The Omnichannel Challenge – Where to Focus Your Valuable Internal I/T Resources
By Blueport Team Jan 24, 2019 5:23:57 AM
The Times, They Are a-Changin’
For most people, the internet is an inescapable part of everyday life. We use it to communicate, to keep track of our busy schedules, and increasingly, to buy the things we want and need. It’s become so easy to access the internet from nearly anywhere that it’s now counterintuitive to begin a search for products or services by reaching for the phone book (what’s that?!) or driving to the mall.
With this in mind, it seems almost unthinkable that with the pervasiveness of the internet and the sharp rise in ecommerce sales, 43% of all furniture retailers still do not have an ecommerce enabled website, as noted by Furniture Today’s 2018 Furniture Store Performance Report that was available at last year’s Leadership Conference. And with pure-play online retailers like Amazon and Wayfair investing heavily into the sales of furniture on their respective marketplaces, the decision to not invest in ecommerce for a furniture retailer will prove to be a fatal one.
But for tried and true furniture retailers, the pressure of preserving a legacy business and trying to grow are compounded by the uncertainty of what these new online commerce tools may do to cause a retailer to fall behind if the wrong decisions are made.
In a recent post, we referenced a statement made by Keith Koenig of City Furniture during a CEO panel discussion at last year’s Furniture Today Leadership Conference. Addressing a room full of furniture retailers and manufacturers he stated, “We’re all in the technology business, we just happen to be selling furniture.” The statement certainly rang true, but it also hinted at the unspoken reality that although investing in technology is now an undeniable prerequisite to remain competitive, furniture retailers are not experienced, digital technologists.
The Right Technology Experience Matters
There was a time when hiring ‘an I/T guy’ who helped update the company website, make sure email was working, and handle support calls with your POS provider was enough to get by. Today, there are far too many technology tools being used throughout a furniture retail organization (e.g. – POS, ERP, website, WMS, PIM, etc.) for any one person, or even a small team of people, to manage effectively if the intention is to remain a market leader and grow.
Most successful furniture retailers have real expertise around product sourcing, logistics, and store operations where they have decades of experience. But let’s face it, most furniture retailers are not experts in the digital space and lack the internal ecommerce experience needed to plan and execute solutions that are on par with the likes of Amazon and Wayfair.
The retailers that try to tackle their online opportunities themselves typically fail for two reasons. First, they don’t hire or partner with people that have deep expertise in building and operating omnichannel furniture technology businesses. Second, they try to solve their omnichannel opportunity by making heavy internal I/T resource investments, which only take dollars away from antiquated legacy systems that need critical attention. After toiling long and hard internally to build an ecommerce solution, they’re left with a sub-par platform that incrementally adds new features which are already behind the curve by the time they’re released.
Instead, companies should focus their internal I/T resources on the aspects of their business that they know best, such as legacy systems and the overall store experience, while partnering with a technology firm that spends every day focusing on driving omnichannel retail for furniture retailers and who can provide an out of the box solution that vaults their brand into the top ten and keeps them there.
Why Partner with Blueport?
With over half of consumers now starting their furniture buying experience online before ever entering a store, selecting the right technology partner is a significant decision.
There are several important factors that must be considered when determining which solution will best serve the business now and in the future.
- Will they grasp the unique aspects of the retail furniture business?
- How do their current ecommerce customer online sites compare to the rest of the industry?
- Do they currently provide the most important online features for furniture retailers?
- Can they integrate with my in-store systems?
The Blueport platform has been built specifically to meet the unique needs of the retail furniture industry. Launching an ecommerce store on the Blueport platform gives retailers all the most valuable features that drive furniture sales completely out of the box from day one. Everything from product bundles with highly configurable product options to geo-specific promotions with pricing and selection sensitivities, Blueport understands the furniture industry at our DNA level. Our annual Benchmarking Report ensures that we focus on the right features in enabling your Omnichannel business online.
So the best approach to optimizing your I/T resources is to have them tackle your core systems and enable any technologies that are unique to your brand. And then to outsource with Blueport to build a best-in-class website that will fuel your omnichannel business for years to come and be the envy of your competitors.
The clock is ticking. Call us today and schedule a discovery session to learn more.
Blueport Commerce is the leading cloud e-commerce platform for furniture. Brick and mortar retailers use our cloud platform to build amazing omnichannel websites, offer better shopping experiences, and drive sales online and in their stores. To learn more, visit www.blueport.com or connect with us on LinkedIn, Facebook, Twitter, or through our resource center.