Online retailing has presented more opportunities than obstacles for retail furniture stores. Websites for brick and mortar stores make it easier for retailers to display an increasing amount of merchandise, but one thing just won’t change. Furniture must be comfortable. We want to try it out before we buy it.
And it’s big. We want to see it. We’ll do all the preparatory browsing online, but we’ll still go to a physical store prior to the purchase decision.
That’s a good thing. If your customers have done all the research online before they even step foot into your brick-and-mortar furniture store, they are pre-qualified and ready to buy. It’s really what online presences bring to the furniture-buying equation.
Research shows that nearly 90% of today’s consumers research purchase decisions online before buying either online or at a physical store. What’s more, nearly 70% of consumers surveyed say they would consider ordering or buying online, but still coming to the store to pick up the merchandise.
Websites Bring Customers to Brick-And-Mortar Stores
If it’s going to be parked in your dining room, or your garage for that matter, you want to see it and touch it. That’s the advantage furniture and automobile retailers have. There are three main things furniture buyers need to satisfy before they make a purchase: eye appeal, sit appeal, and price. A website can help with eye appeal and price, but even the most sophisticated virtual reality can’t help with sit appeal.
The other advantage brick-and-mortar has over websites is that it’s easier to create customer relationships that lead to up-sells and the purchase of after-sale services. This isn’t just a benefit to retailers. Customers still want these relationships.
The National Retail Federation sums up the relationship between web and brick-and-mortar for furniture retailers best – “Digital needs physical,” they say in their 2018 report. “Physical needs digital. The power of combining the two is unassailable.”
The Millennials and Furniture-Buying
According to furniture industry expert Eugene Chrinian, even though it’s unlikely that eCommerce and the Internet currently are not much of a concern for brick-and-mortar furniture retailers, there are still some big changes that must be made within the industry.
Baby boomers saw the value of paying high-dollar prices for furniture that would last for decades. Chrinian says that Millennials don’t agree. This generation of furniture-buyers place higher values in experiences than in things – and furniture in their mind is definitely a thing.
For the Millennials, it’s a combination of price and purpose. They’re looking for assurance that the reasonably priced furniture they’re about to buy is made from sustainable material. You’ll get extra points if you can show that it’s been locally sourced or made.
All generations of furniture buyers are changing to some extent. Multigenerational families can mean that sectional sofas and larger dining sets are more in demand. Meanwhile, there’s an increasing number of single-person households and renters. Their need for furniture must be taken into consideration by the industry.
One Thing in Common
Whether it’s made of sustainable fibers and a zero-carbon footprint for Millennials or beefed up for a three-generation blended household, each piece of furniture out on the showroom floor shares one thing in common. It needs a tag to display the price.
That physical price tag is a big advantage for brick-and-mortar furniture retailers. Furniture is a harder sell online, Blueport Commerce founder and CEO Carl Prindle says. The average order tops $1,000, and there’s no brand loyalty. Finally, it’s extremely expensive to ship furniture unless you have massive local scale. This is all great news for furniture retailers who have built their brands and reputations on developing customer loyalty in their brick and mortar locations.
We’ve been a leader in displaying tag slips for many industries for over 40 years now. Our customers come to us because we don’t tell them what size to make their price tags – we’ll make our tag holders in any size and configuration they need to help them maximize this important touchpoint with their customers.