Selling custom furniture online is a growing furniture trend. Retailers who want to personalize the shopping experience use custom furniture to attract more higher end clients to the store. This trend allows retailers to increase the average ticket price of furniture. And selling custom furniture differentiates one retail store from another in the same competitive market. That’s why more retailers are selling custom furniture in the store. But with more shoppers buying furniture online, how does this furniture sales trend transform into a furniture ecommerce trend? In this article, we’ll review the challenges with selling custom furniture and the custom order technology that can solve them.
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Challenges in Selling Custom Furniture Online
The retailer is challenged with many impediments to eCommerce success but even more so when custom orders are the primary business. Furniture retailers that sell custom furniture feel that they cannot sell online. And for many retailers who do not have the right custom order technology, that is the case.
Customers want to shop for customizable furniture. And those same customers want to shop safely from their home. But many don’t trust the custom furniture process online. When it comes to buying furniture most retail shoppers prefer to have at least part of the buying experience in the store. And many retailers have good digital marketing strategy in place to bring those shoppers into the store.
Until now, shopping for custom-built furniture has been an entirely in store process. But with the rise of eCommerce and the impacts of COVID-19, selling custom furniture online is now a necessity for many retailers. If shoppers can’t research, identify, and even customize home furnishings from a retailer in their driving area, they won’t ever make it to the store. There are three major challenges with selling custom furniture online.
Getting the Furniture Configurations Accurate
Retailers that sell custom furniture are using multiple vendors to source the products. And each manufacturer has a different set of configuration rules for each piece of furniture. These configurations are challenging even within the brick and mortar showroom. But the salesperson is guiding the shopper through the process. If questions arise, they can run to the back of the showroom and seek out a furniture configuration guidebook from the manufacturer and look for the solution.
Repeating this process for multiple manufacturers on multiple items can be a challenging process. This complicated process leads to misconfigured items, returns, and lost opportunity to upsell premium configurations. And that’s all before the manufacturer makes a change to the configuration rules and customization options change.
The concept of replicating this customizing furniture online is unfathomable for many retailers. So retailers who sell custom furniture will offer in-store consultations for this process.
Retail staff in the showroom need to work on the fly with their clients but more often than not, they’re opting for simpler configurations. Which lessens the upsell opportunity. And that impacts your profitability in custom orders.
Pricing Customizable Furniture
If the configuration isn’t the most difficult challenge to get right 100% of the time, then pricing is the next challenge to overcome. When furniture is so highly customized, the pricing becomes more complicated. If the configuration isn’t accurate, the pricing won’t be accurate. If the configuration is correct, your salesperson still needs to have all of the manufacturer pricing information and your store’s pricing rules applied to each customization.
This process is challenging in the retail environment without taking a significant amount of customer time and energy. And with today’s in-store shopping experience limited and personalized for social distancing, time is a luxury many cannot afford.
Pricing rules change more often than the furniture configuration rules do. And your sales team needs quick access to these updates and frequent retraining to do it right.
Custom Furniture Visualization
Shoppers trust a product they can see. Unfortunately, highly customized furniture does not offer visualization in the store. While the cushion fill isn’t visual, the different configurations for fabric, finish, and detail are critical to customer satisfaction.
Custom furniture sales often lose profitability because of high return rates. One retailer said each week they receive a returned custom order because the product looked different than the customer imagined. This domino effect creates friction in the sales process. And leaves the store and salesperson less inclined to support custom furniture orders.
Many furniture retailers may use back-office software to configure custom furniture orders for their customers in the store. But to enable eCommerce successfully, you need a customer-facing custom order furniture software to give your clients. And even if it does have the bells and whistles to configure the piece accurately and price it accurately, how do you protect against returns?
59 percent of customers consider images the most important factor in their decision to make an online purchase – more important than product descriptions, reviews, or even price. E-commerce brands that want to remain competitive will have to improve their product visualization strategies or accept losing sales to better-equipped competitors. The time to move is now.
How to Sell Custom Furniture Online
For every product line that your store sells in custom, there is a chance for human error in selling the product. Those errors impact the customer experience for retailers.
We’ve covered the 3 primary challenges with selling custom furniture online. But there is a well-known furniture software that helps secure profitability and accuracy.
Using CPQ Software to Sell Online
CPQ software enables furniture retailers to sell custom order furniture online and in-store with its configure price and quote features. Paired with product visualization, CPQ software will bring profitability, increased sales, and improved accuracy to custom order sales.
This furniture ecommerce software can combine all of the retailer’s vendors into one place. CPQ software makes it possible to choose custom products, configure furniture, and get accurate quotes for customers fast. Whether the shopper is online or in the store, they can browse and buy custom furniture with ease. Plus, retailers that use CPQ software and digital product draping online get better website results. More engagement with the product means more time on site and better conversion rates.
And returns decrease because the customer sees a final product before the purchase. Visualization tools help furniture shoppers build confidence in the product they’re viewing. When your catalog is built with dynamic draping shows the many digital angles of your product, you’re giving the shopper an in-store experience online.
If you are interested in making custom furniture sales online, learn more about custom order software and how the furniture ecommerce trend is growing faster than ever.