What retailers must do to make the furniture-buying experience a rewarding one

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According to Statista’s 2018 furniture and electrical e-commerce report, the revenue of the furniture and household goods division is expected to nearly double in 2022, and traditional furniture dealers face increasing competition from retail giants who want to use the home. The opportunity of the department is profitable.

For example, Wal-Mart launched its new home décor page in March 2018, Amazon launched its first home furnishing brand in November 2017, and Target has officially launched its home brand Opalhouse, while adding high-tech features to help improve Cross-channel customer shopping experience.

While these leading brands have succeeded in multiple product categories, furniture sales require a more engaging and informative customer experience than most products due to cost, longevity and decorative nature.

Experienced furniture stores have clear advantages and master the basics, and now they further enhance customer service through innovative omni-channel development.

To succeed in home appliances, traditional and e-commerce retailers will benefit from identifying long-term strategies used by top furniture dealers and the latest innovations in the field.

Consumer financing

Providing financing for consumers can lead to greater fares, closed sales and customer loyalty/repetitive sales. Whether you’re buying a $1,400 sofa or overhauling your home with multiple sets of furniture, many customers can’t afford the furniture they paid in advance, and they need credit to buy. Even those who have cash may be more willing to use deferred or interest-free products to avoid having to pay all the fees immediately.

For these reasons, furniture dealers often use their financing products as the core of their promotional and customer-facing platforms. For example, Pier 1 Imports highlights widgets at the top of its home page, accessing information on its brand credit card, online application and account management.

Furniture retailers understand the value of providing a strong financing solution for their consumers’ full credit range – customers with a FICO score above 700 and customers below a high score. According to FICO.com, more than 43% of Americans have FICO scores below 700, which means they often don’t have access to financing solutions from ordinary major credit card providers.

Leading furniture dealers like Ashley HomeStore licensor Broad River Furniture often use a second financing method to solve this problem. By evaluating factors beyond the simple FICO score, an experienced second-looking credit provider can approve financing for customers with scores of even less than 500, saving by approving approximately 30% to 50% of the applications initially rejected by the primary provider. Sales.

Since it may take more than seven years to recover from a credit loss event, this market segment typically includes a viable customer with cash flow for purchase. Providing them with the opportunity to enrich their homes while eliminating the potential embarrassment of rejected credits ensures that the customer experience is significantly better than just providing a single premium credit option.

Quality and sub-credit products can better drive sales by providing flexible terms to meet the financial needs of customers. For example, a revolving credit line allows customers to return using a given source of financing when they find themselves needing to change furniture again, and an installment loan may simply help those who do not plan to return. Deferred interest loans can help customers who need to pay monthly payments by delaying interest payments, such as new homeowners who have less cash after paying their down payment in their home recently.

Visual function is the key to customer experience

The most important consideration when purchasing furniture is its appearance. Since aesthetics is the key to furniture buying decisions, visual brands are more important here than in almost any other market segment, so there are several strategies to consider when a range of household items outperform competitors.

In an increasingly digital world, retailer websites are one of the most important tools for displaying their inventory. The site should be built with a special focus on the company’s visual branding, such as Ethan Allen’s website, which opens with a video on “making home art.” Websites and mobile shopping apps should go beyond traditional print catalogs and provide every item in the collection, including the ability to switch between photos of different colors and styles.

While making websites a digital catalog is important, leading furniture retailers have entered a new level, giving customers a better grasp of how furniture looks at home. Haverty’s launched the 3D Room Planning Mobile app, which allows users to upload room photos, erase existing furniture, and decorate the room with Haverty furniture and accessories. As previously reported in the retail customer experience, Ashley Furniture and Ikea have turned to augmented reality and virtual reality technology to help customers better experience their dream rooms before buying.

Competition benefits customers

As retail giants such as Amazon and Wal-Mart enter the furniture arena, competition is constantly innovating to improve the customer experience. For example, IKEA responded with its new TaskRabbit At-Home assembly service, allowing customers to pay for other people to put furniture together without having to deal with the furniture assembly process themselves.

Erosion retailers have also brought new ideas to change the space. Wal-Mart announced that it will also investigate furniture assembly services in response to IKEA’s move. eBay’s high-end furniture site, eBay Collective, will use its visual search engine to allow shoppers to find items that match the furniture they see in the various photos. Target is using CGI to provide shoppers with a 360-degree virtual reality experience to visualize furniture and accessories.

Integrate them together

Furniture retailers are at the forefront of integrating all content, with omni-channel platforms supporting their financing applications and approval processes, user-friendly access to their digital catalogs, and access to innovative services such as virtual reality and visual search.

While average retailers are showing omni-channels alongside the furniture world, many of them still use paper financing applications. Leading furniture dealers can make instant approvals through online digital applications, mobile checkouts and in-store kiosks. Further, savvy dealers leverage the partnership between primary and secondary apparel financing providers, as well as integrated payment technology platforms such as LendPro, Vyze, Versatile Credit and ChargeAfter, to automatically turn customers into second look applications without There is a risk of application fatigue, which is usually approved immediately after being rejected by the primary lender.

in conclusion

As large retailers and e-commerce companies enter the furniture market, they will have to compete with traditional powerhouses that have established their own businesses and provided a good customer experience. Providing customers with an easy way to make large purchases and visually convey the look of a piece of work is a sign of the success of traditional furniture sales. However, competition has spawned innovation that has further improved customer service and access.

In the end, the customer is the one who won the game.