime membership is also not required for free shipping.

Shipping and delivery is often considered a pain point for furniture shopping. Ikea, one of the most popular furniture sellers worldwide, rarely offers free shipping, and it charges an expensive delivery fee of $50.

Ikea also doesn't sell many of its items online, requiring a trip to the store. Much of Amazon's furniture is made from solid wood and does not need to be put together like Ikea's flat packs.

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SEE ALSO: Amazon has been quietly launching sportswear brands all year

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