At Blueport, we’re constantly searching for new technologies and strategies to enable an exceptional furniture shopping experience. In an effort to understand the omnichannel furniture landscape even better, we conducted an extensive audit of top furniture retailers’ sites in our Blue(re)port: 2017 Omnichannel Furniture Benchmarking. In this report, we analyzed 104 furniture retailer and the top 50 ecommerce features to identify who is farthest along in achieving the ultimate shopping experience.
Categorizing the features we’ve audited into eight categories that encompass the furniture shopping journey, our report sets out to help retailers improve their strategy at each stage of this complex shopping process.
We are starting a new blog series that will go over each category in depth providing an overview of the stage, the website features that can help retailers succeed in each category, and examples of retailers who are doing it well. Kicking off the series, we’ll focus on the very first stage of the furniture shopping process: Engaging Shoppers.
In such a crowded ecommerce space, it’s becoming increasingly difficult to grasp the attention of your target shopper. Compounded by the fact that furniture is a highly considered purchase with a longer, more engaged shopping funnel, retailers in this category face significant challenges trying to attract new shoppers to their brand.
Additionally, shoppers are more and more are searching for objective content online early on in their shopping process to help guide their purchase decision. Browsing sites like Pinterest and Houzz have responded to this behavior, offering shoppers an avenue to browse and organize potential purchases. As a result, search engines are adapting to this new shopping behavior, presenting shoppers with relevant, objective content at the top of the search results.
This shift in top-of-funnel shopping, presents retailers with an opportunity to increase brand awareness and ensure shoppers engage with their brand early on. To achieve this, retailers need to adapt the features and strategies that provide shoppers with a variety of content and tools to easily browse and organize merchandise.
Many of the retailers that are ahead on our benchmarking list leverage site functionality that expand non-sales content and enable browsing behavior including blogs, wishlist, gift registries and idea boards. These types of features help facilitate shoppers’ search behaviors while leading them to consider specific products.
One of the easiest and most effective ways to drive traffic to your site is through a regularly updated blog that provides shoppers with relevant and engaging content. West Elm’s blog content balances between offering helpful, relevant content to their target consumer and featuring their products. The content engages shoppers and provides shoppers a helpful way of finding the products they are looking for through how-to content, videos, imagery, book recommendations and more.
Another way to engage shoppers early on is by providing site functionality that allows them to browse and save the products they like. Wishlists and idea boards offer shoppers a method of saving products they like or want for later on your site, sending ideas to family or friends from your site, building their perfect shopping cart and more.
Wayfair’s idea board is a Pinterest-like technology that allows shoppers to save products for later, visualize products together and buy when they are ready.
As helpful as this feature is, the time and resources it takes to build this type of feature may not be a realistic investment for all retailers. There are other, more low hurdle ways of attracting aspirational shoppers in addition to a blog. Online buying guides, for example, are a great way to provide shoppers with helpful, objective content as they’re considering a purchase. Levin Furniture leverages buying guides, such as this how to shop for a new mattress guide, to not only help their shoppers find the perfect mattress, but also to increase their SEO ranking.
As the furniture shopping funnel becomes increasingly complex with cross channel shopping behaviors and competing brands, features that engage shoppers will help retailers stand out in the crowd. And for furniture retailers, it’s become critical to have new, engaging content on your website to build lasting relationships with furniture shoppers. Contact us today to speak with one of our ecommerce experts or to discuss our benchmarking report more in depth.