A Bright Future for Home Furnishings
Home furnishings is a dynamic, exciting and ever-changing space that’s challenging every business owner to redefine retail. And it’s not just about reduced prices and free shipping – although that’s a part of it! The way that each business owner evolves their store – whether brick or click – creates the store of the future.
What is the Store of the Future?
A personalized retail experience that incorporates the best of transformative technology to easily accommodate shopping preferences in an inclusive, inspiring and intriguing way.
Where is the Store of the Future?
Shoppers find the Store of the Future wherever they are. That’s because the future of retail isn’t limited to brick-and-mortar or online destinations . . . it’s both. The front door of your showroom is, quite literally, everywhere your customers interact and engage with your brand.
What can customers expect from the Store of the Future?
According to Beck Besecker, co-founder and CEO of Marxent, there are three essential components.
It’s indispensable. The store of the future will lead with such personalized service that it’s impossible for customers to fathom shopping elsewhere.
It’s small. Reduced square footage ensures that retailers get crystal clear about their niche and, subsequently, provide an improved service experience for customers.
It provides novelty, inspiration and entertainment. Simply put, help customers imagine their best life in a fun, interactive and engaging way.
What if my store isn’t so . . . futuristic?
Start where you are. Take a step back from your business and look at it through the fresh eyes of a customer engaging with your store or website for the first time. Here are a few suggestions to get you in the customer’s frame of mind.
Is it clear what your business has to offer?
Select a product you sell in your head and perform a Google search for it – was your store on the first page of return results?
If the product you’re looking for is in stock in your brick-and-mortar store, walk through the front door and ask yourself, “Is it easy to find what I’m looking for?”
Subsequently, “Is it easy to navigate my store?”
Engage your employees and ask questions you think your ideal customer would have. Were the answers clear? Helpful? Did they inspire you buy or place an order?
Now, check out. How long are you waiting in line? Was it easy to pay? Were you satisfied with the personal exchange?
Your answers give subtle clues where you could incorporate technology in your store. For example, if search returned low on the list, consider enhancing your site’s product data with a service like Amber Engine to improve SEO for each of your products. If your message isn’t clear, consider refreshing your website with high-quality copy and improved imagery. If your store was difficult to navigate and you experienced long wait times, heat mapping and mobile pay options may help you speed things up.
The Store of the Future isn’t about having all the pieces in place right now. It’s about assessing your situation and developing an evolutionary strategy that enhances your customer’s shopping experience tomorrow . . . and the next day . . . and the next. It’s about being nimble, adaptive and open to change. And, most of all, it’s about creating a better version of retail to serve the people who need your products and services most.