The furniture business is an anomaly for marketing, and a lot of that comes from the nature of the industry. Products are typically purchased on a long term buying cycle, and therefore remarketing isn’t always useful. Trends are harder to follow since items are purchased so infrequently. Additionally, there’s the matter of the perplexing millennial market. Worry not- we’ve compiled the freshest trends in the furniture industry to help you navigate the market and appeal to consumers.
Customers Path to Purchase Starts On Screens, Then Ends in Your Showroom
Things used to be much simpler: put out flyers and ads to lure customers into your showroom, have qualified salespeople on the floor, get conversions. As with everything in the digital age, this has very much changed; and you need to change your marketing practices, or you’ll be left in the dust.
The path to purchase now starts on screens, with customers browsing online marketplaces, inspiration albums (especially Pinterest, the leading social media site used to research furniture). In fact, most Gen X and millennials shop online and buy in-store, meaning a majority of your target market will first look to the web. Capitalize on this with effective social media, digital marketing and, most importantly, an online marketplace. Even if you can’t deliver, set up an online showroom where consumers can browse products from the comfort of their own home. Some manufacturers are even going above and beyond with virtual reality displays so customers can view what furniture would look like in their home.
Millennials Are Living Smaller…For Now
Sales of single family homes are skyrocketing, and even more importantly, most millennials aren’t home owners yet. This means you want to create and promote furniture designed around smaller living spaces. Trends show that consumers are looking to purchase functional, versatile furniture that makes the most of small living spaces. An ottoman isn’t enough anymore; customers are looking for internal storage, collapsible products, etc.
Millennials in particular aren’t moving into homes yet, but they want to. In fact, 57% of millennial renters view home ownership as a goal, as compared to 38% of Gen X and 34% of Boomers. This means that, although it hasn’t yet, we could be approaching a mass migration of millennials into houses. So, although you want to promote convenient furniture for now, be prepared for a wave of home ownership in the coming years. After all, with the long buying cycle of your company’s products, you’re going to want to prepare for this wave before it hits.
Match the Scale of Your Business
A mom-and-pop furniture maker will never be able to sell side tables cheaper than IKEA, or it’s at least near impossible. But, on the other hand, a massive manufacturer won’t be able to incorporate craftsmanship and detail into every one of their pieces. So, match your products and your price tags accordingly to the scale of your business. Don’t fight battles you can’t win, but instead, use the scope of your business as an advantage against others.
People Are Working From Home, and They Need Furniture
Skype, GoToMeeting, and various other technologies have made working from home more feasible than ever before. This has led to a surge in the development of home offices; and people need furniture for them. In 2015, about 1 in every 4 people worked from their household, with the number steadily growing. Promoting your brands office products is invaluable, as it may even trigger the idea of working from home in a customers head. However, you might fall behind if you’re only marketing run-of-the-mill office products. The next big trend is…
Part of operating on a long term buying cycle is ignoring short terms trends until its too late. Well, the next trend is smart furniture, and if you have the capability to create it, do so before you miss the boat. IKEA has incorporated wireless charging stations into a majority of its products, but some “smart” developments are as simple as USB inputs or Bluetooth speakers. Households are becoming wirelessly connected in all ways, and it’s drawing in customers. Smart furniture hasn’t had too many developments yet; but all this means is that there are even more potential benefits in store if you hop on this trend now.
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