Cater to Time-Crunched Customers


These days, people are beating the Busy Drum – which means your business must rise above the rhythm to be discovered, much less shopped. After all, how can one enjoy the luxury of furniture shopping when they don’t even have the luxury of time? This means you have to take the furniture store to them.

A quick conversation with fellow shoppers conveys the woe-inducing experience that is online furniture shopping. Furniture shopping is, by nature, a tactile experience. But, thanks to sites like Wayfair and Overstock, tides – and people - are changing the “try-before-you-buy” practice of the past. And, with a little extra effort, retailers can cut out other predominant online shopping complaints before they begin.

Complaint 1: Side-by-side comparison is hard
You offer myriad sofas in unlimited configurations – which makes it hard to shop side-by-side with a single screen as the customer’s reference point.

The Solution: Configure your product offering in a way that allows customers to put multiple sofas, options, customizations and arrangements on a single frame with pricing information clearly displayed. It’s a way of bringing the showroom to the small screen for a more shoppable collection.

Complaint 2:  Shipping costs.
Like it or not, the sheer heft of shipping furniture makes it unapproachable for most consumers. That’s why retailers who can offset the charges with high-volume deals come out ahead.

The Solution: Get competitive about pricing and packaging. Know the impact of protection costs and find the most economical way to protect each piece without sacrificing profits.

Complaint 3: Wasteful packaging.
Piggy-backing on Complaint 2, wasteful packaging is a blemish on the face of online shopping. After all, consumers strive to be eco-friendlier and more sustainable and they seek retailers who share the concern.

The Solution: Several companies specialize in better protection with less materials. Explore the options of reducing product packaging by even one-half an inch and see huge differences in shipping costs.

Complaint 4: Inconsistencies in product data.
Again, piggy-backing on Complaint 1, side-by-side comparison requires apples-to-apples information. That means that retailers must make it easy to find size specifications, fabric options, availability and other customization options in the same space on every product page.

The Solution: Using an automated product data service eliminates the need for manual labor on this task. Alternately, commit weekly hours from a designated employee to updating product data and ensuring the accuracy of each data set.

Complaint 5: Product damage.
No one wants to spend hundreds or thousands of dollars on a product only to see it arrived scratched, dented or blemished in some way.

The Solution: Invest time and money in results-oriented packaging that’s also cost-effective.

Complaint 6: Fabric and color confusion.
The color description is often inaccurate and leaves much to the imagination with details like fabric weave.

The Solution: Take care to add high-quality images to your product data repository. Include color corrected images that truly depict the shade, as well as close-up images that show the weave and texture of each fabric. Not only does this create an informed consumer, it fosters buying confidence and helps ensure customer satisfaction once the delivery is complete.

Complaint 7: The inability to visualize.
It’s hard to remember that it takes all kinds of people to make the world go ‘round. Those who are a bit more literal require more help with spatial positioning.

The Solution: For those who can’t imagine what a piece of furniture might look like in their home, offer an example or three. Include roomscenes in your product data to ensure that everyone can visualize your product in a home . . . better yet, their home.

So, as to not take any more of your time, the best practice for online furniture retailers includes a time-saving approach to UX. Make it easier for customers to find the information they need, make comparisons, and ship affordably to increase your online sales.