Many furniture retailers are hesitant to talk about the “e” word. eCommerce trends are on the top of mind for retailers and we understand.
They’re afraid to adopt such a disruptive technology with a partner in the industry. The risks are great and the competition is even greater. But, there is one earth-shattering fact that will move the most unprepared retailer to start an eCommerce journey (in baby steps) today.
In today’s economy, eCommerce trends and your internet presence influence up to 56% of in-store transactions. Purchasing online is not just about the sale anymore. It’s now a series of short interactions that rely on current technology to drive sales. 2018 will be a big year for new technologies and the early adopters will have a head start over the competition. Here are a few eCommerce trends that we will see in 2018.
AR in your home
Augmented reality will be huge in 2018. Technology for AR is now at a point where it is up to par for consumer use. Augmented reality will allow consumers to use their mobile phones to actually visualize items in their home before they buy. This is huge for companies in the furniture industry. Your customers can visit your website and see what an item will look like in their home before they come into your store. Let’s say a customer is looking for a new Stressless chair for their office. That particular customer has a certain type of fabric they want to stick with and has limited room in their office to put the chair.
If you utilize AR in your store, your customer will be able to see that Stressless chair in the actual size and drape the chair with available fabrics. This was never possible before. The public had to buy the chair or measure it in store to see if it would fit in their home. With AR technology, store returns may go down and the efficiency will likely make the customer experience at your store go up. Large players in the furniture industry, like Ikea, have already been using AR for some time. With MicroD’s advanced AR technology, you too can use this powerful software to attract customers.
Everyone hates a slow-to-load website, but no one hates it more than business owners of the website. Website performance is critical in 2018. Jem Young, of Netflix, says it best:
“For eCommerce businesses especially, where the difference of 200 milliseconds can mean the difference between gaining a customer or losing them to a competitor, keeping your site performant is crucial in order to stay competitive in 2018.”
Your website provider should be maintaining a website that outperforms the competition in design and functionality. Are they also making sure your performance is ahead of the trend?
Imagine if you were able to post a picture to Instagram and customers could buy your product right from the post. With a software called Curalate, that is now a reality. Gone are the days of directing your followers to your website to buy via “link in bio” and making them go through a series of steps to get to your product page. You can now direct customers straight to your products and services with product tags that lead your buyers straight to the source where they can purchase. Software like Curalate has three main goals: Impact conversions, drive brand awareness and improve the quality of your site’s traffic.
Within Curalate, comes a handful of useful tools to help you sell more furniture on social media. Your fans can read your blogs, shop your Instagram feed, reserve a service, or take any other action you wish right from Instagram. Visitors spend more time browsing on-site, view more pages, and have a greater average order value than the average mobile consumer with this new social media software. For many retailers, this is a game changer.
For even more functionality, Images on your website, like slides, can be used to drive more engagement with your products. You can offer a simpler way for consumers to discover the products, services, or content shown in your images. Say that you have a slide image of a new line of Tommy Bahama outdoor furniture. Now, you can tag each piece of furniture and each accessory in the photo and link it to a product page where customers can buy. All that visitors have to do is hover their mouse over a certain item in the photo and simply tap on it to be taken to that products checkout page. It’s very simple and makes the buying experience much more satisfying for consumers.
Social media and blogs are vital ways to start selling more furniture in your store. They keep your brand in front of your buyer’s eyes and can link straight to your website where visitors can purchase. It is very important to have a social presence online to keep up with new trends and marketing strategies. Remember, if you don’t keep up with the latest trends, you are bound to get left in the dust by your competition.
Machine learning automates manual processes within technology. On a furniture website? It will create a near-perfect shopping experience for your customers. How? By creating a personal, customized website experience based on what similar customers have done in the past. 2018 will see the end of marketing to a pre-defined group of consumers and will focus on the individual consumer’s wants and needs. This will all be possible by machine learning. Companies like Netflix are already utilizing technology like this. If you’ve ever been on Netflix you know that their software automatically recommends TV shows and movies to you based on your past watching habits.
Your customers can have a similar experience while searching for sofas or accessories on your website. Based on your top-performing products, categories, or collections in a brand, you can tailor search results to show exactly what your customer finds interesting. By implementing machine learning technology through your website, you can turn the website traffic into more customers in a shorter timeframe. Your website will perform better and the consumer confidence in the purchase decision will be increased tenfold; reducing the likelihood of returns.
It’s already happening with voice-driven search functionality. Think: Amazon Alexa and Google Home. In 2018, customers will rely heavily on voice search to interact online, research, and purchase their products. Because of this, retailers and manufacturers will need a technology partner to implement online solutions that meet the consumer demands for voice-enable activity. If you’re not using websites with validated product data or improve your site’s SEO to increase the right traffic to your site, you’ll miss the #1 To-Do on your 2018 list: increase furniture sales and keep up with ecommerce trends.
Technology is much more targeted and personalized than ever before. Because things are moving fast, it can be hard to keep up with your 2018 internet initiatives. You want your business to thrive and cater to customers needs and wants, but you might not know how to implement these advanced technological breakthroughs in your business. Here at MicroD, we get that. That’s why we offer services like website design, 3D product visualization, Augmented Reality, digital marketing services and many more tools to increase your furniture sales.
We work with leaders in the Home Furnishings industry to increase website sales and profitability through the internet.