The Problem With Buying Furniture Online
The normal shopper is very intimidated and often overwhelmed at having to select furniture for their house. It’s a big financial investment since you will literally live with the decision for years, and the choices are infinite. Add in the social component of making sure your choices not only fit your family, but also represent the style you want to share with guests, and the furniture buying process can often stall out due to paralysis by analysis.
Consumers spend ample time online before deciding where to visit in person and make a purchase. This “paralysis by analysis” on your website is what needs to be solved in order to get more shoppers to move down the buying funnel and visit your store for additional help.
Over 60% of consumers begin their furniture buying experience online.
Your showroom and sales staff exists to help people make decisions on furniture. Your store happens to be great at it. Yet, everyone is beginning their shopping experience online and there is no way to tell if your store will be helpful at this when you are being evaluated purely by your online presence.
In fact, the e-commerce pure plays (Amazon, Ebay – any place that sells primarily online) come across as more helpful when exactly the opposite is true – and this is the story you should be telling.
Many furniture stores only have some inventory and maybe pricing available online, pricing that probably won’t be as cheap as what the consumer can find online elsewhere. Sound familiar? Your website is trying to compete against the e-commerce pure plays and you cannot win at this game.
“E-commerce pure plays come across as more helpful when exactly the opposite is true – and this is the story you should be telling.”
Instead, you should be trying to use your website to highlight how many decisions there are; how you can help narrow the choices online, and how you can assist them even more in-person down the road with buying furniture. Again, the shopper is looking for help –you just have to show them that you are the one to give it to them and not have it be hidden behind a website that does not represent how helpful you can be.
The Solution to Furniture Buying Online
Offer assessments on your website for consumers that will help narrow their choices. When someone expresses to you that they are looking to buy for their living room, kitchen, bedroom, etc., what are the questions your trained salesperson asks in order to help them narrow down their choices?
This same step can easily be accomplished on your website and help show how helpful you can be. “What’s my Style?,” “What Couch is Right for Me?”, “What Mattress is Best for Me?” are all examples of quick assessments an online shopper can take that will help them learn about themselves and be more educated in the furniture buying process.
“Offer online assessments on your website for consumers that will help them narrow their choices.”
What’s even better is that after they take an assessment, your sales team has learned A LOT about the individual, helping create a very personal follow up via phone, text, or e-mail.
They now know how helpful you can be online, how helpful your salesperson is, and will want to work with you on the next steps in person. This is how you compete with e-commerce and this is how you stand out compared to all the other traditional stores just showing products and pricing.
When it comes to deciding on where to get help in the furniture buying process, first impressions are imperative. You spend a ton of time crafting the right experience in your showroom to show how helpful you can be. Just make sure not to neglect your consumer base online – where they get their very first impression of your brand.