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1 August, 2019
Sophia Lelew
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How home furnishing brands are leading in the online shopping experience

1 August, 2019
Sophia Lelew

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As fall approaches, homeware and furniture brands are highlighting their best Scandi hygge, nomadic prints and grey hues. As ever, the season trends have been unveiled on thousands of furniture and homeware sites; ready to be snapped up by eager home-lovers and design enthusiasts.

As with many other consumer products, technology continues to play a major role in helping consumers make a choice in the home and furniture retail space.

"technology continues to play a major role in helping consumers make a choice"

“Worldwide online furniture and homewares sales are expected to be close to $200 billion in 2019.” — Statista

A lucrative and ever-growing market, fashion retailers are also starting to realize the potential. Urban Outfitters, Asos, Zara and H&M are just a few of many who are now selling furniture, textiles, ceramics and home accessories online. With this increased competition, traditional furniture and homeware brands have been put to the test.

We take a look at how some brands are performing well to triumph over the likes of fashion retailers, by providing a personalized service which online consumers love.

Product Advisors: MADE and Dulux

MADE and Dulux take personalized advice online and assist their online shoppers to find their perfect products.

With just a few simple questions, the user provides valuable information about their personal taste and preferences. The product advisor then finds recommendations which are personalized to suit the user's needs. Product advisors can also be great fun for your users to interact with, as they add that special touch to the online shopping experience.

Without product advisors, users can become easily confused amongst the thousands of products a website has to offer. By minimizing the amount that users see and focusing in on what matters to their individual needs, companies increase their chances of getting a sale.

MADE Sofas, Furniture & Homeware —

63% of consumers want personalized recommendations." — RILA

1. Discover products that match your taste

Source: MADE

"Discover products that match your taste"

2. "Like 7 images that feel like home"

What we love:

  • ✓ users are provided with an array of images which portray different styles and inspiration.

  • ✓ the social media-style interface is interactive and allows users to easily scroll and give an image the thumbs up.

  • ✓ by providing visuals instead of words, it also makes it quicker for the user to envision their ideal home.

"interactive social media-style interfaces allow users to easily scroll and give an image the thumbs up"

3. "Your style is..."

What we love:

  • ✓ the feature to email ourselves or social share our results with friends.

  • ✓ personalized color, material and print recommendations

"personalized color, material and print recommendations"

4. "Products for you..."

What we love:

  • ✓ personalized product recommendations which suit the user's taste.

  • ✓ products shown within different settings to further help the user imagine their perfect home.

"personalized product recommendations which suit the user's taste."

Dulux Paint —

1. "Welcome to your world in color"

What we love:

  • ✓ Dulux place their Product Guide as the very first thing a user sees when entering their website.

  • ✓ the Product Guide caters to all types of customers: those who already know what they want and those who require assistance.

"Product Guides cater to all types of customers: those who already know what they want and those who require assistance."

2. "Pick your color palette"

What we love:

  • ✓ visually appealing

  • ✓ users can state the finer details such as location, surface and finish.

"users can state the finer details such as location, surface and finish."

3. "Popular colors and colors to be mixed"

What we love:

  • ✓ practical tips such as primary color options, as well as colors to be mixed

  • ✓ only shown the color which we stated we were interested in

"only shown the color which we stated we were interested in"

Image Search: Wayfair

Image searches help users to find products via images instead of text. They work by using query by image content (QBIC) and content-based visual information retrieval (CBVIR). Users simply upload an image they like or feel inspired by and the website search engine delivers similar products available within their product assortment. In addition, if users don't know the name of a product but simply have an image — it's a perfect way for them to identify a product name and get more information.

As the world becomes more visual and photo sharing sites like Instagram become even more popular, the image search is something which will continue to grow; eventually becoming the conventional way to search.

“Image and voice-activated search may make up 50% of all searches by 2020” — Absolunet

Wayfair Furniture & Homeware —

What we love:
  • ✓ image attributes instead of descriptive metadata to search — helpful if the user doesn't know the product name or wants to find visually similar looking products

  • ✓ user-friendly interface and easy for mobile users who can upload images from their phone galleries

Live Chat and Virtual Assitants: Nest & Dulux

Live chat functions and virtual assistants mean that you can provide your users instant feedback and support and at no extra cost for them.

"38% of consumers are more likely to buy from a company if they offer live chat support." — kayako

In comparison with traditional phone support and customer hotlines, live chat and virtual assistants are much more convenient for the majority of customers.

Live chat can provide answers quickly and has the ability to mimic natural style conversations which you would have in-store with a human sales-assistant.

Virtual assistants are the automated version of live chat tools. No man-power required: just AI and machine learning, a virtual assistant can advise users within seconds and quickly point them to the products they are looking for.

"42% of customers prefer live chat compared to 23% for email and 16% for social media or forums." — JD Power.

Nest Furniture & Homeware —

What we love:
  • ✓ by showing the face behind the chat operators, it makes the tool much more approachable and personal.

  • ✓ the integrated search engine is a more engaging way to provide answers to FAQs

Dulux Paint —

What we love:
  • ✓ users get an answer within a few clicks.

  • ✓ users have a live chat option, should the virtual assistant not give them sufficient enough advice.

Wondering why your customers are leaving your website early or simply don't make it to the cart? It could be down to the lack of personalization on your website.

Personalization tools such as Product Guides, sophisticated search engines and virtual assistants can help your customers, your customer support team and best of all, your revenue!

Provide your customers with personalized advice

Find out how your company can implement
personalized advice for all of your users.