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From Home Furnishing Business

Game On


Ease of shopping is a prime factor in consumers’ furniture buying decision making process.

By Bob George

Today’s consumer loves convenience when shopping for home furnishings.

Consumers rank ease of shopping as their sixth most important factor in decision making when buying furniture.

We all assume that price is in the forefront of the consumer’s mind. It is followed closely by selection, service, etc. as can be seen in the following chart.

However, this month’s issue is about ease of shopping, such as store location, accessibility, buying process, etc., and how the Internet can impact ease of shopping for consumers.

The destination store is a fading memory that is being replaced with smaller stores closer to major shopping areas.

Currently, there are about 28 percent of consumers lingering in the state of consideration. They are waiting for one last push to join the 6 percent who are actively shopping for home furnishings. The challenge for furniture retailers is how to make the process of shopping for and buying furniture easier.

First, the industry is making the brick-and-mortar stores more convenient. The destination store is a fading memory that is being replaced with smaller stores closer to major shopping areas. This makes it convenient to pop in to a store while on the way to PetSmart to pickup Fido from his grooming appointment before going to the soccer field.

With just a quick trip to the Internet, retailers provide digital access to their product lineup complete with any promotional offers to advance and/or intrigue consumers to visit. To the dismay of traditional retailers, often 14 percent of consumers find the ease of shopping online too enticing, overcoming the any fears that prevent purchasing via the Internet.

For those consumers who enter the store, the process must not merely duplicate the web presentation, but  it must surpass it. Tablet-equipped sales associates are able to enhance information about artfully displayed products in the store. The final purchase transaction is no longer with a behind-the-counter cashier where an exhausted consumer completes the details of the purchase. Instead, counter check out is replaced with the sales associate entering details of the transaction on an iPad or other tablet on the showroom floor. Technology provides another opportunity to increase the sale by displaying complementary add-on products like rugs, or extended warranties.

Historically, product delivery was filled with consumer guessing as to when the furniture would arrive. Thankfully, the angst can now be replaced with accurate, 10-minute intervals of furniture delivery times delivered to consumers via text. Instantaneous feedback from consumers regarding a delivery experience has become the norm, not the exception.

Don’t recognize your retail operation? Maybe you are not fulfilling an important requirement for satisfying consumer. The most successful retailers have a loyalty factor of repeat purchases within two years of a sale of more than 26 percent.

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