Reimagining the digital experience for furniture brands: 3 key takeaways from DPDK Talks
Fresh on the heels of our first episode of DPDK Talks, copywriter Catherine LeBar sat down with our Chief Creative Officer, Michael Vromans, for a chat about the furniture industry. They explored how brands’ digital presence has evolved during the pandemic, the kinds of digital experiences customers expect when buying furniture, and how marketers can future-proof their strategies.
You can watch the episode in full below:
For those who want a quick overview, here are the three most important takeaways:
1. Overall, the pandemic has made furniture brands realize that they have to improve their online experience and need to be more customer-centric online
Until this past year, brick and mortar furniture stores had a substantial advantage over their online counterparts, because most people like to check out their furniture in real life. But in 2020, customers had no choice but to order everything online. People who were already familiar with ordering online ordered more, while a lot of people who may have never otherwise explored online furniture shopping found they actually liked the experience.
However, a lot of furniture brands are struggling with creating the types of experiences customers want.
These days, customers are looking for more than just a shopping cart. Today’s customer is self-sufficient, tech-savvy, and most importantly, likes to be self-reliant. They’re looking for brands that offer sophisticated and engaging online experiences.
Brands will need to increase the use of self-service tools like customer portals and adopt a user-first digital mindset. When customers can check their orders, track payments, shipping, and returns, and get personalized recommendations, it sends a very clear message that your brand understands your customers’ point of view and wants to offer them the best experience possible.
2. Customers need to be able to connect to products on a sensory level and an emotional one
Shopping for furniture is usually a very tactile experience. Customers can sit or lay on a piece in the store, touch and feel fabrics, and see different color varieties. Furniture brands must provide a multidimensional sensory experience online if they want to engage customers and ultimately drive them to purchase.
Customers want “rich content” like high-quality visuals, 360 degree spin options, and the ability to zoom in on a product’s details. Anything a furniture brand can do to help their customers visualize a purchase in their living space will help customers choose items that work for them and increase online conversions and sales.
Customers expect furniture brands to offer engaging experiences and valuable information that will make their decision-making (and their lives) easier. Things like Augmented Reality or 3D product visualization, where the customer can visualize an item in their living space, can play a key role in helping them make a purchase.
If you’re wondering what that looks like in practice, this is how we did that for some of our clients:
3. A solid UX is fundamental in shaping these online experiences
It’s crucial for furniture brands to be present where the customer is (meaning at home, online) and to offer them value at every touchpoint of their journey. Since more and more people are looking for furniture on smartphones or tablets, attractively-designed websites that are optimized for mobile are increasingly important.
The design of a website is also strongly associated with the style of a product, so it’s key that the UX reflects a similar aesthetic. Customers tend to equate the website with the product itself, and a good UX can really amplify that effect. Marketers can leverage a quality UX to significantly improve customer satisfaction and inspire and guide customer purchases.
At the end of the day, furniture brands that offer convenience to their customers and stand out with an exceptional online experience are the ones that will persevere.