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Winning Website Tip #5 From PERQ: Does Your Store Reflect This Relaxing Home Design Trend?

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It’s no wonder most consumers rank comfort as the highest priority when furnishing their home. The outside world can seem cold and callous lately, while long work hours, tough commutes and chaotic schedules compound stress levels. After an exhausting day, people want to retreat to a living space that’s cozy, relaxing and restorative.

 

“Home is where we connect with those we love most, and disconnect from everything else,” says Kelley Cooper, a mom and professional retail buyer in Charlotte, North Carolina.

 

Nearly 68% of online shoppers picked “comfortable” when asked how they’d like their home to describe them, according to PERQ’s Consumer Insights Report that surveyed thousands of consumers visiting select home furnishings retail websites over a three-month period.

 

While the vast majority aim for comfort when shopping for new home furnishings, the remaining survey responses showed a hodgepodge of aesthetic approaches. Stylish was the second most popular selection (17%), followed by artistic (8%) and sophisticated (7%).

 

Houston, Texas, homeowner Sara Lou agrees comfort takes top priority, but that doesn’t mean sacrificing style or personality when designing her home. “All of the other descriptions should still fit under the ‘comfortable’ heading at some level,” Lou says. “My home is a place to gather, and ultimately a place to relax!”

Why Consumers Crave Comfortable Living

Four hours north of Houston, Jordan Barrick runs Quality Furniture in Mesquite, Texas, as the retailer’s vice president. He says it’s no shock comfort came in first place. “To furnish comfortable homes” is the first tenant of Quality’s mission statement.

 

“Our customers aren’t shopping for a formal dining room they will never use — they want an incredible place to gather with family for holidays and host friends,” Barrick says. “We don’t sell furniture that looks incredible in uptown. We sell products that people use after a long day.”

 

Every consumer who commented on social media posts asking for opinions on the topic also voted “comfortable” when given the same choices. While some said they try to incorporate other elements like artistic or stylish into the overall look of their home, furniture must be comfortable for everyone living in or visiting the home.

 

“I picked comfortable because home is where you want to relax. Sure, you want it to look good, but comfort comes first,” says John Nalley, a longtime copy editor living in Spring Hill, Tennessee with his wife and two kids.

 

Dr. Katy Harris of Bloomfield, Indiana, stays busy between operating her own veterinary clinic and caring for her young children, ages 1 and 6. When Harris returns home after an exhausting day, she simply wants to relax. “Well, as much as a momma of two can!” she says. When asked why comfort is more important to her than design, Harris explained. “I don’t really care what [others] think. I’m the one who has to live there.”

All Consumers Strive for Comfort

Comfort is fairly subjective. Some equate comfortable with having built-in gadgets that simplify life, leaving more time to kick back and rest in that new power recliner. While one shopper may find a leather sofa soft and soothing to the touch, another may think it’s too cold or slick. Fabric choice, furniture make, color and décor choices, as well as the arrangement of each room all factor into levels of comfort.

 

Depending on the target audience and market, a variety of common style categories can be considered comfortable. “Our customers are an older demographic, so more relaxed, traditional — some would call it comfortable,” says Ed Massood, owner of three Home Inspirations Thomasville locations in New Jersey. “We sell better-end goods and are still in that Generation X and Boomer category. At this stage, we’re not serving a lot of millennials.”

 

Although consumers in their 30s may not be ready to invest in the highest-quality furnishings, they still share a common design goal with older shoppers. Both want to create a casual, inviting home that makes kids, grandkids, relatives and friends feel comfortable — a place that feels warm, safe and loving.

 

“If my home is nothing but comfortable, I am satisfied,” says Alixandria Kaye Thomas, a newlywed and working mom who echoed the sentiment of several millennial shoppers surveyed.

 

Comfort also speaks to the overall vibe of your home environment. It evokes feelings of being nurtured and safe, a place people feel welcome to sit back and enjoy the moment.

 

“There is nothing better than a comfort zone, and your home should be your zone,” says Abigail Glasson, a mother of four girls who’s worked in early education. “You can teach your children every other word choice, but comfort is something we give them.”

 

SIDEBAR:

How to Make Your Shoppers Feel at Home

Home furnishing retailers can put shoppers at ease during their buying journey by nurturing their needs from the time they visit your website to when they walk through the showroom. Tap into the innate consumer drive for comfort with these marketing tips:

 

Online

  • Give website visitors access to research tools and relevant information so they feel more confident they’re making a good buying decision. If they don’t know what design style best fits them, offer an assessment on the website to enlighten them.
  • Educate with engaging, interactive experiences that familiarize consumers with your brand while keeping them comfortably clicking around on your website for longer.
  • Make website visitors feel special by investing in artificial intelligence software that guides online shoppers like a friend giving advice, and personalizes the process.
  • Take a casual approach to the website experience. Don’t make it difficult or dull. “Shopping for furniture is supposed to be fun!” says Jordan Barrick, Quality Furniture.
  • Nurture online leads captured through interactive website software, using a shopper’s personal responses to build rapport and help them easily find exactly what they want to buy.

 

Showroom

  • Study your store’s website analytics and sales data on a consistent basis to spot trends, like comfortable living, that may be specific to your market and target audience that you can emphasize in the showroom.
  • For Sherman’s, an Illinois furniture and appliance retailer, the popularity of comfortable meant growing the recliner section and eventually only displaying power versions on the floor because that’s what was in demand, says marketing manager Dave Weiss.
  • Showcase furniture arrangements that speak to the many interpretations of what’s comfortable. It means something different to everyone, but they’ll know it when they see it all pulled together in a room display.
  • Be the best host, just like you would at home. Make each person who walks into your store feel welcomed. Give them a quick tour but don’t be pushy. Cross website registrants with in-store shoppers to bond with them based on lead data gathered online and show you care.

 

More about PERQ: PERQ (www.perq.com), boosts website conversion through its online guided shopping solution which leverages artificial intelligence to dynamically change existing websites to deliver the next best step in each buyer’s shopping journey. As experts in online consumer engagement and behavior, PERQ leverages over 10 million consumer data points, along with real-time visitor behavior.

Founded in 2001, PERQ solutions are used by more than 1,000 businesses in the home furnishing, auto retailing and multifamily industries. Its brands have been named to the Inc. “500 Fastest Growing Companies in America” list on three separate occasions. In 2017, PERQ won the Gold Stevie® Award for lead generation software and Product of the Year in the Big Business Awards.

Furniture Industry News and in depth magazine articles for the furniture retail, furniture manufacturers, and furniture distributors.
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