With platforms like Amazon changing the way we all do business, it’s tempting to stick our heads between our proverbial designer pillows and fight the tech tidal wave. But, that’s only a smart strategy if you want to lose business.
For business people who have bills to pay, there are several improved options to make integrating technology in your retail workspace easier than ever. And, the payoff may be hefty.
Statista estimates steady online growth for the home furnishings industry in the coming year – with a powerful prediction of 38.5 billion in online sales for 2018. That said, it’s time to get implementing.
1. Mobile is a must.
Not only are shoppers researching products and locations on their phones, Google’s Mobile First Index means that if your site isn’t mobile-friendly, you can wave goodbye to search ranking. Your developer will be able to help. If you’re a DIY-er, look to platforms like Wix to polish your mobile presence without pulling your hair out.
2. Incorporate technology on the showroom floor.
Whether you equip each sales person with an iPad to help customers explore their options or you install large-screen kiosks to help customers help themselves, interactive interfaces close more sales. Customers want key product data and information . . . fast. If your staff walks back to the counter to search through paper files, you’re doomed.
3. Enhance product data and provide outstanding product details.
Whether a customer visits your site at home or from your own showroom, your product data must be impeccable. Partner with a company like Amber Engine, which helps you automate the intake, so your descriptions and availabilities are always up-to-date. There’s nothing worse than a “technologically advanced company” that doesn’t know if something is in- or out-of-stock.
4. Embrace the endless aisle.
This easy-to-add technology upgrade ups your online sales quickly and easily. When you offer additional products, services and options online, customers enjoy a more robust and satisfactory shopping experience. This means they’ll come back for more.
5. Add alternate payment options.
Speaking of easy, nothing is faster than one-click. Install a 1-click payment option on your website and watch impulse buys come rolling in. In store, things like Samsung/Apple Pay and Venmo change the way stores complete transactions. And, if you simply can’t bring yourself to offer any of the above, please just give customers an option for paperless receipts.
6. Increase your offering of smart devices and appliances.
Whether you include automated home kits, add refrigerators that send you a shopping list or offer mattresses that evaluate your sleep patterns and tell you how to rest your best – there’s a HUGE demand for the Internet of Things. Get your slice of the pie by adding easy-to-use pieces in your inventory to gain audience with technology-loving design enthusiasts.
7. Incorporate AR/VR.
This is a natural integration for home furnishings retailers because it’s easy to “show” furniture in the home. When a customer holds up their phone to see how a new chair plays with their space and existing pieces, you’re building customer confidence. And, when a customer buys with confidence, you enjoy a lower return rate in your store.
It’s easy to see that the future of home furnishings is upon us. But, that doesn’t mean that small stores can’t compete. Use our 7 ideas for incorporating better technology in your business and watch your profits grow.
Which of these ideas are you most excited about? Do you have questions for our team about getting started with product data automation? Leave a comment below. We want to hear from you.