Furniture shopping has greatly evolved over the last number of years. This is the result of the advancement in the Internet and also people’s adoption of all things online.
A type of behavior has emerged in recent times, known as “showrooming” whereby people visit a shop and look at the products in-store and then purchase online. And not always in the same store online. This happens when multiple suppliers have the same products. So people can physically see the product in a store and then put in more research online before actually buying. As a result, the physical retailer has lost out on the sale even though their sales assistant might have spent time with potential customers. They have costs associated with stocking the product, and so on. It’s a major modern-day challenge for retailers of all types.
Evolvement of Devices
There has also been an advancement in devices and so many people now walk around with smartphones in their pocket. Tablets and more modern laptops also have come into the market making things a lot easier for people. For this reason, stores, including furniture stores have had to move with the times and offer people an excellent experience online and in-store. Companies have invested hundreds of thousands of dollars in their online presence to customers.
The other factor that furniture retailers have to keep in mind as a result of this online revolution is that people now feel more empowered to leave reviews, both good and bad about their purchasing experiences. Platforms such as Facebook, Google, Twitter have provided people with this tool and they aren’t afraid to use it. There are even dedicated review websites where people turn to vent frustrations with different aspects of their purchase. Of course, those sites do also show positive reviews so you have to take the good with the bad.
In turn, this means that furniture retailers have a greater need for heightened and more reactive customer support. This has repercussions on the marketing budget and human resources, and so on. It also became necessary to offer training to help the customer services staff to have the ability to efficiently and successfully deal with customer issues.
Impact of Pandemic on Furniture Stores
Never before has an online store been more important in the context of a global pandemic because a lot of stores have been forced to close due to government-enforced lockdowns. As a result, consumers who perhaps in the past were reluctant to even consider buying something like furniture online have no choice but to move online to buy that sofa they need or that mattress they require, etc.
Furniture retailers have implemented augmented reality and other technologies on their sites to make the experience as close to reality as possible. Of course, this has resultant costs as the software for augmented reality isn’t exactly inexpensive. Some customers still like to speak with a customer service representative. It might be to get some décor advice or to clarify some furniture specifications. And so website integrations such as a chat function are being used a lot.
Furniture retailers have to invest sometimes in the likes of app development. And that also brings its resultant challenges. Apps can be prone to bugs and require regular monitoring and updating.
Challenges of Diverse Devices
Furthermore, challenges are associated with the diversity of devices available on the market today. So you have to ensure that your app complies with the operating system and so on. Thus, there are many complexities to the challenge!
Furniture designers also have had to react to a changing dynamic world whereby people demand a varying product and high-class customer service to go with it. People expect customer support throughout all parts of the purchasing journey whether it’s at the research stage or in aftercare.
People are largely reliant on their technological devices including their smartphones and as a result, they need and almost expect charge points and other tech’ elements such as Bluetooth connections.
Furniture designers have had to, as a result, build these into products to match current and modern customer expectations. The guys at EZ Living Interiors have put together an infographic below outlining the topic of technology and its role in furniture purchases.
Read about the related statistics on the topic. Understand the various technologies available to create a more smooth-running online furniture transaction and read about what the experts say on the matter plus lots more. Check out all the details below in the infographic!