From Way Day to Amazon: Is Your Furniture Product Content Ready for the Digital Age?
By Kerry Young on Apr 25, 2018
Today is Way Day – A new shopping holiday declared by online furniture retailer Wayfair. The company is offering doorbusters along with deep discounts and free shipping on over 70,000 products. This tactic follows similar retail holidays like Amazon Prime Day, aimed at surging e-commerce sales.
As Wayfair is proving, in this age of digital disruption, the ability for businesses to adapt to changing consumer behavior and leverage technology throughout the purchasing journey is separating leaders from laggards. For example, Furniture Today points out that Wayfair has invested in emerging technology like augmented reality (AR) apps that help customers see products in their very own space. Wayfair is delivering a digital experience that wins sales.
So, how can those in the furniture and home goods market amp up their digital presence and compete with product content?
Focus on Content Curation and Channel Convergence
Despite the shifting marketplace, the percentage of furnishing providers focused on a digital strategy remains relatively small. On the flip side, this means the opportunity to differentiate is strong.
In our new report for the Furnishings Market, we talk about the “Five C’s” of utilizing a Product Information Management (PIM) solution to achieve digital transformation. These five key areas help furniture and home goods providers to leverage centralized product information to meet the needs of a changing consumer base (made up largely of millennials). A great place to start is focusing on compelling product content and channel convergence.
Compelling Product Content
According to Forrester Research, providing differentiated digital experiences relies not only on product data, but more notably, curated product content. This is especially true for the furnishings industry, where consumers want to fully grasp the look and feel of the items they purchase, particularly online and for big-ticket items. A PIM solution with integrated Digital Asset Management (DAM) enables manufacturers and retailers to offer product demonstrations, videos, and multiple high-quality photos to help consumers make informed purchases. This is true whether the consumer is on a manufacturer’s website, Amazon product page, Wayfair app, etc.
Furthermore, the rapid expansion of marketing channels today means your customers see your products promoted via Google, your website, through social media, online marketplaces, etc. Therefore, it’s harder than ever to ensure consistent and accurate product information across channels. Through a PIM solution, manufacturers and retailers can ensure that verified, up-to-date product details and specifications are shared seamlessly across all touchpoints. A central repository of product information also makes updates to product details and new product launches a quick, seamless process.
Converging Traditional and Emerging Channels
Furniture and home goods providers must leverage product content to meet consumers in the channel of their choice. This means converging traditional channels like brick-and-mortar stores and catalogs with digital channels including e-commerce and mobile apps.
One way a PIM solution helps retailers and manufacturers is by facilitating product research in-store, online and via mobile devices. For example, Forrester reports that the most significant role of a manufacturer’s website is providing product information to support the customers’ purchasing journey. Product information can be utilized through tools that help shoppers determine the correct size, color, etc.; upselling, cross-selling, or product recommendations; and creating wish lists and product preferences that deliver a personalized experience. With PIM, product information is also more granular, which helps improve the searchability of items.
Furniture providers can also leverage a PIM solution to effectively deliver expanded fulfillment options. More consumers are utilizing “buy online, pick up in store” options to save on shipping costs. Customers often check out product features, options and availability online first before coming to an actual retail location; or research options on-the-go through their mobile device. With PIM, you can assure customers of accurate data on inventory levels and availability, even down to providing the aisle number of the product in the store.
Emerging technology is also helping in this space. For example, leveraging AR and Virtual Reality (VR) to create a new shopping experience. By engaging the consumer through a visual, real-time representation of products on the shelf, retailers can tell their brand stories in each and every store, and ultimately drive more customers from online to in-store for an immediate sales lift.
Get the Latest Furniture and Home Goods Market Report
From initial product discovery to research and fulfillment, a PIM solution aids in getting the right product to the right customer at the right time. In the digital age, this helps win sales, build loyalty, and reduce the rate of returns.
To explore the rest of the “Five C’s” including how to offer Configurable Products with PIM and transform your Catalogs for the digital age, download the EnterWorks report, “Spotlight on the Furnishings Market: How to Drive Digital Transformation with PIM.”
About the author
Kerry Young joined EnterWorks in 2006 when Ennovative, Inc., the multi-channel publishing software company he co-founded, was acquired by EnterWorks. He directs EnterWorks’ operations and leads EnterWorks’ professional services and consulting organization, ensuring effective customer implementations and ongoing success. Mr. Young brings more than 25 years of technology and business management experience to EnterWorks, having served as CTO for a subsidiary of the Dow Chemical Company, and earlier as VP, Information Technology for Marshall Industries, a $1.7 billion industrial electronics distributor. He previously managed information systems for a subsidiary of McDonnell Douglas Corporation. Mr. Young holds a B.S. degree in Computer Science from Cal Poly, San Luis Obispo and an M.B.A. from California State University Fullerton.
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