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Smart Furniture Web Tip #3: Three Steps to Creating a Great Shopping Experience

Furniture World News Desk on 6/25/2014

By Gil Cayabyab

Many retailers take pride in the delivery of excellent products but, truth be told, a high quality product isn’t the only thing you should be offering to your customers. In the words of the late, great Maya Angelou, “People will forget what you said, people will forget what you did, but people will never forget how you made them feel.”

Any retailer can stock their shelves with similar product offerings, but the cream of the crop offer an all-encompassing, curated shopping experience. Providing customized solutions creates the type of customer loyalty that’s difficult to achieve by simply selling products.

Be their guide
Online shoppers literally have the world at their fingertips, and even people who know what they’re looking for can easily get overwhelmed while searching for it. As a retailer, it is your job to help them find a product that they simply can’t pass up. Take the time to curate a shopping experience -- one that will guide visitors to the products that truly fit their needs and desires. Getting to know your customers and effectively using available information can greatly increase your chances of making the sale.

Online personalization benefits everyone involved -- simplifying the shopping experience for customers and increasing sales for retailers. Simple profile quizzes, click-path analysis, demographic information and a well-appointed product catalog -- when used effectively -- allow retailers to showcase items that are more likely to resonate with shoppers. Simply put, customers who find more items that fit into their style, space, and wallet will spend more time on your site and convert at a higher rate.

Show off your goods
Furniture can be one of the most difficult products to sell online, given the vast number of options available for each piece. The inability to visualize what the end product looks like remains one of the biggest barriers to purchase.

It’s today’s savvy retailers who break down those walls, developing solutions that digitally show each possible configuration and providing added confidence by allowing customers to preview their selections in real time. Taking it a step further, providing the tools to let customers visualize customized products within the context of their own space as a backdrop remains a distinct advantage over other retailers.

Always follow through
A decent shopping experience is common, but it takes more than that to create a lasting impression -- it takes a curated experience that keeps your customers coming back. Hold your customers’ satisfaction as the highest priority before, during, and especially after the sale.

Support your customer service representatives by ensuring they are knowledgeable, approachable, and empowered to handle any potential issues. The steps you take to follow through with patrons who aren’t initially content with their purchase can be the difference between losing or gaining a loyal customer for life. Treat them like they’re the only customer you have.

Continued communication will help you to stay top-of-mind with your customers, and using the tools mentioned earlier to personalize future communication will allow your messages to resonate and make them more effective. For instance, a shopper who leans toward a specific style of furniture will be more receptive to promotional messages reflecting that preference.

Curating a great shopping experience is not a single-step process or a magic pill. You need to constantly be looking for ways to improve each customer’s experience. The time and effort you put in is necessary -- because you’re not just trying to earn a sale. You’re aiming to create brand ambassadors with an exemplary, personalized shopping experience they won’t find anywhere else.

About Gil Cayabyab and SmartFurniture.com: Gil Cayabyab is the Vice President of Marketing at SmartFurniture.com, the pioneers of Design-On-Demand® ecommerce where they combine web based visualization technologies and mass customization to provide customers with the most personalized furniture buying experience on the web. Since joining Smart Furniture in 2007, Cayabyab has focused his energies on helping to provide the best user experience online from both a promotional and technical perspective and has helped to grow revenue year over year with strong partner relationships and innovative technologies such as SmartProfile.

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