Challenges furniture businesses are facing – and tips on how to solve them
With brands engaging heavily in direct mail and digital marketing campaigns to attract new customers and lead them into their showrooms – the furniture industry has never been more competitive.
As advancements in technology have propelled e-commerce forward, online webshops have created new avenues for consumers to shop for furniture. Emerging from the e-commerce world, the digital landscape has also led to new challenges – customers have lost the ability to touch and view furniture products firsthand.
Although not the only one, this has by far been the biggest retail business pain point that brands need to solve. Thankfully, for each of the points, there is a solution involving creativity and innovative ways to embark on the road to success.
8 challenges the furniture industry faces on a day-to-day basis are:
- Dynamic advancements in e-commerce and technology
- The consumers need to physically see the products
- Being different from competitors (online and in-store)
- Distance/online training the staff
- Failing to recognize that brand perception and product quality is everything
- Consumers’ need for inspiration, education, and guidance
- The everchanging and evolving customer journey
- Consumers’ focus on sustainability
Dynamic advancements in e-commerce and technology
Consumer expectations have changed drastically over the years. Almost 80% of consumers expect brands to know them and seek to fulfill their expectations. Addressing and understanding consumers’ expectations can be a deciding factor between maintaining and growing your customer base or losing customers to other brands, i.e., competitors. Embracing new technologies can be either a great benefit or a great disadvantage. Brands that have embraced new technologies have developed intuitive and attractive e-commerce shops that satisfy retail business pain points and deliver outstanding customer experiences. If brands wish to change, they need to face their lack of understanding of the new ever-changing digital landscape.
Because of these new advancements in e-commerce and technology, making the necessary changes is also far more cost-effective. Technical and 3D solutions can now showcase your furniture in amazing, photorealistic detail, at a fraction of the cost of professional photography.
The consumers need to physically see the products
Furniture used to be the type of product that many thought could never be sold online successfully. Presenting furniture in a manner that is as close to the real thing as possible solves this retail business challenge.
Being different from competitors (online and in store)
Brands need to discover and engage in new strategies to remain competitive to stand out from others in the industry. Whether online or in a store delivering an outstanding customer experience is what ultimately makes the difference. Knowing your audience means you’ll also be better equipped with the knowledge and tools to meet and exceed their expectations. Whether it is by going out of your way to developing positive and lasting interactions with customers in a physical store setting or by utilizing advanced 3D solutions, you must focus once again on delivering an outstanding customer experience at every step of the customer journey.
Training staff from a distance
In the age of the Covid-19 pandemic, the remote workforce has increased exponentially, although the concept is obviously not new. Working remotely does not come without challenges either; many brands were unprepared to adequately train staff online. Effective communication, creating company culture, fostering engagement are just some of the faced issues.
Working on solving these challenges is not only of importance to ensure daily operations continue to function productively and properly, but also to ensure that the customer base is receiving the best possible service and attention as well.
Using online learning technologies, creating training modules, and encouraging communication between employees and managers at all levels of the organization serves to enrich the company culture, establish trust, and ensure that remote workers are provided with the tools they need to successfully engage customers in a positive manner.
Failing to recognize that brand perception and product quality is everything
Marketing managers and brand leaders in the furniture industry often don’t take the time to really think about consumers’ perceptions of their products and services. It is extremely important to be aware of your brand perception as it is a key element in the development of the customer journey map.
If you cannot visually showcase your furniture products online, it is somewhat difficult to establish a positive brand perception. Thankfully, today, technology does allow for brands to stand out online, which permits you to go to market quickly and cost-effectively.
Consumers’ need for inspiration, education, and guidance
Engaging with your customers across several social media platforms, you can improve brand perception, stand out from competitors, and help customers pick the right products. Creating images and other marketing assets that inspire your target audience is important.
The everchanging and evolving customer journey
The Internet today allows customers to research brands and products heavily before making their final purchasing decision.
All points along the customer journey need to be cohesive and continual, helping the customer to move effortlessly from one point to the next simultaneously the pertinent information that addresses a challenge to the next. Doing so communicates that you are in touch with the customer; that you are equipped to meet their expectations and fulfill their needs, and, that you understand customers’ needs and expectations.
Consumers’ focus on sustainability
Brands that practice sustainability is a growing force in all industries, and the furniture industry is no exception. Customers now no longer want only a good quality product; they much rather prefer products from brands that maintain a corporate philosophy and practices that also align with their own values. There are many benefits to producing sustainable furniture, not the least of which is tapping into a growing market of consumers that exclusively seek such products.
Brands that make the effort to face these challenges head-on and solve customer challenges will ultimately be able to establish themselves as a recognizable force in the industry, and a brand of choice for the consumer market.