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2016 Predictions for the Future of Furniture Ecommerce

By Blueport Team Dec 20, 2015 7:00:27 PM

As 2015 is nearly behind us, we’re looking ahead to 2016 and what it will bring for the furniture industry online. We’re counting down two predictions for 2016 and what it will mean for furniture ecommerce. Hint: it’s all about consumers, more than ever.

#1 Consumer-Driven Experiences Are Here to Stay

It comes as no surprise that consumers can still make or break a retail operation within minutes or worse, seconds, at the press of a button. If you are a retailer who is still selling furniture exclusively in stores, there’s no question you are missing out, especially with the Millennial generation becoming the top buyers of furniture. Their formative years in the Internet age, and nuanced shopping behaviors will continue to shape the ecommerce landscape. Sucharita Mulpuru, Vice President and Principal Analyst at Forrester, summarized what is shaping consumer expectations online in a recent webinar by Internet Retailer & instartlogic:

  1. The need for speed
  2. Price competition
  3. Mobile moments
  4. Connectivity
  5. New customer endpoints

Shoppers, trained by pure-plays like Amazon, have high expectations for furniture retailers online. They expect retailers will allow them to shop how they want to shop, whether it’s online, in person, or via multiple devices and provide quick and seamless delivery once a purchase is made. Furniture shoppers also demand the same visibility and transparency of pricing online, an excellent mobile-first experience (as seen in a 67.9% growth in mobile sales year over year from ’14 – ’15 across the entire retail industry), and the ability to find the same information across devices until they are ready to make a purchase.

As evidenced by the results of the recent Black Friday/Cyber Monday holiday weekend, America’s shopping habits have surely evolved. Online sales grew 25% on Thanksgiving, according to Adobe’s Digital Index, followed by a 14% increase retail sales on Black Friday, compared to 12% on Cyber Monday.

#2 Tapping Into Consumer Behavior Will Make Your Furniture Business Soar

As we’ve mentioned before, the furniture industry is largely untapped, representing now just 5% of revenue from online sales in a $100B industry. New data provided recently by Furniture|Today reports that 70% of furniture retailers have not entered ecommerce in a meaningul way.

The minority of furniture retailers that are listening to consumers and catering to their evolved expectations are seeing the benefits of creating a seamless, omnichannel shopping experience, especially in this category where stores still play an integral role. Furniture retail clients on the Blueport Platform for example have seen an increase year over year in ecommerce sales through the major holidays this fall.

With recent technological improvements on Blueport’s Platform, including responsive design, we see more and more shoppers turning to mobile to both research and purchase furniture. Our retailers over the holiday weekend saw an 18% aggregate increase in mobile phone visits YoY from Thanksgiving through Cyber Monday weekend, resulting in a 198% increase in revenue from smartphones.

Whether furniture retailers are looking for distinct ecommerce websites or looking to sell their furniture through a marketplace like Furniture.com, the opportunities abound as there continues to be more seismic improvements across the industry for retailers of all sizes.

From all of us at Blueport, we hope you’ve enjoyed your holidays so far and look forward to successful ecommerce days ahead as we kick off 2016.

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