Local Brick-and-Mortar, E-Commerce Platform, and Self-Branded Online Store Compared
While in-person furniture reviews remain important, relying solely on local stores is insufficient in today’s competitive market.
Bed, Bath, and Beyond, which was founded in 1971 and has become an American big-box retail chain specializing in home goods, bankrupted and was acquired by Overstock in June this year. Later in August, Overstock rebranded itself as Bed, Bath and Beyond. While physical Bed Bath & Beyond stores will remain closed, Overstock has merged the two brands as one online-only shopping destination, with Overstock.com redirecting shoppers to BedBathandBeyond.com.
It is obvious that the shopping trend has long gone from traditional and it’s now heading more to online shopping. Furniture sellers must embrace online sales to reach a broader audience and secure new customers. Exploring the digital transformation of furniture sales, the article covers the difference between E-commerce platforms and branded stores, tips for creating compelling online experiences, and the future of furniture selling. Practical insights include a step-by-step outsourcing guide for visual creation and maximizing the impact of 3D creations in various marketing channels. Let’s delve into the magic websites to sell furniture online with 3D visuals:
Part 1. Sales Channel and Drawbacks of Traditional Furniture Store
Part 2. Benefits of Furniture Online Sale
Part 3. Top 3 Primary Types of Furniture Selling Websites
1. General E-commerce Platform
2. Furniture Niche Platform
3. Self-Branded Official Online Store
Part 4. Best Places to Sell Furniture Online: Platforms or Branded Store
1. When Online Platforms Are Better
2. When Branded Online Stores Are Better
Part 5. Tips on Visual Compelling and High Converting Online Store
Part 6. The Future of Furniture Selling
1. 3D Visual Experience
2. AI-Driven Evolution
Part 7. Step-by-Step Outsourcing Guide on Visual Creation
Part 8. Maximizing 3D Impact: Diverse Applications of 3D Creations
1. Social Media Marketing
2. Advertising Excellence
3. Offline Marketing Collateral
For decades, furniture stores have relied on brick-and-mortar showrooms as their primary sales channel. However, this traditional model has some inherent limitations in today’s digital age.
1. Customer Base and Geographic Limitations
Traditional furniture stores are constrained by their physical location, primarily serving local customers. Demographics in the vicinity influence the customer base, potentially limiting diversity. In a global market, this local focus can put them at a competitive disadvantage compared to online retailers.
2. Operational Costs and Overhead
Operating physical stores involves high real estate expenses, significant storage for inventory, and staffing costs. This includes rent, storage, staff salaries, and operational expenses, making it challenging to compete effectively.
3. Limited Product Diversity
Traditional furniture stores are often constrained by physical space, which restricts the number of products they can display. This limitation results in a lack of diversity in the types and styles of furniture available for customers to view and purchase in-store. Customers may find themselves with limited choices and might not discover unique or specialized furniture items, unlike the extensive variety often found in online marketplaces.
4. Limited Store Hours
Traditional stores face limitations with fixed hours, weekend crowds, and changing consumer expectations. In the digital age, shoppers expect 24/7 convenience, posing a challenge for brick-and-mortar stores to meet these evolving demands.
As more consumers shift their spending online, solely relying on physical retail poses risks for furniture businesses.
Creating an online sales channel offers furniture companies several benefits that complement a physical retail presence.
1. Expanded Customer Reach
Selling furniture online breaks down geographic barriers, providing access to a much broader pool of potential customers. With an online presence, furniture businesses can reach consumers not only locally but also nationally and even internationally, tapping into markets that were previously inaccessible through traditional brick-and-mortar stores.
2. Cost Efficiency
Online channels often lead to reduced operational costs, which can significantly improve profit margins for furniture businesses. These cost savings come from reduced expenses related to physical storefronts, such as rent, utilities, and in-store personnel. Smaller warehousing or storage requirements can further contribute to cost efficiency.
3. 24/7 Accessibility
Websites dedicated to furniture sales are open 24/7, offering customers the flexibility to browse, research, and make purchases at any time that suits them. This round-the-clock accessibility is especially beneficial for individuals with busy schedules who may not have the opportunity to visit physical stores during regular business hours.
4. Efficient Inventory Management
Online furniture selling often includes real-time inventory management systems that help businesses keep track of stock levels accurately. This live inventory management minimizes the risk of overselling or stockouts, enhancing overall operational efficiency and customer satisfaction.
5. Enhanced Customer Experience
Online furniture stores offer a personalized and streamlined customer experience. Robust search and filter tools help customers find specific products easily. Detailed product descriptions, high-quality images, and customer reviews aid informed decision-making. These stores also provide installation and maintenance guides, a smooth checkout process, and convenient shipping options, enhancing the overall shopping experience.
6. Performance Metrics Tracking
Selling furniture online grants sellers invaluable insights into their customer base, their browsing behavior, and their preferences. This data includes website traffic, conversion rates, and customer behavior. This wealth of information empowers businesses to fine-tune their strategies effectively. By gaining a deeper understanding of who their customers are and what they do on their website, sellers can make informed decisions, refine marketing approaches, and optimize their online presence for superior results.
In today’s digital age, deciding where to sell your furniture online is not a one-size-fits-all choice; it involves considering several factors that align with your business objectives and preferences. The decision you make can significantly impact your visibility, brand control, costs, and overall success in the competitive world of online furniture sales. So, let’s delve into the 3 primary options to help you make an informed choice:
When venturing into the world of online furniture sales, you’ll encounter several avenues, each with its own advantages and considerations. Firstly, there are general e-commerce platforms, such as Amazon and eBay, offering a broad reach to a diverse customer base. While this can boost your product’s visibility, it also means dealing with intense competition and limited control over your brand identity. You may also expect to pay various fees, including listing and referral fees.
Alternatively, you might opt for a furniture niche platform. Furniture websites like Wayfair, Houzz, and Chairish are optimal. These platforms specifically target furniture shoppers, already primed with an interest in your offerings. Some niche platforms allow you to create branded storefronts, giving you more control over your brand presentation. While commission fees are still a factor, they may be more competitive than those on general platforms.
Lastly, official self-branded online stores are gaining popularity among furniture suppliers. This shift is propelled by the desire to gain maximum control over brand identity, customer interactions, and store design. Managing an independent online store allows for a distinct shopping experience for furniture products. While challenges include a necessity to invest significantly in marketing and SEO efforts as there is no established online audience and incurring costs for setup and maintenance, the appeal lies in the unique flexibility to set pricing, run promotions, and establish policies aligned with the supplier’s vision and goals.
When deciding whether to sell furniture online through an established platform or create your own branded e-commerce store, it’s hard to tell which is the best website for furniture. Instead, it is essential to carefully weigh the pros and cons of each option considering your specific business goals, resources, and long-term strategy. In this discussion, we will help you determine the best path for your furniture sales venture.
- Quick Start: If you want to start selling furniture quickly and don’t want to invest significant time in website development, platforms offer a faster and more straightforward setup process.
- Lack of Technical Skills: If you lack technical expertise or web development knowledge, platforms provide user-friendly interfaces and templates, making it easier for beginners to get started.
- Leveraging Established Traffic: Platforms like Amazon, eBay, and Wayfair have established audiences, allowing you to tap into a large customer base without extensive marketing efforts. This can be especially beneficial if you’re just starting.
- Logistical Support: Some platforms, such as Amazon, offer fulfillment services, which can save you time and effort in managing storage, packaging, and shipping.
Note: If you want more control over brand identity, customized storefront design, and more access to customer data, e-commerce platforms might not be an ideal option for you.
- Brand Control: Opting for a branded official online store not only ensures full control over building a robust brand identity but also grants unparalleled autonomy in pricing strategies. Customize the store to seamlessly align with your brand’s unique personality while independently setting and adjusting prices according to your business strategy.
- Customer Data Ownership: Branded stores give you ownership of customer data, which is vital for building lasting customer relationships and implementing personalized marketing strategies.
- Reduced Competition: Unlike platforms that might list competitors’ products on your product page, potentially diverting customer attention elsewhere, an official online store eliminates this distraction, ensuring a focused shopping experience.
- Mitigate Limitations on Marketing and Regulation: Branded stores liberate sellers from having to tailor strategies to align with the platform’s vision. Additionally, unlike selling on some platforms that sell items themselves, opting for a branded store offers a more flexible and independent approach to marketing strategy as you list your product listings on search engines, such as Google and Bing, only display unbias and relevant results to customers, offering a fair playing field for branded stores.
Note: Running a successful branded store demands a well-rounded skill set, without an experienced team or adequate resources at your disposal, it may be unrealistic to expect a sudden surge in traffic and revenue in a short period of time from your website. Turn to e-commerce platforms if you are looking for a quick start.
Regardless of whether you eventually opt for an e-commerce platform, a branded online store, or the ambitious combination of both, it’s essential to understand that while functionality holds importance, visual aesthetics play a significant role in driving conversions. In the following section, we will delve into some practical tips that are applicable to both e-commerce platforms and branded online stores, aimed at enhancing the visual appeal of your product listings and ultimately boosting conversion rates.
1. Maintain Branding Consistency:
To maintain branding consistency on your furniture e-commerce website, it’s crucial to make your brand identity seamlessly visible. Start by featuring your brand’s logo consistently across all web pages. This reinforces brand recognition and builds trust. Additionally, ensure that your color scheme remains harmonious and aligned with your brand’s identity. Consistent use of colors helps establish a cohesive visual identity that visitors can easily associate with your brand. Lastly, official websites allow for more customization on fonts and text styles, choose the font styles that suit your business the most and stick to a unified font style for headings, subheadings, and body text. This not only ensures readability but also contributes to the overall consistency of your brand presentation, no matter offline or online, for customers or for employees.
2. Opt for a Clean, Uncluttered Layout:
A clean and uncluttered layout is vital for creating an inviting and focused shopping experience on your website. Use ample white space strategically to provide visual breathing room around product images and textual content. This minimalist approach directs visitors’ attention squarely to your products. Additionally, make sure that your website is responsive and mobile-friendly to ensure a seamless user experience across all devices. Though you don’t have as many customization options on page layout as on official websites, the e-commerce platforms do offer you several layout options, choose the one that fits your business the most.
Note: To get more options on the page layout, you can consider upgrading your plan. Take Amazon for example, they offer Amazon sellers the option to enroll in Amazon A+ and Amazon A++ with more layout options when they have met specific requirements.
3. Utilize High-Quality Lifestyle Images:
To captivate customers, feature high-quality lifestyle images showcasing furniture in real-life settings. Invest in professional or high-resolution images, and prioritize visual content with infographics, icons, and videos for an engaging and informative user experience. This strategy enhances engagement, conveys important product details, and contributes to a more immersive and appealing user experience.
4. Strategic Call-to-Actions:
Strategically placed calls-to-action (CTAs) guide visitors through the purchasing process. Position these CTAs near product descriptions, images, and pricing details to make them easily accessible. Use persuasive and action-oriented language in your CTAs, such as “Shop Now,” “Discover More,” or “Add to Cart.” These phrases encourage users to take desired actions, driving conversions. Continuously test and refine your CTAs through A/B testing to determine the most effective placements, colors, and text variations. This iterative process helps optimize the performance of your calls-to-action, ultimately boosting your conversion rates.
Contemporary online furniture sales already embrace technologies like 360-degree spin, AR, and 3D interactivity. Over time, these innovations are poised to become even more prevalent, offering an array of options for showcasing products to customers.
* Check our related post about AR shopping in the furniture industry.
As AI continues to advance, it will introduce more potent marketing tools for sellers to leverage. This evolution includes the ability to analyze and utilize data efficiently, fostering a deeper understanding of customer needs and more effective cross-platform marketing strategies, with seamless integration between websites, mobile apps, and brick-and-mortar stores.
By integrating innovations like augmented reality and artificial intelligence, businesses can stay ahead in the dynamic digital retail landscape, meeting evolving consumer expectations and ensuring sustained growth. Emerging technologies will further enhance furniture shopping online. It’s never too late to start today!
In the fast-evolving landscape of online furniture sales, crafting cutting-edge visual content demands a blend of design finesse and technological expertise. If your in-house team lacks the specialized skills for immersive visuals such as augmented reality and 3D models, consider outsourcing to proficient service providers. This strategic move ensures your visuals stay at the forefront of innovation and remain competitive in a tech-savvy market. Here is the step-by-step guide on how furniture sellers can outsource to get attractive visuals for their furniture product listing.
Step 1. Define Your Visual Needs and Platform Compatibility
Clearly articulate the type of visual content needed, whether images, videos, 3D models, or augmented reality. Ensure that the visuals align with the specifications and requirements of the platform where you intend to display them.
You can choose stilled 3D product rendering and 3D product animation to list product images and product videos even for restricted platforms. For an official branded online store, your option can extend to interactive 3D models embedded onto the website, GIF product highlights, VR and AR, etc.
If you are not sure why choosing 3D visualization over traditional photography, you can check another article here: 3D product images v.s. traditional photography.
Step 2. Research and Choose Service Providers
Explore and select providers with expertise in furniture visuals. Scrutinize portfolios and reviews to ensure compatibility with your brand standards.
Imagist3ds is a one-of-a-type 3D rendering service provider that has 13 years of experience in providing lifelike visuals of your products, helping brands highlight product features that help customers make informed purchase decisions. The industry we’ve covered includes consumer products, electronics, automotive, product packaging, and more.
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Step 3. Provide a Reference for Desired Results
Clearly communicate your expectations and provide a reference or examples for the desired visual outcome. This helps in aligning the vision between you and the outsourcing partner.
Step 4. Discuss Service Scope, Pricing, and Delivery Time
Engage in a detailed discussion about the service scope, pricing structure, and estimated delivery time. Ensure transparency in the agreement to avoid misunderstandings later in the process.
Step 5. Initiate Payment and Formalize Legal Agreement
Fund the initial payment based on agreed terms and formalize the partnership with a comprehensive legal agreement. Clearly outline the project details, timelines, deliverables, and ownership rights.
Step 6. Establish a Feedback Loop
Establish a consistent and efficient feedback loop for ongoing communication. Regular feedback ensures that the project stays aligned with your expectations and allows for adjustments as needed.
Beyond their role in online platforms and websites, 3D rendering, and animation seamlessly transition into social media marketing, advertising, and offline collateral. These dynamic visuals captivate digital platforms, serve as compelling assets for campaigns, offer an impactful alternative to advertising, and transform in-store displays at trade fairs and events.
The adaptability of 3D creations extends seamlessly to social media platforms. Crafting visually striking marketing materials for social media campaigns becomes effortless, capturing the attention of a diverse audience and fostering brand recognition in the digital landscape.
3D Rendering for Social Media Marketing
3D renderings prove invaluable for advertising purposes, offering a visually compelling alternative to traditional imagery. Whether for online banner ads or print campaigns, the dynamic nature of 3D creations captivates audiences, driving home marketing messages with heightened impact.
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Beyond the digital realm, the versatility of 3D creations extends to offline marketing collateral. Local stores can leverage these visuals to enhance in-store displays, creating an immersive and visually appealing environment. Moreover, at trade fairs and events, 3D renderings serve as powerful tools for attracting attention and leaving a lasting impression on potential customers.
The transformative capabilities of 3D creations extend far beyond their role in online product listings for e-commerce platforms or official online stores. These dynamic visuals, ranging from images and videos to interactive and AR experiences, serve diverse purposes, including marketing and advertising. Importantly, their utility extends offline to enhance local store displays, trade fairs, and events. The versatility of 3D creations enriches not only online presence but the entire marketing landscape for furniture sellers.