It is no longer possible to deny it: the online shopping market is heavily influencing the choices of consumers and, inevitably, also those of merchants. Put simply, in the vast majority of sectors it is at this point impossible to think of carrying on your business without keeping in mind the importance of the online shopping market .
For you, who are a successful entrepreneur in the furniture sector and who have made your showroom your kingdom, the time has come to think about creating a digital version of your business . Because? Not only to keep up with the times – a sine qua non to proceed with your business – but also to spread your presence on a stage that can no longer be ignored, namely the virtual one .
So what are the correct strategies for opening an online furniture store ?
How the B2C ecommerce market in Italy is growing
A correct commercial strategy always and necessarily starts from in- depth knowledge of the scenario in which we are operating. This is why it is important that you first of all be aware of some data relating to the growth of the online shopping market destined for the end user.
In Italy, in 2016 , the value of purchases online by Italian consumers confirmed the positive trend that had already been evident over the previous years, with an increase of a further 17%. In economic terms, Italians bought online for € 19.3 billion , according to a recent report by the B2C eCommerce Observatory .
If we subtract from the question what Italian consumers have bought from foreign ecommerce sites, and at the same time add the import, that is what foreign consumers have bought from Italian ecommerce sites, we get the value of the total online sales of Italian operators , amounting to approximately € 17.5 billion : this is 19% more than what was recorded in 2015.
Confirming the trend already well defined in previous years, online stores – both retailers and offer aggregators, such as real marketplaces – now have a leading role in users’ purchasing decisions. The .com ecommerce, alone, in 2016 generated almost 60% of online sales.
As you can see, the growth and success of online shopping businesses are exponential: hard to ignore . The best strategy at this point is to take advantage of this buying wave to your advantage by structuring a winning strategy for your online furniture store .
Furniture stores: why sell online?
Furniture stores should sell online not so much to adapt to new technologies, but to the evolution of the customer’s purchasing process. Today’s customers are not those of ten, fifteen, twenty years ago. They are on average more prepared, informed about the products, their characteristics, their prices. And they acquire all this information, which was once the prerogative of industry professionals only, while sitting comfortably at their desk and surfing the internet .
To begin with, here is one of the reasons why you should be in the search results of your potential customers.
Secondly, the furniture stores that have been able to renew themselves, modernize and use the potential of digital marketing are those that, more than many others, have resisted the economic crisis , avoiding being overwhelmed.
Indeed, it is impossible not to notice that the change in customer mentality has significantly influenced the commercial strategies of the stores. Today, the customer has radically changed his way of buying, preferring a medium-low quality of the product to the advantage of lower prices, variety and convenience of the offer.
Not only that: the market has inevitably expanded , becoming less and less niche and increasingly global, wider. E- commerce allows you to intercept it more precisely, offering customers the service or product they are looking for, almost on a silver platter: just a click away .
Some ideas to open your furniture ecommerce
Let’s move on to practice: here are some ideas and food for thought to give life to your online furniture store , to complement your real showroom. Double your earning opportunities , intercept an ever-growing audience, seduce them and convince them to buy with persuasive and intelligent communication .
The online furniture market is not a new thing on the internet, yet each business has peculiarities that distinguish it from all the others and that can help it make itself attractive and recognizable .
Here is the first idea: immediately identify a way to differentiate yourself from your competitors, to make your online store unique and different from all the others. Do you have particular products, specific categories that are not easy to find? Do you have an original selection of brands? Give it the right emphasis.
If you have a lot of products available, we recommend that you offer a very extensive catalog , also in terms of categories: from furniture to furnishing accessories, from textiles to accessories and so on. With a good pricing strategy, in this way you will be able to intercept a larger portion of the audience and hit the crowd.
Alternatively, the idea for your furniture ecommerce could be based on a diametrically opposite principle: that of the vertical target . Does your strength lie in specific niche products? Set yourself as a point of reference , and intercept the public who are looking for exactly what you are selling. Compared to the previous idea, we will be faced with a quantitatively smaller, but qualitatively higher potential target . The decision of how and what to offer in your online furniture store is up to you, and must be the result of careful reflection on your products and services.
Cheap or high-end products ? Answering this question will allow you to begin shaping your prospect . However, always keep in mind that, according to a Doxa study commissioned by Ebay, in Italy alone 11 million people are willing to buy furniture products and design objects online , regardless of their cost.
Since the ecommerce trends are primarily two (purchase on the web of cheap and easy-to-find furniture products; purchase on the web of furniture products of the highest quality and high added value , intended for medium-high customers willing to pay for excellence), identify the niche in which you will be able to place yourself.
Finally, remember that starting an ecommerce business is not necessarily an economic or simple operation, since it must always take into consideration a detailed study of the market in which it will operate, of the competitors present and ready to fight, of graphic design and more functional tone of voice, of the audience to be intercepted and of the ways to hit it. In this sense, you will need the support of an agency or a professional who will be able to translate your ideas and ambitions into reality. If done right, your business could grow substantially, both in terms of orders received and revenue .
The power of the internet is now well established. It’s time to join the fray.