10 Ideas to future-proof your Furniture eCommerce Business

Not too long ago, the idea of shopping for furniture online was far from plausible. Brands like IKEA, Pepperfy, Denkali,  Houzz, CB2, and numerous others have broken the generational curse of furniture eCommerce businesses not being able to sustain and thrive online. Once businesses saw the volume of sales a furniture eCommerce website brings in, it gave way to numerous other start-ups joining the bandwagon. 

The India online furniture and home decor market size was estimated at USD 25.18 billion in 2022 and is projected to grow at a CAGR of 4.08% reaching a value of USD 32.02 billion by 2029. Globally, the size of the furniture eCommerce market worldwide is forecast to reach about USD 41 billion by 2030.

So, how do you navigate your way through this intense competition? Here we bring you 10 fail-proof ideas and an eCommerce marketing strategy to stay ahead of the curve and emerge as a strong furniture eCommerce brand in the market.

Immersive furniture eCommerce

Customers want to be able to see and experience products in a way that is as close to offline shopping as possible. This is why augmented reality (AR) and virtual reality (VR) are becoming increasingly popular in the furniture and home decor industry. AR allows customers to see how furniture will look in their own homes, while VR allows them to virtually walk through a showroom and see furniture in different settings.

Immersive technologies are no longer add-ons, they are what customers demand today. A study by Statista found that 47% of consumers are willing to pay more for a product if they can experience it through virtual or augmented reality. The idea is to erase the barrier of a screen between the customer and the product and deliver an experience that is on par with offline shopping.

Example:

  • Wayfair: Wayfair is an American eCommerce home goods company that offers a VR experience called ‘Wayfair View’ that allows customers to walk through virtual showrooms and see furniture in different settings. The VR experience is available on both desktop and mobile devices.
  • Houzz: Leading platform for home remodelling and design Houzz offers a VR app called ‘Houzz Tour’ that lets customers virtually tour real homes and see how furniture is used in different settings. The VR app is available on both desktop and mobile devices.

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Upping the AI game for furniture eCommerce

AI has become an integral part of marketing and enhancing customer experience. The global market for AI in the furniture eCommerce industry is expected to reach $1.6 billion by 2028. This growth is driven by the increasing demand for personalized shopping experiences and the need for more efficient inventory management and fraud detection.

Additionally, AI helps further enhance the quality of customer experience when combined with AR and VR.  An AI-powered eCommerce platform provider like ewiz commerce can simplify and improve the efficiency of processes while simultaneously increasing customer lifetime value. 

Example:

  • Overstock: American furniture retailer Overstock uses AI to optimize pricing. The company uses data from its website and app to track the demand for different products. This information is then used, to set prices that are competitive and profitable.
  • Nectar: UK-based online furnishing and mattress retailer Nectar uses AI to recommend mattresses to customers. The company uses data from its website and app to track customer preferences and sleep habits. This information is then used to recommend mattresses that are likely to be a good fit for the customer.

Storytelling through Omnichannel

Your omnichannel eCommerce marketing strategy has much more potential than just increasing the conversion rate. You can increase the efficacy of your omnichannel strategy with the help of a strong narrative.

According to a study by InMoment, 73% of consumers are more likely to shop with a brand that tells a compelling story. This approach not only helps in enhancing customer experience but also helps brands connect with their customers on an interpersonal level. Storytelling through omnichannel can be used to educate customers about products and trends as well as inspire customers and make them feel like they are part of a larger community.

Example:

  • IKEA: IKEA uses storytelling through omnichannel to create a sense of community among its customers. The company has a blog called “The Life at Home” where customers can share their own home decor stories. IKEA also has a social media presence where it shares tips and inspiration for home decor.
  • Dwell: UK-based furniture retailer Dwell uses storytelling through omnichannel to create a sense of aspirational living. The company has a website and app where users can browse through photos and videos of beautiful homes. Dwell also has a social media presence where it shares tips and inspiration for home decor.

The big O of Optimizing

We know you don’t need reminding of how intense the competition is. Optimizing your website and app is a great way to stay ahead of the curve and supercharge your eCommerce marketing strategy. It will make sure your website is easy to navigate, visually appealing, and relevant to your target audience. Small things like swift check-out processes, clear policies, crisp and precise product descriptions, and efficient search functionality can create a big impact.

Oberlo found that 69% of shoppers say that they are more likely to shop with a retailer that offers a clear and easy-to-understand returns policy. Optimizing your website is one of the few things that deliver great results in a short span of time.

75% of shoppers abandon their carts if the checkout process is too long or complicated.

Barilliance

Example:

  • Wayfair: Wayfair uses a variety of optimization techniques for its furniture eCommerce business, including search engine optimization (SEO), to improve the visibility of its products in search results. The company also offers a variety of ways for customers to filter and sort products, which makes it easy for customers to find what they’re looking for. Such eCommerce solutions have helped Wayfair to increase its sales and market share.
  • IKEA: IKEA uses clear and concise product descriptions to help customers understand the features and benefits of its products. The company also uses high-quality photos and videos to showcase its products in real-world settings. This has helped IKEA to increase customer satisfaction and conversion rates.

Mobile- First

A 2023 Forbes article found that 91% of customers shop on their phones. This means that if you’re not optimizing your website for mobile, you’re missing out on a massive chunk of potential customers. This is precisely why you need to optimize your website for mobile first. In addition to optimizing their websites for mobile or developing an exclusive mobile application, most brands are pushing the envelope by offering mobile-exclusive offers.

Brands like IKEA, West Elm, and numerous others are encouraging their customers to download their mobile applications that will give their customers access to exclusive offers and in return get valuable first-party data and prime real-estate space on the customer’s mobile, which reinforces brand recall value and encourages repeat purchases. 

Example:

  • West Elm: Apart from being mobile- responsive the brand also offers a number of features that are specifically designed for mobile users, such as a “Shop by Room” function that allows customers to find products for specific areas of their homes.
  • AllModern: AllModern’s mobile app has features that are specifically designed for mobile users, such as a “Wishlist” function that allows customers to save products they are interested in for later.
  • CB2: High-design furniture eCommerce store CB2 has a mobile-exclusive feature called the “Product Comparison” function that allows customers to compare different products side-by-side.

The X Factor – Ux & Cx

It is common knowledge in the business world that customer-centric companies do significantly better than companies that are driven by profit. The most efficient way to show your customers that you care is by improving your user experience (Ux) and overall customer experience (Cx). 58% of customers will pay more for better customer service and 80% of consumers say that customer experience is as important as product quality. By enhancing the quality of the user experience and consistently focusing on customer satisfaction you can increase your customer retention rate and overall brand value. 

Example:

  • Article: Article is a furniture eCommerce retailer that focuses on UX. The company’s website and app are easy to use and feature a variety of eCommerce solutions and tools to help customers find inspiration for their homes. The brand also offers a variety of 3D models that allow customers to visualize how furniture will look in their homes.
  • Muji: Muji is a Japanese furniture and home goods retailer that focuses on CX. The company’s stores are designed to be minimalist and calming, and the products are designed to be simple and functional. Muji also offers a variety of customer support options, including live chat and phone support.

“If you’re not constantly listening and constantly ready for change, you’re going to miss the opportunity”

Ben Chestnut, Mailchimp CEO and Co-founder

Average Order Value > New Leads 

Average order value (AOV) is the average amount of money spent by a customer on a single order. In the home decor and furniture eCommerce industry, AOV is especially important because these products are often large and expensive. This means that a small increase in AOV can have a significant impact on a business’s bottom line. It costs five times more to acquire a new customer than it does to retain an existing customer, says a popular report by Bain and Co. By focusing on increasing the time spent on an average by customers on your website, you can have higher chances of increasing AOV.

An AI-powered eCommerce platform provider like ewiz commerce understands the importance of increasing the size of AOV and designs your marketing strategies in such a way that impacts your customer’s lifetime value. 

Example:

  • Houzz: Houzz offers a variety of tools to help users find inspiration for their homes, including photos, articles, and videos. Houzz also offers dynamic shopping tools, which can help users purchase products from a variety of retailers.
  • Floyd: Floyd is a furniture company that focuses on AOV. The company’s products are designed to be easy to assemble and disassemble, and they are made from sustainable materials. This helps to reduce the cost of shipping, which can lead to higher AOV.

Personalize

Personalization has been the buzz of the last five years and for good reason.  A staggering 80% of customers are more likely to buy from a company that provides a tailored experience. Businesses from various sectors have embraced personalization strategies.  A technologically adept eCommerce platform provider can help you customize your buyer’s journey from the get-go, from recommendation engines, content personalization, tailored email marketing, and the works. Personalization ensures maximum customer engagement and increased customer satisfaction.

Example:

  • The Inside: The Inside is a UK-based company that offers a variety of customizable furniture, including sofas, beds, and chairs. Customers can choose from a variety of fabrics, finishes, and sizes to create a piece that is perfect for their home.
  • Houzz: Houzz also uses artificial intelligence to recommend products and content that are relevant to customers’ interests. Customers can create a profile and save their favorite products, images, and ideas on the brand’s website.

Humanize

Technology, most definitely can take your business places but it’s important to humanize your brand. In their book, The Human Brand, authors Chris Malone and Susan Fiske emphasize the importance of warmth and how customers naturally gravitate towards companies that exude warmth and competence. 76% of customers are more likely to do business with a brand that they feel a personal connection with. Building real relationships with your customers, acting on emotions even when logic fails, and making a genuine effort to serve your customers better will help you build a strong foundation and nurture brand loyalty in the long run. 

Example:

  • West Elm –  The brand’s website and marketing materials feature photos and videos of real people using West Elm products in their homes. West Elm eCommerce business also offers a variety of virtual and in-store events that allow customers to connect with the brand on a personal level.
  • Pottery Barn – Pottery Barn also focuses on humanizing the brand through its marketing materials and customer service. Pottery Barn routinely organizes in-store events to better understand their customers, engage them and build a foundation for a strong, long-term relationship.

“To achieve sustained success, companies and brands will need to become more self-aware and mindful of their customer’s warmth and competence perceptions.”

The Human Brand by Chris Malone and Susan Fiske

Foster Loyalty 

Brand loyalty never goes out of style just ask mega brands like IKEA, Walmart, Target, and Pottery Barn. Brand loyalty is what makes a business a cult brand. Most brands ensure repeat purchases (that ascertain brand loyalty in the long run) by engaging customers through their loyalty and referral programs.

A reward-based system encourages customers to repurchase from the brand and combined with a strong customer experience, you can successfully turn repeat purchasers into loyal customers. Not only this, loyalty programs can be a great medium to collect first-party data. 87% of Americans are willing to have various details of their activity tracked in exchange for more personalized rewards and brand experiences.

Lastly, through the means of loyalty programs, you can increase the probability of word-of-mouth marketing and maximize brand value. 

Example:

  • IKEA – IKEA has a loyalty program called IKEA Family. Members of IKEA Family receive a number of benefits, including discounts on products, free shipping on orders over $45, and early access to new products. IKEA Family members also earn points for every dollar they spend, which can be redeemed for discounts on future purchases.
  • Houzz – Houzz has a referral program called Referral Rewards. When you refer a friend to Houzz, you both earn a $50 credit. You can refer as many friends as you want, and you can earn up to $500 in credits per year.

To Summarize

It’s a good practice to keep up with trends in furnishing, home decor, marketing, and eCommerce in general but trends are transitory. Building a brand with a strong foundation of technology, a customer-centric approach that fosters brand loyalty will never fail. Embracing the best in technology right now- AI, AR, and VR can help you erase the barrier of a screen between you and your customers. The right eCommerce platform, technology partners, and marketing geniuses of ewiz commerce can bridge the gap between you and your customers and help you create immersive experiences that offer better ROI and increase overall brand value. For a free consultation, connect with our team.

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