Furniture has recently become one of the fastest growing segments of U.S. online retail. This year, U.S. retail eCommerce sales of furniture and home furnishings are expected to reach $50 billion.
Home furnishings is also one of the fastest growing categories on Amazon. According to data from One Click Retail, furniture sales on Amazon grew 51% year over year in 2017. However, even though more people are shopping online, 80% of U.S. Internet users prefer to buy furniture in stores instead of digitally. Furniture retailers still have the upper hand, they just have to play it well.
Since buying furniture can be a big investment, a big part of furniture shopping involves actually touching and seeing the furniture. According to KPMG’s Global Online Consumer survey, 56% of respondents prefer to shop in stores instead of online because they want to see/touch an item first. Brick-and-mortar furniture retailers can maximize their value and increase sales by using their physical footprint to pave the way for continuous growth.
Expanding retail operations with technology may seem challenging and scary, however with the right tools in place, furniture retailers can easily manage their transition into digital, giving consumers multiple shopping, fulfillment, and delivery options. While furniture retailers already have a system in place to facilitate deliveries, traditional delivery management systems are not equipped to handle the growing complexity of the retail market or customer demands for fast and seamless deliveries.
For example, furniture retailers use multiple carriers with no single, cohesive location to access all delivery information. Poor visibility into the delivery network prevents retailers from working effectively and hinders communication. Limited communication prevents delivery transparency and frustrates customers looking for assistance. Long delivery windows keep customers waiting hours for their deliveries. Traditional delivery management systems are time-consuming and inefficient, often creating many problems leaving customers with more questions than answers.
However, using logistics management software to oversee deliveries can increase efficiency, streamline operations, and improve customer satisfaction. With a simplified, real-time overview of their entire logistics operation, retailers can track, monitor, and analyze all of their deliveries from a single location. Retailers can quickly identify problems and inform customers of any delivery delays. Flexible time windows give customers more control by letting them decide their delivery times. With real-time tracking and ETAs, customers know exactly where their orders are and when they will arrive.
While furniture retailers have the advantage now, they must act quickly if they want to keep it. Omnichannel fulfillment can help retailers succeed in the shifting retail landscape. Using stores as mini-fulfillment centers can increase online sales and lower shipping costs by giving online shoppers cheaper, faster, and more convenient delivery options. Using the right logistics technology solution will give retailers the tools they need to manage deliveries efficiently, increase customer satisfaction and loyalty, and maintain their advantage in an increasingly competitive market.