Shawn Nelson, LoveSac

From Bean Bags To Billions: LoveSac’s Innovative DTC Success

What started as a college side hustle is now one of the world’s most recognizable furniture companies, with nearly a billion dollars in sales.

What’s the reason for LoveSac’s incredible success? Differentiating not just on innovation, but on customer experience.

LoveSac founder and CEO Shawn Nelson isn’t afraid to adapt and try new ideas to meet customers’ changing demands. LoveSac originally grew by opening retail stores across the country. But as buying habits changed, the company converted its stores to inventory-free showrooms and became a completely DTC brand.

Instead of just marketing products or trying to convert customers, Nelson encourages his team to meet and exceed customer expectations. Being flexible with the business model and looking ahead with a willingness to make huge pivots has led to LoveSac’s success.

Furniture is a challenging industry, especially when everything is shipped directly to customers. Customers have come to expect they will have to wait for new furniture to arrive. So LoveSac thought it had a huge competitive advantage because it could ship its products and have them on customers’ doorsteps within two days like Amazon.

But with research and customer feedback, Nelson soon realized that customers didn’t care about the speed of the delivery as much as they cared about the ability to choose their time and date. Customers often weren’t ready for a new, large piece of furniture to arrive at their house so quickly. Nelson says it’s crucial for companies to understand where the customer meets the expectation of that particular category. What matters to customers for purchases in one area may not be the same when they purchase different items.

Understanding customers doesn’t end after they’ve made a purchase. Even as LoveSac grew and volume increased, the goal was to continually drive customer satisfaction. The company has institutionalized mechanisms to gather feedback through surveys, research, focus groups, and social media. Nelson shares his personal life on Instagram, which opens the doors for customers to contact him with feedback and concerns.  

Customer-centricity is fundamental to LoveSac. With “love” in the name, even contact center agents are members of the Customer Love department. Customers are loyal because they feel valued. The company wants them to stick around not to make more money but to add value to their lives. One example comes from LoveSac’s new Stealth Tech, which integrates immersive surround sound into the couch. But instead of requiring customers to purchase brand new couches to use the technology, LoveSac made it possible to add Stealth Tech to existing sectionals, even those over 15 years old. That type of innovation and customer-centricity is what allows LoveSac to shine.

In the competitive DTC world, staying plugged into customers is critical. Even the most innovative product doesn’t matter if a company isn’t customer-centric. 

This episode is sponsored by Calendly. See how Calendly can help your team drive adoption and increase retention and growth at


Blake Morgan is a customer experience futurist and the bestselling author of The Customer of the FutureFor regular updates on customer experience, sign up for her weekly newsletter here

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