Remember the days of spending hours wandering through massive furniture stores, overwhelmed by choices and frustrated by limited layouts? 

Those days are fading fast. The furniture and home decor industry is undergoing a massive transformation, and at the heart of it all is the ecommerce revolution.

So, as we look to the future of buying home furnishings, the question isn’t just about what we buy but how we buy. 

How can we make the online shopping experience more intuitive, more engaging, and, ultimately, more personal? 

That’s the challenge and the opportunity facing the ecommerce furniture market today. 

And we will talk about it more now.

The state of the furniture home decor market

The landscape of home decorating and furniture shopping has truly evolved, especially in the wake of the COVID-19 pandemic. The shift from traditional brick-and-mortar stores to online shopping has accelerated, largely due to the lingering effects of the pandemic on physical retail spaces. 

modern furniture

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Sure, this shift has posed challenges for traditional shops, but you know what? 

It has also sparked rapid growth for brands that started online or adapted quickly to ecommerce.

The best part is that technology is really stepping up to transform how we view and buy furniture online. 

Imagine being able to see a 3D model of a sofa, customized to your preferences, right from your own living room through augmented reality (AR). Now, furniture retailers are not just talking about viewing a piece of furniture – they’re focusing on experiencing it, too. High-quality visualizations and configurators allow clients to see and interact with products in new and exciting ways.

It’s also interesting to note that younger generations are increasingly comfortable purchasing just about everything online – which includes furniture. 

What does all of this mean for the market? 

Well, we’re moving away from buying mere objects. We’re investing in top-notch experiences. 

When you shop online today, you’re doing more than just adding a piece of furniture to the cart and putting it in the right place – you’re engaging with the story of the product, the craftsmanship behind it, and the people who made it. This narrative layer adds a rich, personal dimension to each item that goes far beyond the conventional shopping experience.

laptop with an open tab of a furniture shop

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Speaking of the market, did you know that the global ecommerce furniture sector generated about $269.7 billion in 2021 alone? And it’s projected to hit around $436 billion by 2030. That’s huge! 

global ecommerce furniture sector statistics

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Additionally, home furnishings sales soared to a staggering $133 billion online by 2021, claiming a 17% share of the total ecommerce market. This growth is a clear signal. 

So, what’s the takeaway? 

Now, it’s more paramount than ever that being present online isn’t enough—what matters now is creating an engaging and seamless shopping experience that leads to sale closures. 

The competition is already quite fierce, and despite the convenience of online shopping, we still find ourselves in a race with mainstream giants like IKEA, Westwing, and Jysk. 

That’s why having “some ecommerce” is not enough anymore. 

If you want to gain customer loyalty and get noticed in this market, you should start standing out. And we have some ideas on what you can do.

Tips on how to make your ecommerce platform stand out in the furniture industry

We know navigating the ecommerce environment in the furniture industry can feel like an uphill task, especially with the intense competition and high customer expectations. 

Besides the classic sales tips (which we gave in previous episodes about UX on our YouTube channel), there are more points worth taking care of in the furniture business.

So, if you already run an online store or are thinking about setting one up, here are some practical tips to ensure your platform stands out and delivers exceptional experiences.

Listings and filters

Tip 1: Organize your product listings and design an intuitive navigation

The first step to a standout ecommerce site is having a well-organized product catalog. When a customer visits your site, they want to easily find what they’re looking for. No matter if they use mobile devices or computers, so keep in mind to optimize these lists for different screen sizes.

Take a cue from IKEA – they offer multiple pathways to reach a product. For instance, to find TV cabinets, you could navigate via:

  • Shop products (e.g., Furniture -> TV & media furniture),
  • Shop products (e.g., Storage & organization -> TV & media furniture),
  • or Explore rooms (e.g., Living room).

You can also use their in-store search to find items.

ikea website

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User experience on the Ikea mobile app is also pleasant.

ikea mobile app

Source: Ikea mobile app

💡 If your catalogue is narrower, say you specialise in a particular type of furniture like tylko.com, you might have fewer paths, such as Category (e.g., desk) and Rooms (e.g., bedroom). The idea is to streamline the paths to make finding products as intuitive as possible for your customers.

tylko.com website

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Tip 2: Design category-specific filters

After checking if your navigation is top-notch, the next step to boost customer engagement is to fine-tune your filtering options.

Filters allow customers to narrow down their options according to their specific needs. Whether it’s by type, room, material, or style, each category should have tailored filters that help users hone in on their ideal product.

Again, IKEA does a great job here. Depending on whether you’re in a higher or lower category, the filters adjust to be more or less specific but are always relevant to the products listed.

product category at ikea.com

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So, what’s the takeaway? By focusing on these two areas in product listings and filters — intuitive navigation and precise filtering — you can set your furniture ecommerce platform up to compete and stand out in a crowded market. Remember, it’s not just about selling products. The focus is on creating a shopping experience that’s as comfortable and inviting as the beautiful furniture you’re offering.

Product page

Tip 1: Use high-quality visuals

High-quality images and 360-degree views can effectively present home decor products, but if they are poor quality, they can do more harm than good. Thus, use only professional images and show your customers every detail so they can imagine the piece in their room and feel confident in their purchase decisions.

In addition to betting on good quality, don’t forget to take photos from different angles and sides so that the customer can clearly see what the item looks like.

💡 What should be the ideal number of photos for a product? A minimum of 3-5 photos.

Tip 2: Showcase lifestyle

Incorporating lifestyle images into your product pages is a must. It’s not enough to display straightforward pack shots – you need to show the products in their natural settings. This approach helps potential buyers visualize the real dimensions of a product in relation to a room or human scale, and see how it fits into a home environment.

Further, this strategy is crucial in setting the right expectations and preventing disappointments post-purchase.

If you, as a furniture retailer, present the product in a variety of real-life scenarios, you will make customers better gauge what they’re buying and reduce the likelihood of returns due to unmet expectations.

Tip 3: Provide reliable visualisations for configurators

When it comes to configurators, focus on accuracy and reliability in visualizations. Customers should be able to see changes as they customize products, such as different colours or configurations.

Brands like vetsak and Tylko excel in this area. Their configurators are not only intuitive but are equipped with advanced, responsive designs that offer extensive customization options and high-quality visuals that update in real-time.

product page at tylko.com

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What is the result of such developed configurators? Enhanced user engagement, more repeat visits, and better satisfaction rates since customers can interact with the product virtually and tailor it to their preferences before making a purchase.

Tip 4: Offer extensive product information

The next tip involves optimizing your product descriptions. In the furniture business, the way you present your products can make a huge difference. Each product should contain detailed, relevant information that informs and entices the reader. Highlight the unique features, the craftsmanship involved, and perhaps the story behind the item.

Also, in product descriptions, you can focus on:

  • detailed assembly instructions,
  • technical drawings or models,
  • and dimension tables.

They are all vital for customers to understand exactly what they’re buying.

Consider whether to include this information directly in the photo gallery or within a separate specifications section on the product page.

This clarity can build customer trust and reduce the hassle of returns or customer service inquiries, as buyers feel more confident about what to expect from the product.

Tip 5: Create video content

Storytelling through video content on product pages greatly enhances the customer’s understanding and appreciation of a product. Why does it matter?

Because a well-crafted video can showcase the product from different angles, demonstrate its use in various lighting conditions, and highlight its features up close.

Brands like Tamo Design offer stylish and atmospheric videos that show how the product looks in a room, the fine details up close, and how people interact with it. Video content conveys the look and feel of the product more effectively than images alone.

product video at tamo design website

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Tip 6: Inform about lead times, return policies, and shipping

If you offer a wide selection of items that are made-to-order or large pieces that involve significant shipping costs, clearly display information about:

  • lead times,
  • return possibilities,
  • shipping costs,
  • and additional services like delivery, installation, and assembly.

It’s particularly important to highlight services such as delivery and in-house assembly. Nowadays, for many customers, the convenience of these services is a decisive factor.

Thus, be transparent about what’s included in the price and what might cost extra. Discuss acceptable waiting times for delivery, which can vary but should always be reasonable. 

Also, inform about any changes in delivery. Transparency in these areas can set the right expectations.

Speaking about delivery times, look at how Opisofa does this job on their product page.

delivery details at optisofa website

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Tip 7: Take advantage of cross-sell opportunities

Introducing cross-sell features on your product pages can boost your sales as well. By showcasing related products, the right product bundles, or presenting items from the same collection, such as displaying sofas alongside coffee tables, you help customers visualize a complete set and enhance their likelihood of purchasing additional items. 

This strategy improves the customer experience (by simplifying the decorating process) and increases the average order value. It’s a win-win situation – customers get a beautifully coordinated room, and you get a boost in sales.

Check out how Tamo Design masters this tip.

cross-sell features at tamo design website

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Tip 8: Implement Augmented Reality (AR)

Augmented Reality (AR) can be a game-changer in online furniture shopping, as it allows customers to see how products would look in their own spaces.

However, be careful. The AR tool must be well-developed, with clear user instructions and precise 3D models. Poorly implemented AR can confuse and discourage potential buyers rather than facilitate a purchase. 

Ensuring that the AR experience is as realistic and user-friendly as possible will help convert browsers into buyers. That’s because you give them a reliable preview of their choices in the context of their own homes.

Wayfair uses AR technology to allow users to visualize how furniture will look in their living spaces before buying. The feature is reliable, provides photos with excellent quality, and is a fantastic example of modern tech that enhances shopping experiences.

chair in AR at wayfair website

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Tip 9: Encourage and display product reviews

Encourage customers to review products and display these reviews directly on the product page, and you will profoundly impact your sales.

If not, integrate a feed from social media platforms like Instagram, where customers have posted photos of the products. This can really build trust — after all, you’re showing real users of the product and providing a visual testimonial. This move can influence purchasing decisions more effectively than just text alone.

Platforms like Westwing include textual reviews, while tylko.com goes a step further. It allows customers to upload real-life photos of the product in use.

product reviews at tylko.com website

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Tip 10: Offer free samples and improve customer loyalty

For products available in various materials, such as upholstered furniture, offering the option to ship free samples can be the best trust builder. Let potential buyers feel the fabric or material in their hands before making a large purchase.

As a result, you will reduce uncertainty and increase satisfaction.

This option should be prominently displayed in the navigation or even on the product page itself. For example, Optisofa highlights this service, enhancing their customer’s confidence in making a decision, especially in a competitive online marketplace.

You can include such information in the right panel on the product page, just like Opisofa did.

product page at optisofa website

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Implementing these tips on your product pages can transform the shopping experience on your ecommerce platform. But there are some other ideas you can use as well.

Other tips for your ecommerce in the furniture industry

Tip 1: Provide virtual consultations

What about offering virtual consultations? You can use them to strengthen the client journey, especially for clients who are hesitant to make big-ticket purchases online. So, use video calls to provide personalized advice and help customers make informed decisions from the comfort of their own homes.

Tip 2: Start offline and shop online

Integrating your online platform with physical showrooms can create a fluid selling process. Think about that: customers can start their shopping journey in a physical store and complete it online, or vice versa. Thanks to QR codes located in fitting rooms or on tags, they can quickly go to your online store.

This kind of seamless integration between online and offline channels caters to the modern shopper’s need for flexibility and convenience.

Tip 3: Offer deferred and instalment payments

Providing flexible payment options, like deferred payments or instalments, can make larger purchases more accessible and appealing. This flexibility is so valuable in the furniture industry, as here, the high cost of items might deter some customers from making immediate purchases.

Tip 4: Give guidance on how to measure space

One common challenge that online furniture buyers face is determining whether a piece will fit in their intended space. Now, since you know that, you can offer detailed guides on how to measure spaces effectively. Apart from instructional videos and diagrams, include a list of common measuring mistakes to avoid.

Providing customers with the tools and knowledge to measure their space accurately can reduce the likelihood of returns, increase customer satisfaction, and… stimulate purchase history.

Tip 4: Provide colour codes and paint matching

RAL is a European colour-matching system that defines standard colours for paint and coatings. By listing these colour codes on your products, you enable customers to find the exact or complementary paint colours easily.

This is especially valuable for those who are purchasing items like shelves, cabinets, or tables and wish to ensure that their new furniture matches their existing colour scheme or wish to find matching wall paint.

Get the most of furniture ecommerce trends with our tips

The furniture and home decor industry is driven by advancements in technology and changing consumer expectations. So, the importance of having a well-optimized ecommerce experience cannot be overstated. After all, a great online shopping experience is like having a friendly salesperson help you find the perfect piece – from the comfort of your couch.

What’s more, the industry will continue to grow. The anticipated growth in the global ecommerce market for furniture underscores the vast opportunities available. Those who invest in enhancing their platforms now will be well-positioned to reap the benefits of this expansion.

So, get ahead of the competition and stay abreast of the latest trends with our tips, which are about to improve your listings, product pages, and other areas of your ecommerce store. Also, keep an eye on what customers want and how technology is changing the game.

Remember, the furniture business is all about creating a space people love. So go out there, embrace the changes, and watch your ecommerce furniture store become a smashing success.

Good luck!