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Translating The InStore Experience To Online

Furniture World Magazine

Furniture Industry News Update -

By: Garrett Eastham, Chief Data Scientist, Edgecase

There is good news for furniture retailers: the surge in digital shopping is definitely not limited to fashion. Online furniture sales are going to hit $370 billion in 2017 and 52% of shoppers are now willing to buy furniture online, according to Kurt Salmon’s 2014 Consumer Shipping Survey. Furniture is a significant growth opportunity that can’t be ignored, but requires attention to detail. After all, 73% of shoppers said that shopping for furniture serves as an extension of their personality according to a survey by Mississippi State, "Consumer Attitudes and Buying Behavior for Home Furniture.”

 


It shouldn’t be surprising that shoppers feel this way: furniture makes a house a home and designing one’s home is personal and emotional. Combine this with the fact that furniture shopping doesn’t happen as frequently as buying a new pair of shoes and is usually much more expensive, and it’s no surprise that shopping for new furniture requires plenty of planning on the part of consumers.

Most furniture shoppers are on the lookout for high quality and affordability and 50% of shoppers have a specific need, according to "Consumer Attitudes and Buying Behavior for Home Furniture,” making the path to purchase rather involved. As well, many of the furniture pieces that consumers are looking for when shopping are deemed “high consideration”, particularly sofas, beds and dining tables. This means that shoppers are prone to information gathering, comparing product features, prices, and even delivery options – again, underscoring the rather lengthy path to purchase.

The personal quality of furniture buying, long path to purchase and need for detailed information makes e-commerce a challenge, but shoppers’ needs can provide a key opportunity. There are two critical pieces of data that shoppers are seeking: 1) key features of the product and, 2) retailers that carry the right set of products.

Since 77% of shoppers are not loyal to any specific retailer, according to a survey by Mississippi State, e-commerce furniture retailers are primed to earn new business on any given day. To do so, retailers need to capture shoppers early on in the buying process by offering an online experience that rivals the one in-store. We admit that translating the in-store experience to online is challenging. “Height” and “width” expressed in inches is far less meaningful than adjectives like “apartment-sized” or “small space friendly.” This is why product data is so important to the e-commerce experience.

Product data is the backbone to detailed product information. It includes detailed product “tags” that correspond to a retailer’s “categories,” allowing shoppers to search for attributes like “seating capacity” or “headboard style.” Detailed product data mirrors the depth and breadth of a knowledgeable sales associate offered in a high quality furniture showroom.

By offering detailed product data, retailers are able to offer shoppers more than standard attributes like price, brand and quality and provide the detail furniture shoppers need to find the right products. Values like “style” and “size” are also important in the personal furniture shopping experience, and retailers who offer them are able to guarantee that shoppers have the information they need to make a good decision, purchasing a piece of furniture they plan to keep for years to come.

Allowing shoppers to filter by “seating capacity” when looking for a new couch generates 50% higher revenue per visit. Filters like “headboard design” and “mattress top” drives an 89% increase in average order value for shoppers looking for new bedroom furniture, according to Edgecase research. The numbers don’t lie: great product data leads to great conversion.

Most furniture shoppers don’t experience buyer’s remorse, unless they feel they didn’t have enough information to make the purchase. To give them the insight they need, successfully educate and delight shoppers by offering detailed product information. After all, better data drives better results.


More about Edgecase: Edgecase empowers retailers and brands with the enriched product data and actionable insights necessary to improve product findability and relevancy - fueling an inspiring shopping experience. The company’s cloud-based product intelligence platform brings together the best of machine intelligence and human curators to create, manage and optimize product attribute data at the scale, speed, and quality retailers demand. The power of Edgecase data is changing the game for retail and brand leaders such as Pier1, Lancôme, Crate and Barrel and Urban Decay.
 
More about Garrett Eastham, Chief Data Scientist and Co-founder: Garrett is a marketing technologist with a knack for helping leading brands create, capture, and deliver value from their digital consumer experiences. He played a key role in developing the big data and analytics initiatives at Bazaarvoice. At Edgecase, Garrett is focused on leveraging machine intelligence to help retailers understand how product data fuels shopper behavior and ecommerce results. Garrett holds a BS in Computer Science from Stanford University, where his research work in semantic search and human computer interaction (HCI) formed the theoretical basis for the Edgecase solution and architecture, and he has been tapped to speak publicly as an expert on these topics. He has multiple patents pending in the areas of web analytics, data mining, and recommender systems.
 

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