E-commerce is constantly evolving; it’s the nature of the beast. An estimated 1.8 billion people worldwide purchase goods online. Popular web stores have made customers’ life trouble-free and reliable e-commerce platforms have let entrepreneurs breathe easy.
However, this also poses the challenge of tough market competition to e-retailers. Since the e-commerce pool is flooded with many players, it takes a lot of effort to cut the noise.
So how could you be doing that? Maybe with good or better products than others? Or decent logistics? Or perhaps an unforgettable shopping experience through your well-equipped storefront?
Even before you start thinking about creating a storefront it’s important to decide what you want to sell. This decision is also important to choose the kind of e-commerce software you will need.
If you want to try your hands selling clothes or fashion wear, then a trendy, colourful web store with good search filters can work for you. But just in case you want to sell home or office furnishings then you need something that reflects your core business.
Back then, people restricted online shopping to products that were easily packable and shipped. When Amazon was launched, it only offered books on sale. Going forward it started selling pretty much everything. Go back a couple of years and no one would have thought of purchasing cots or dining sets online.
But this trend gradually shifted. According to Statista’s Digital Market Outlook, worldwide online furniture and homewares sales were close to $200 billion in 2019.
A lucrative business, isn’t it? So if you already run your web store or are planning to cut the ribbon sometime soon, let’s see what it takes to create a storefront that could fill your customers with awe!
Must-have features for an online furniture store
1. Comprehensive Product Descriptions
Remember those enthusiastic salespersons who always assisted you when you stepped into a traditional store? As store representatives, they gave you the desired information and attended to your queries.
But when shoppers go online, they have to rely on product descriptions only. To make your buyers’ decision easy and quick, you can provide detailed product descriptions about the products listed on your store.
Appropriate details about the type of design, quality of wood, materials used, dimensions, colour and furniture brand will give them proper clarity about what they are about to purchase.
It is also a good idea to incorporate images taken from different angles. Nothing can be more appealing than a picture of the fitment in a well-fashioned room. This will give the buyers an instant feel of how that particular piece will look for real.
2. Product Catalogue
An ideal e-commerce web store should be such that it replaces customers’ need to visit a physical store in person. Its set up should be such that shoppers can easily look and browse what they want.
You can provide this experience to your shoppers with a good e-commerce platform. There are in-built features that allow customers the ease of navigation besides other options for a clear-cut, intuitive flow for shoppers to follow.
A reliable online solution will also allow you to effectively manage your product catalogue by providing options such as search bar at the top, main product categories beneath it and the related items in the description area.
3. Upsell and Cross-sell products
Go back to a traditional store again. When you step inside the store-representative will try offering you a better version or furniture brand than the one in question. Some enthusiastic shopkeepers will offer you several other products that are indirectly related to what you are about to buy. This is called upselling and cross-selling of products and for your web store you can do just the same.
Say a customer comes looking for a small coffee table. Once he has seen all the images and is about to check out, you can show him other products that are slightly better and costs more.
Likewise, you can also recommend other relevant products that they can possibly buy along with the coffee table. This could be chairs, bean bags, table accessories, etc.
Upselling and cross-selling has been a common phenomenon in the e-commerce market these days. This feature on the storefronts has been a successful marketing strategy to boost sales.
4. Product Review Section
Swallow the truth. Nowadays, customers will not shop from your web store until and unless they read your reviews and feedback from shoppers who have previously bought furniture from you.
They need to ensure that what you are selling is worth their money and the service you promise is flawless.
Why not take this opportunity to grow your business? Online reviews are an excellent tactic for ‘word of mouth’. Experts also suggest incorporating video reviews along with ‘how-to-use’ tutorials of different products with elaborate personal experiences.
5. Subscription Box
If you are already running an online furnishing store, you know how difficult it is to include all designs into a single e-store. The downside of this is, that once customers are unable to find their choice of furniture product, they might make a no-show forever.
A newsletter through a guided procedure of subscription is one of the best ways to stay connected to your customers and shoppers. This way you can send them auto-updates on fresh arrivals, announce deals and discounts and build your sales strategy.
A modern-day e-commerce solution should be able to help you with this. All you need to do is craft compelling messages and shoot!
6. Transparent Shipping Options
Unusually high shipping charges is one reason why e-retailers have to deal with the issue of cart abandonment. Surprisingly, an e-commerce platform can help you with this!
There is a flock of customers who hop from store to store looking for freebies or free shipping. While you may not be able to always provide that option, you can still have transparent shipping policies to earn their loyalty.
You can provide them with an estimated shipping total during the early stages of the purchase cycle. This will keep the shoppers informed about how much they need to pay for shipping and the cost will not strike them as a sudden jolt.
7. Mobile-first Approach
Nearly 70% of online shoppers browse through their smartphones. Hence, it’s much better to apply the mobile-first approach for your furniture business from the start.
This way your customers will be able to navigate your storefront from their mobile phones and will be able to shop from anywhere at any point in time.
One thing that you need to take care of here is site responsiveness. i.e. whether your web store is handling all the features and functions of an e-store without a glitch.
A well-built, mobile-friendly storefront built using an e-commerce software will enrich the user experience and increase your brand equity.
8. Effortless Checkout Process
Alas! One more very common cart abandonment in the virtual world.
Online shopping is all about giving shoppers a quick, hassle-free experience. But just like brick and mortar stores, if your online furnishing store also makes the checkout procedure boring and tedious, then what’s the point?
Keep the checkout procedure for your furniture store, simple and easy. Give your customers navigation instructions that are clear and easy to follow.
You might also want to keep the process of filling out online forms, creating accounts, etc. for later. Guest checkout is so much more convenient and will make your customers checkout with a smile.
So how can you build a web store that is not only aesthetically appealing but also functional and provides your users a swift navigation experience? The best and the quickest way is to get technical support from an e-commerce platform and build your store using its rich end-to-end solutions.
A good solution should be able to provide all the above-mentioned features in no time. Using its various readily-available tool you can have your store up and running in a few days.
The more features you add to your storefront, the easier it becomes for your customers to navigate and shop. And just so you know, the kind of browsing experience you provide directly affects your sales figure. Can we say a good e-commerce solution can lead you towards better sales? Without a doubt!
What’s the best way to choose an ideal e-commerce platform from so many options in the market? Well, go ahead and check the features by taking a free trial before you make up your mind. After all, nothing sounds more convincing than trying it one by yourself!