Last week Blueport’s Chief Product Officer Andy Wolf was invited to speak on a technology panel at HFN’s Omnichannel Summit. Joined by Karl Hammes, Account Executive at Oracle + Netsuite, and Victorio Pellicano, CEO of Verenia, the panel titled “New and Emerging Technologies Helping Retailers and Manufacturers Execute Unified Commerce” brought technology leaders together to reflect on how this industry can create better shopping experiences.
What became clear among this discussion is that being a furniture retailer today has changed drastically from what it meant to be a furniture retailer in the past. At one time, being a furniture retailer meant buying merchandise for their local shopper, showcasing it in a showroom and bringing customers in through television and print ads. Today, it means so much more.
With a variety of channels, touchpoints and marketing vehicles to bring your shoppers into a store, furniture retailing today requires investments and coordination across multiple touchpoints to connect shoppers to your brand. In fact, furniture retailers are not so much selling a product anymore as they are selling an experience throughout each of these channels.
Not surprisingly, Wayfair and Amazon surfaced as the leaders in selling an experience—sparking conversation and ideas on how traditional retailers and manufacturers can adapt to compete.
While pureplays are seen leaders as leaders in this new era of retailing, traditional players actually have a leg up on pureplays to capitalize on this new approach to selling. We’ve pulled together four key tips on how traditional retailers can shift their mindset and adopt new technologies to transition their business from selling a product to selling an experience…
Focus on Bringing Your Brick-and-Mortar Advantages Online
With all of the new and emerging technologies to choose from today, it’s hard to prioritize which technologies are right for your business. Flashy, new technologies like AR and VR boasting lofty revenue claims make it difficult for retailers to focus and prioritize their technology investments.
The traditional retailers who are successful are the ones who focus on leveraging technology to amplify their native advantages. Advantages like local delivery networks and in-home services, brick-and-mortar locations, showrooms, sales associates and more are key to delivering a seamless shopping experience and differentiating from pureplays.
In fact, in our recent benchmarking report, 7 out of the 10 top performers in delivering an exceptional omnichannel experience were traditional retailers who have successfully brought their in-store advantages online.
Prioritize and Invest in Key Point Solutions to Solve Your Business Challenges
Unfortunately, there will never be one vendor that can satisfy all your business’ technology needs and provide a universal solution to all your problems. But as a technology buyer, you have a lot of control in choosing which technology is right for your company without having to throw out all your legacy systems at once.
Retailers have the opportunity to upgrade smaller point systems to gradually achieve your desired technology network. And as you move along, know that you can demand vendors to integrate with your other vendors to build this strong network, because all-in-one solutions will never satisfy all of a furniture retailers’ needs.
Data is Key to Continuously Improving the Online Customer Experience
As the furniture market becomes increasingly competitive, technology will play a pivotal role in helping retailers differentiate their brand. And the key to differentiation is through data. According to Forrester, over 75% of customers have chosen, recommended or paid more for a brand that provides a personalized service or experience.
Traditional players have a unique opportunity to combine data through offline and online efforts to create even more streamlined shopping experiences. Collecting down-to-the-customer insights from a variety of tools, including geolocation, custom product recommendations or online cart syncing will help you further improve the individual experience of shoppers and give you a leg up on competition.
Invest in the Right Technology Partner to Ensure Your Success…
The importance of having a trusted technology partner to power your ecommerce site is undeniable in today’s quickly evolving ecommerce world. You need a partner who is fully ingrained in and understands your business. A technology partner will not only provide you with the foundational technology to power your online brand, but also provide the consulting and strategy needed to ensure you invest in the right solutions for all aspects of your business. Choosing an ecommerce partner is arguably the most important decision you make as you bring your brand into the new era of furniture shopping.
As an ecommerce platform specifically for furniture retail, we love to contribute to valuable content such as this HFN panel to help furniture retailers achieve omnichannel excellence. We’ve recently released our Blue(re)port: 2017 Omnichannel Furniture Benchmarking to evaluate the furniture space and who is providing great omnichannel experiences. Please contact us today to discuss the Blueport Platform and/or our benchmarking report. We’d love to hear your thoughts.