The e-commerce platform accounts for a large percentage of overall retail sales. Industry experts estimate that by 2021, the figures could reach 17.5% of total sales. The prospects for the furniture sector are even more exciting. By 2022, we can expect sales of up to $294 billion. Those in furniture retail can, therefore not afford not to take advantage of the online platform.
Let us look at some of the trends you must incorporate into your business if you hope to take a slice of the retail furniture pie.
· Maximize On The Use Of Rich Content
The online platform allows you to visualize what you are selling. While you do not have the advantages of having the product physically available to the customers, there is technology you can use. 3D configurations and augmented reality are, therefore becoming the norm in most of the online stores. Customers have a chance to play around with different aspects like shapes, color, material, and textures, among others. It allows you to customize their products while allowing for a better shopping experience, which is likely to help you clinch the deal.
· Think About Your Mobile Strategy
Along with SEO or search engine optimization, the other buzzword getting quite a bit of attention is mobile optimization. The modern shopper does not have time, they are always on the go, and depend a lot on their smart devices to do very many things.
Google research shows that up to 50% of web traffic will most likely come from a smart device. There is, therefore, no question, the furniture retailer has to optimize their e-commerce platforms. Search engines such as Google will also penalize any e-commerce platform that is not available on mobile devices.
The advantages of optimizing a business are that you get a better ranking on the search engines. You can also send out timely alerts to your customers; you can take advantage of push notifications, among others.
· Pay Attention To The Customer Relationship
An e-commerce platform does not allow for face to face interaction when dealing with customers. You have to be careful not to lose the brand and customer relationship. You have to understand what the customers require and take the appropriate steps to ensure that you meet the expectations. The advantage of the digital platform is that you have access to multiple channels that can help you interact better with your customers.
With emerging technologies such as Artificial Intelligence, you can set up your e-commerce platform for voice and text-based communication. Some of the tools you have are chatbots, live chat, messaging apps, and voice assistants. You, however, need to be careful to create the right balance. Technology is fantastic, but when it comes to that personalized experience, you will need to have that human touch. Let technology take care of the simpler routine tasks but always have a support team at hand to handle the more complex ones.
· Pay Close Attention To The Checkout Process
If the Checkout process in your retail furniture store is complicated in any way, you will have an excess of abandoned carts. The issue is so prevalent that statistics indicate that the rates of cart abandonment range from 60% – 80%. The customer wants a quick, seamless checkout process. You can ensure this by having a clean user experience, which is self-explanatory.
Do not depend on what the software providers give you as the default setting because customers have different needs. You are the one who is selling the furniture, and you are the one who communicates with the clients. You know what they asked for over and over again with regards to the checkout process. Customize the settings to your customer’s requirements for maximum efficiency. Make sure that you put in place adequate security because you will be collecting a lot of customer data.
· Personalize The Experience In Your Online Store
When you think about the online platform, you get this feeling of unlimited space and potential. You almost feel like there is space for everyone to do their business. There is no flaw in your thinking because that is the reality. However, the result is that there are so many businesses competing for that small pool of customers.
Everyone is shouting about their products, and the result is a lot of noise and clutter. The online shopper has become like that child who gets everything they want by simply demanding it. If you cannot fulfill their needs, you have thousands of competitors who will. The furniture seller, therefore, has to look for a way to stand out above the competition. And one way of doing this is to personalize what you have.
You will have to get ready to keep on adapting to the requirements of the shoppers. Think about ways of getting the customers to take the action you want them to. Recommendations are very powerful when on e-commerce platforms. You may have ‘you might also like this chair, Or ‘people who searched for this sofa also checked out.’ What happens is that the customers will spend more time on your website because they feel like you understand what they need.
There is a lot of potential in ecommerce for the furniture retailer. Our tips above will help with conversions.