Home retailing has always remained a major part of the overall retail industry. Over the years, this segment has witnessed numerous innovations, with furniture renting and online furniture buying being the most recent trends.
These changes can be attributed to the shift in consumer preferences, be it in terms of design, aesthetics, or convenience. A major part of this change also depends on unexpected events or situations such as COVID-19. For instance, work from home (WFH) has made multi-functional, comfortable and aesthetic furniture more relevant than ever, especially from a home office standpoint.
Another significant disruption observed in this space is the consumers’ shift from offline to online buying of furniture during the lockdowns. Evidently, this transition is not limited to the urban areas only, but a small town and tier 2 people are also adopting it. This is primarily because most people working in urban cities had an option to move and work from their home towns. Thanks again to the burgeoning remote working culture.
However, despite things going digital, we can’t ignore the fact that online furniture shopping can never replace the offline experience of visiting showrooms, seeing & touching the product, and then finalizing the one that meets all the needs, under a planned budget. Just imagine going to a showroom and experiencing a bed, sofa, or anything, and you will understand what I am trying to demonstrate here.
So, what is the way forward that players in the furniture industry should follow to ensure continuity and sustainability in 2021? An online approach, offline strategy or the best of both worlds, also known as phygital?
For a better perspective, let’s break the topic into three different parts:
We have already seen and experienced how technology is playing a critical role in this industry, be it in the form of making the overall experience more seamless or simplifying shopping further. Both online and offline retailers have been adopting different technologies – such as touch screen kiosks, 3D software, virtual walk-throughs, mobile apps, etc. - to augment their existing offerings.
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