Furniture News #371

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ANALYSING EUROPE’S ONLINE BUYING EXPERIENCE At a time when ecommerce sales make up nearly a fifth of total retail sales, with an annual growth rate of +15%, retailers can’t afford to have a sub-par website, states Cylindo’s Biljana Vidojevic, who presents the results of an investigation of the online capabilities of Europe’s top furniture retailers.



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Even traditional industries like furniture are finally waking up to the new reality – online presence matters. Today, the furniture purchase journey starts online for more than 70% of consumers, and worldwide online sales are expected to grow at an average annual rate of +11.9% between 2018-22, resulting in a market volume of $294b in 2022. As customer expectation for the ideal online shopping experience increases, ecommerce furniture merchandising becomes increasingly important. Betting on reinventing the online furniturebuying journey and incorporating a highly digital footprint pays dividends across multiple parameters. It helps retain customers and grow their lifetime value while acquiring new ones, which is critical in any over-retailed market. But how much attention must European furniture retailers pay to their digital merchandising and online shopping experience? We’ve analysed the websites of 100 top retailers, looking at 10 features including zoom, 360° views, room scenes, customisation, page load speed, mobile optimisation, augmented reality (AR), video, recommendations, and reviews. Our research included some of the largest furniture retailers in the UK and the rest of Europe (determined by most significant forecast annual revenue, sizeable product catalogue, and physical store footprint). Here are some of our findings … Online presence matters The companies that have more than five ecommerce merchandising features on their websites are leading the way in digital merchandising and user

experience (UX). Of the top 100 European retailers, 67% have five or more. The global village It’s interesting to note that there aren’t huge differences between the findings in our Europe and US reports (the latter was conducted in February 2019). Most of the features have a similar adoption rate among retailers. There is a slight difference in the zoom feature, which is more widely adopted in the US (83%) than in Europe (68%). On the other hand, product customisation is adopted by 67 of the top 100 European retailers, compared with just 42% of their US counterparts. Investment is not aligned with customer preferences Only 13% of retailers have 360° product configurators on their websites, leaving the vast majority without this feature. In a world where digital plays a vital role in furniture sales, 360° views are becoming a minimum requirement for a good online UX. Web-native AR is redefining furniture shopping Only 22% of the top European retailers have implemented an AR solution. However, the high user adoption rate of web-native AR is a clear sign that this frictionless solution will change the way people shop for furniture in the near future. Mobile browsing is the new normal According to our research, all the top European furniture retailers have mobile-optimised websites. The balance between speed and UX

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