e-Commerce: How stores can win in this era

How to win in an e-Commerece era

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e-Commerce is everywhere! Amazon.  Wayfair.  Overstock.com.  Furniture retailers know they’re out there and they’re coming for their sales.  Ignore this competitive threat at your own risk… but you are not without the means to compete successfully.

First, realize the scope of the problem. About 14% of all furniture sales happen online. That’s a lot – and the number is growing. BUT, that also means more than 85% of furniture sales happen at brick and mortar locations. You can build on that.

So what makes 85% of furniture shoppers choose a physical store instead of purchasing online? We’ve discovered 5 common reasons for this consumer pattern, and you can promote these advantages to draw in even more customers!

1. Convenience

Initially consumers searched online to find the lowest price.  Retail responded and price differences narrowed.  Convenience is now the primary driver of where a purchase is made.  Online stores can promise free 2 day delivery to selected members, but others can wait much longer.  Buying in-store is essentially same day delivery.  Understand your market and focus on products many of your customers want and you can win the convenience game.

2. Fewer Returns

When you shop in-store customers can touch, feel and try the products they want.  This is particularly important in the furniture category.  30% of all products purchased online are returned…only 9% of store purchases are returned.

3. Shop Local

Consumers realize that a purchase made in their community is a good thing.  Be a visible influence in your community through charities, civic organizations, etc.  No one from Wayfair will be sitting next to you at the local meeting!

4. Expert Assistance

Personal contact/interaction is preferred by most consumers.  They don’t want a hard sell, but they do like help from knowledgeable and friendly experts.  Make sure your staff is well trained.  Adopt the use of technology like hand-held devices associates can use to show consumers all their options, features and prices at the touch of a button.

5. Payment Options

Flexible payment options have become increasingly important.  Consumers want to “buy it their way” to meet their budget needs.  Offer financing and flexible payment plans in addition to credit card transactions and you will be a step ahead of the online stores.


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