In 2018, worldwide furniture eCommerce and appliance revenue was sitting at $258 billion and was projected to grow to $394 billion by 2022. Since COVID has changed the way people shop, actual sales are expected to significantly exceed that projection. Until recently, eCommerce tools didn’t incorporate a complex sales process or make room for a B2B buyer journey. Advancements in B2B portals are enabling sales acceleration, especially in the furniture industry.
Industry experts are gathering the latest research reports and looking toward IKEA as an example of explosive eCommerce growth. According to a recent study, Ikea’s online sales doubled due to COVID. In a larger eCommerce study by ACI Worldwide, “global eCommerce sales rose 28 percent in June 2020 compared to June 2019.” If you’re looking for companies to emulate and use as a furniture eCommerce guide, start with IKEA.
With advancements in design technology, furniture eCommerce offers new tools and software, making it possible for to-the-trade furniture showrooms, manufacturers, and designers to give consumers the ability to configure, customize, and save their products online. The need to visit a brick and mortar store to purchase high-quality furnishings has been eliminated.
Furniture Showrooms and Ecommerce
Modern software and design tools enable a potential customer to zoom, configure, and build furniture, including a variety of custom options. For example, bedroom furniture can be customized in finish, hardware, and fabric then quoted and saved online. Furniture retailer Vanguard recently made headlines with their new Make It Yours Bedroom:
Furniture eCommerce Options
Moving from a physical showroom or a catalog system seems overwhelming at first, but once you know about the software behind the tools and all of the options, you can begin planning and getting prices for all of the options that you’d like to consider.
A product pricing configurator does what paper price lists, catalogs, and calls used to do- more efficiently. When ordering a custom piece, it becomes a long, drawn, out process consisting of out-of-date prices, delayed quotes, invalid orders, and many back and forth phone calls. An online pricing configurator takes the delays and inconsistencies out of the purchasing process. By using real SKU numbers, a pricing configurator always provides options and selections that are currently available, with real-time prices, that deliver a fast quote. Consumers can choose all custom options such as case, hardware, finish, fabric, nails, and more and know that what they are choosing are valid selections and price.
3D Product Visualization
In the visual industry of furniture, a pricing configurator alone does not provide the desired shopping experience for the visual consumer. When purchasing a custom product, the customer wants to see/visualize their custom piece. It’s reassuring to know that the product will be made based on selections chosen. Still, there is an extra sense of security in being able to see the finished product before purchasing, which increases completed sales. Investing in 3D product visualization as part of your CPQ (configure, price, quote) software makes eCommerce in the furniture industry better than competitors, as many online furniture retailers don’t offer it.
Utilizing eCommerce at Market
Furniture manufacturers and retailers understand the high stress and chaos of Market. Keeping track of all walk-throughs, orders, and popular products can make it a stressful event. A solution that would make the Market experience more cohesive for retailers would diminish the disarray and make their time at Market more productive. Clarity Web Solutions created the solution: Market Showroom Automation; a software that adds ease and efficiency to Market. Accessible from any device, such as a tablet, computer screen, or phone, sales reps can have a productive Market experience with their customers.
Back to Normal: Walk-through Tools
When things finally do get “back to normal” and furniture showrooms can accommodate sales teams and customers, furniture eCommerce technology will still deliver value to your business. During a walk through with a customer, sales reps can track customer likes and dislikes from a handheld device. They can also display product customizations to the client via the pricing configurator and 3D product visualizer from their handheld device or a screen displayed in the showroom.
With the critical information gathered from the walkthrough and Market Orders, production planning and pre-ordering can begin even during Market. Sales reps can simply place the order from their device.
Reps will be better prepared for effective dealer follow-ups after walkthroughs to continue conversations and complete orders that will drive sales.
Using these modern tools as a furniture eCommerce guide will give furniture retailers the ability to grow their business through online sales and improve in-person sales when gathering restrictions are lifted.
At Clarity Web Solutions, we saw evidence of this at the Spring 2020 High Point Market. The event was cancelled due to Covid-19, but retailers who had invested in CPQ software were able to continue driving sales online. Their customers were not only able to continue to customize and purchase items, but did not have to sacrifice the visual advantage to the purchasing process despite the cancelation of Market. Investing in furniture eCommerce isn’t a precaution for the current economy; it’s an investment that will deliver returns far beyond 2020.
Learn more about the tools that will work for your business: