To “E” or not to “E”… that is the question
What’s the “e?” It’s e-commerce.
Over the years, many of the furniture retailers I have worked with resisted the idea of selling home furnishings online. The list of excuses was varied and plentiful. Of the five major furniture retailers in my market, one offers a limited selection of furniture that you can purchase online, and another doesn’t offer an online purchase option at all. Here are a few furniture e-commerce facts they should consider:
- Home furnishings is the 6th fastest growing e-commerce category.
- In 2020, online furniture sales are estimated to account for 20% of all furniture sales.
- 62% of mattress shoppers would consider purchasing a mattress online.
- For younger shoppers, the convenience of purchasing furniture online outweighs their need to feel and sit on it before they buy.
Furniture e-commerce giants like wayfair.com and overstock.com are proof that consumers are more than willing to buy home furnishings online and that any perceived barriers exist with the retailer, not the customer.
Think of it this way; when customers visit your showroom, they browse the store and when they find something they like, a salesperson writes up the ticket. Your website is like your showroom. You wouldn’t let a customer that’s ready to buy just walk out! Without an easy to use e-commerce component to your website, that’s exactly what you’re doing… you’re losing sales.
You can make the decision to buy online even easier by offering your customers a convenient return policy. According to Statista, only 5% of online buyers returned an online furniture purchase in the past year.
To stay competitive, furniture retailers will have to embrace e-commerce with the understanding that it doesn’t replace their brick and mortar store. It simply provides an additional avenue for customers to shop at their store.