The online shopping boom has undoubtedly changed how furniture brands and retailers operate. A new study published by HomeByMe Enterprise shows consumers are demanding personalized, digitally-enabled experiences when remodeling their kitchens and purchasing new furniture for their homes.
At the same time, stationary trade still plays an important role: 53% of the consumers surveyed stated that they value the support of a sales professional or designer. Furniture and home updates represent a significant investment for most people, so they need to be confident in their decisions, and discussing your options with an expert provides essential peace of mind.
These emerging trends represent a key opportunity for retailers to strengthen their drive-to-store strategies. But to do that, they need to ensure a holistic experience that starts where most consumers start: online.
1. Deliver a network-to-store strategy
HomeByMe’s latest Retail Preferences study shows that some consumers prefer to shop online only and others prefer to shop in-store, but most demand an omnichannel experience. This means the ability to design, plan and even consult experts from anywhere – like from home or on any mobile device – and then visit a store to confirm their choices before they either launch their new furniture or decorations Buy locally or online. According to the research:
- 66% of consumers conduct online research about brands and retailers
- 47% search online for the latest trends and styles
- 67% research costs online
Merchants should focus on their “click to store” strategy in this context.
The right online offering can entice consumers to visit the store to learn more, speak to experts and gain confidence before completing their purchase. For most consumers, this requires a sophisticated 3D design and visualization tool: 73% want to plan their room makeover at home and at their leisure.
2. Personalize the shopping experience
Now that consumers are even more comfortable with e-commerce, brick-and-mortar stores are no longer focused on the transaction – they offer new ways to enjoy a personalized experience. While many brands and retailers now offer online advice and sales support, customers (particularly those with complicated requests) still value face-to-face contact. 1 in 4 (29%) said discussing their needs and getting advice from a sales professional/designer is one of the most enjoyable parts of remodeling their home.
However, 24% of respondents dislike being interviewed by in-store salespeople. In fact, it’s one of her least favorite things about the remodeling process. To delight consumers and capture their attention in-store, salespeople must be equipped with the digital tools to deliver a personalized design and planning experience that is fast, accurate, and highly visual.
3. Develop an effective omnichannel strategy
A good online deal is the start of a great shopping experience. The main thing is that consumers want a seamless transition between the two. They are looking for tools that they can design and buy for their home anytime, anywhere. And they expect sales professionals to have access to their design ideas, product choices and personal style before they step foot in the store.
HomeByMe company offers furniture brands and retailers all the features to support their customers’ needs and guide them step-by-step through the entire buying process. It allows them to explore a retailer’s product catalog in exciting new ways, virtually customize their dream furniture and see exactly how it would look in their home before hitting the buy button.
Interior designers, sales reps and clients can share the same planning and styling solution across all channels and devices – mobile, tablet, desktop or in-store. For example, customers could design their ideal kitchen at home through a retailer’s website and then access that design in-store for personal, professional advice before completing their purchase back on the website.
Download HomeByMe’s new report Businesses for the latest consumer buying preferences, expert commentary and omnichannel strategies.