E-commerce conversion rates in the furniture industry trail behind those of other sectors. But some of the market’s key players are employing technology to remarkable effect, achieving levels far above average.
Research has found e-commerce conversion rates in the furniture sector to be as low as 0.5% on average, compared to 2.25% for all industries. Cart abandonment rates are also extremely high. But now some of the market’s biggest players have found innovative ways to buck the trend.
Furniture giants like Overstock.com and Wayfair have achieved online conversion rates of 3.1% and 2.9%,respectively. The secret to their success? Understanding how to cater to online buyer demands. This article will share four industry tips which can help furniture e-commerce businesses increase their conversion rates.
1. Provide a personalized shopping experience
For most customers, furniture is a high-value purchase. As such, they buy products when they are confident of their choices, satisfied with the quality, and have sufficient funds.
In a physical store, making these buying decisions is easier. Customers can contact a salesperson to discover a product that matches their vision. Furthermore, they might take advantage of in-store discounts and get custom furniture made, based on their tastes. This contributes to a convenient, personalized in-store shopping experience.
Today, customers expect such personalization during their online shopping experience as well. McKinsey finds that 71% of consumers expect personalization in marketing efforts, while 72% expect businesses to recognize them as individuals and know what they want.
Fortunately, online furniture brands can offer personalization in many ways. This includes personalized emails and birthday offers, deploying chatbots to answer customer queries, and showing product recommendations based on past searches. These efforts make the shopping experience convenient and enjoyable, two factors that can help to drive conversions.
2. Leverage augmented reality to help customers make confident purchases
Personalization can help create an enjoyable online shopping experience, but it cannot mimic the tactility of an in-store experience. This is where augmented reality (AR) comes into play.
AR enables customers to visualize products in their homes. They can also view the product from different angles and in different locations, which increases customer engagement and helps them make more confident purchasing decisions.
It’s safe to say, therefore, that AR should be at the top of the list for brands aiming to increase their conversion rates. The good news is that it has never been easier or more cost-effective to implement.
Brands can partner with companies like Enhance to create engaging, web-based AR customer experiences. All they need to do is provide 3D models of their products and Enhance will take care of the rest.Brands can then integrate the AR experience into any online platform to engage prospective buyers.
3. Integrate user-generated content
As previously mentioned, furniture is a high-value purchase. Naturally, customers want to know if the physical product will match the picture when shopping online.
A report by Nielsen found that 92% of customers seek out reviews from existing buyers when deciding on a purchase.Some even turn to user-generated content (UGC) before buying a product.
Since these reviews are not written by paid-for brand reps, they can possess a greater persuasive power. One study suggests brands can enjoyan 8.5% lift in conversion rates when a customer is served UGC. Riviera Maison, meanwhile, observed an 11% increase in customer interaction rates, owing to UGC.
4. Optimize mobile version
According to research, users spend a third of their waking life on mobile apps. Moreover, they spend 7x more time on apps than browsers, while mobile apps deliver 4x higher conversion rates than mobile web.
Even so, many e-commerce furniture retailers offer non-optimized mobile apps. Common problems include images not appearing to scale, slow loading times, or toggle buttons displaying incorrectly.
All of this makes for an inconvenient shopping experience, with a negative impact on conversion rates. Brands looking to improve conversions by optimizing their mobile platforms should focus on three things: a smooth user experience, providing relevant information, and easy navigation.
Top 3 furniture e-commerce sites with the highest conversion rates
Taking a closer look at the brands that outpace the industry average – and how they’ve achieved it.
Overstock has the highest reported conversion rate in the sector at 3.1%, and converts 11x more desktop visits than IKEA. The two main reasons for this are the brand's focus on personalization and creating immersive experiences.
The American furniture giant partnered with Braze to integrate personalization into buyer journeys. Customers received alert emails whenever there was a price drop for a recently viewed product, and were also contacted when their product was about to go out of stock. Through these efforts, the company increased its furniture e-commerce conversion rates by 21%.
Overstock also saw a significant lift in mobile conversions with its AR feature. Launched in 2017, and 2018 on mobile, customers could use the product in multiple ways, including visualizations which allowed them to judge how potential purchases would lookin their intended spaces.
IKEA reports a cart conversion rate of 2.2%. This can be attributed to the success of the IKEA Place app and UGC. The IKEA Place app enables users to visualize furniture in their homes through AR, using just their phones – a simple but effective innovation with proven impact on the bottom line.
An essential part of buying IKEA furniture online is assembling it at home. As such, IKEA encourages its users to share their experiences of building their products. This helps potential customers visualize how they will receive their products after placing an order, and also shows them how easy assembling their own furniture can be. With all this information, prospective buyers can make better-informed buying decisions, improving conversion rates.
Vox integrated UGC into various parts of its buyer journey and increased its conversion rates by 18.8%. First, the brand segmented its audience based on lifestyle. Then it created specific content for each segment.
This initiative sparked a customer discussion and soon resulted in buyers sharing pictures of VOX furniture and how it fit their lifestyle. Moreover, the brand displayed these pictures on the website and the brand's photobook, where prospective buyers could access them to help inform their own buying decisions.
Furniture e-commerce conversion rates may have traditionally lagged those of other industries, but many top players have succeeded in boosting their conversions through their consumer-focused approaches. Businesses that want to grow their revenue need to act decisively, employing innovative tactics to keep up with the market.
Partnering with companies such as Enhance will enable them to seamlessly integrate memorable immersive experiences into their customer journeys, boosting conversion rates and driving sales.