Hurdle Home Furnishings' Retail Roadblocks


Sales success doesn’t always come down to having a “way with words” or possessing “gravitational charm.” Sometimes, it’s something as simple as eliminating the barriers your customers face when considering a purchase. So, we did a round-up of top customer complaints and assembled a few easy tips to help you fix them for improved sales.

1. The Wait

Whether you’re insufficiently staffed or simply in high demand, society expects instant gratification – online and in store. No one wants to wait in line anymore!  

Option A: Cut the Line

Equip your sales staff with technology capable of finding answers to questions, showing alternatives/options AND taking on-the-spot payment. This not only creates a convenience for the customer but also helps to create a consultative relationship with your guest.

Option B: Enable Order/Pay

When your site allows guests to order online, pay and pick up in store, you’re creating a more efficient and streamlined experience. This way, customers don’t even have to wait for shipping on in-stock items . . . talk about instant gratification!

2. Sticker Shock

People want to get the best deal on the products and services they want and need. So, it’s understandable that customers might be a little aghast when they see higher price tags.

Option A: Narrow the Margin

Equip your showroom with Wi-Fi to make it easy to comparison shop with a mobile device. Then, offer a price match guarantee for an identical item. This allows guests to feel like they’re getting a “win” with their strong negotiation skills and you steal a sale from the competition.

Option B: Sell the Right Thing

If you’re not willing to match a competitor’s lower price, make sure you’re selling the right thing. For example, Whole Foods. No one ever calls them the most affordable grocery option in town, but (spoiler alert!) they’re not really selling groceries. Whole Foods sells a lifestyle, an identity, a status of sorts. So, if your prices are markedly higher, make sure you’re selling the right thing to set the expectation for guests prior to entering your showroom.

3. Not Finding The Product They Want

When a guest shops for an indigo blue rug, they want an indigo blue rug . . . not royal, not cerulean, not Carolina . . . indigo. And when you sell everything but, they’re going to shop elsewhere.

4. Enhance Your Product Data

When you maintain a thorough database of product data that includes specifications, availability, alternative options and other details, your sales associates can easily access inventory to find out what’s available immediately and what’s customizable, along with wait and shipping times. Not only does this put the right product into the customer’s hands for outstanding satisfaction, it creates a high-end customer service experience that leaves a customer feeling appreciated, valued and served.

5. Transportation

Sometimes, your guest’s biggest hurdle has nothing to do with finding the right product at the right price. Sometimes, they’re simple hindered by the hurdle, “Uhhhh . . . how will I get this home?”

6. Delivery & Set Up

Handle the home-stretch for home furnishings customers to eliminate the store-to-door barrier. Not only are you providing a much-needed service, you’re able to offer additional sales suggestions once you arrive for set-up. “This looks amazing! You make an excellent choice with this color. Hey, you know what else would look really good with this sofa and the rest of your pieces? XYZ light fixture or ABC art! You should check it out. I’ll text you a link.”

7. Miscommunication

It’s easy to forget that not everyone works in the home furnishings industry and understands the immediate difference between high- and low-pile rugs.

8. Speak Person-to-Person

Rather than taking the tone of Professional-to-Novice, address your guests as you would friends who simply need more information. Rather than talking loop count, you’d say that XYZ rug has a springier feel or ABC shag is made of LMOP fibers – which means it’s super soft to the touch. When you use approachable, real language, you’re able to create a better connection because it’s easier for the guest to understand what you’re talking about.

When you remove certain obstacles that stand in the way of guests completing a purchase, your sales will increase along with customer satisfaction. Which one of these tips will you put into effect in your store this week? Leave a comment below, because we want to hear from the people who make home furnishings such a great industry.