Compete to Win in Furniture Ecommerce
Leverage your in-store advantages to create a best-in-class online experience.
A seismic shift in furniture shopping behavior is pushing furniture retailers to catch up with other retail categories online.
According to Forrester Research  , furniture purchased online is growing at a rate of 14% annually and will reach 7.6% of total category sales in 2018. Today, over 80% of shoppers research furniture online before purchase, making your website the front door to your brand. Millennials are even more accustomed to shopping and purchasing online, trained by leading retailers in other categories to expect an exceptional, seamless experience that allows them to research and buy furniture through any channel they choose.
Most furniture retailers today are aware of this consumer shift and the importance of creating a seamless shopping experience across channels. But despite the evidence, most furniture retailers have barely scratched the surface online. As highlighted in a recent article by Dana French featured in this publication  , 88% of all furniture stores have a website, but only 30% of these are ecommerce enabled. Said another way, 74% of all furniture retailers do not offer ecommerce – the basis of modern, omnichannel retail.
Even the largest furniture retailers in the U.S. are falling behind. In an annual proprietary benchmarking study of the leading conventional retailers  , Blueport Commerce found that only 69% of North America’s leading furniture retailers are ecommerce enabled. While a majority of top furniture retailers, this percentage pales in comparison to most retail categories in which 100% of top retailers have been ecommerce enabled for quite some time.
So why is furniture so far behind? Quite simply, bringing a furniture store online—as most retailers have come to realize—comes with unique challenges. Selling furniture online requires careful coordination with a complicated network of systems and processes involving merchants, salespeople, stores, warehouses and delivery teams—all of which can be extremely difficult to translate into a website experience.
At the same time, translating these systems and processes online the right way brings to light the significant advantages furniture retailers bring to their shoppers, including the ability to touch and feel in a store, and fast, local delivery and service.
So what’s a retailer to do? On one hand, it’s clear that ecommerce is the foundation of a modern, omnichannel retail experience. On the other, the key to capturing this opportunity is a highly complex technology challenge that most furniture retailers (and ecommerce providers) weren’t set up to handle.
Seeing retailers wrestle with this challenge, Blueport began a benchmarking effort in 2014, analyzing traditional furniture retailers with over $50M in sales and their adoption of omnichannel technology.
We work with many of the largest retailers in furniture. Blueport’s cloud-based ecommerce platform allows these retailers to deploy best in class features quickly and efficiently on their websites. As a result, we have great visibility into what features really make a difference for furniture and the industry’s adoption rate for those features.
At a summary level, this benchmarking makes three things clear:
- The features that bring a brick and mortar retailer’s advantages online are critical to online success.
- Bringing these advantages online has historically required a massive investment in people and software that only the largest furniture retailers could afford.
- Today, purpose-built cloud solutions like Blueport are making best-in-class online retail accessible to more and more furniture retailers.
To learn more, download Blueport Commerce’s 2016 Furniture Ecommerce Benchmark —an analysis of Blueport’s annual proprietary study of the nation's leading Furniture Retailers’ websites and the top features and trends that are driving furniture ecommerce sales.
 Forrester state of online retail 2013 –2018.
 “Television still dominates ad budgets; newspaper continues to shrink,” by Dana French, featured in the November 30th –December 6th, 2015 issue of Furniture|Today.
 Blueport Commerce, 2016 Furniture Ecommerce Benchmark
Most Viewed Articles
Related Content By Author
We help furniture retailers make furniture shopping easy. Our technology enhances – rather than replaces – the store experience. We marry the best of online with the advantages of stores, letting people shop for and buy furniture easily as they move seamlessly between channels, and buy where they are most comfortable.
A natural strategy for youth beds