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Addressing the 5 Biggest Pain Points for Online Shoppers When Buying Furniture Online

February 1, 2023
Addressing the 5 Biggest Pain Points for Online Shoppers When Buying Furniture Online

Whether you're buying a new couch, an office chair, or a bed — one thing’s for sure: furniture is incredibly difficult to shop for online. Why? Because furniture shopping is a tactile, physical experience. 

You don't visualize a jug of milk against your fridge's aesthetic. You don't question whether a bottle of shampoo will fit in your shower. You don't need to know how an HDMI cable feels against your skin. 

These are all things a shopper needs to account for when buying furniture, however. They need to know it will fit their space both physically and visually. They need to know that it's comfortable and that they've chosen the right materials. 

There's also the matter of cost. For most people, even buying something as simple as a table or desk represents a huge financial commitment. If they aren't certain they've found the perfect option, most people won't be willing to make a purchase. 

They fear that if they end up with something that doesn't fit, they'll have to contend with a nightmarish returns process.  

As a furniture retailer, you need to understand customer frustrations and bottlenecks. It's the only way to create a better e-commerce experience. With that in mind, here are the five biggest pain points of buying furniture online. 

#1 Uncertain sizing

Particularly when buying a larger item like a couch, a customer needs to know that it will actually fit where they want it to go. There's only so much a list of specifications will tell you, and not everyone has the time or tools to measure the room where their new purchase will go. Moreover, there's a big difference between looking at some numbers on a screen and actually seeing an item firsthand. 

With that said, one could argue that this disconnect even extends to physical retail — sometimes it's difficult to tell how an item will fit by appearance alone. 

#2 Finding the right style

Size aside, there's also the matter of design inspiration. Most people, when shopping for furniture, have a specific look in mind. They want something that matches the aesthetic style of their space, something that's the right color, shape, and size.

Unfortunately, most product detail pages offer little assistance in this regard. Rather than a set of lifestyle photos that show their product in a range of different settings, many retailers instead have images of the furniture set against a white background. In some cases, they may not even show the different colors in which the product is available. 

#3 Difficult returns

Even when disassembled, furniture takes up a lot of space. This makes transportation considerably more challenging and expensive for retailers. Unfortunately, it also means that many retailers require the customer to pay for return shipping.

On the surface, this may make sense from a business standpoint. Unfortunately, looking at things from the customer's perspective, it's incredibly unfair. It's not their fault that the item they purchased didn't meet their expectations — forcing them to pay a fee just to get their money back simply adds insult to injury. 

#4 The potential to miss out

When shopping for furniture in-store, customers can rely on the expertise of sales personnel. They don't need to worry about misunderstanding how a product works or missing out on a particular option such as stain-resistant fabric or heated seating. Most retailers leave them entirely to their own devices when shopping online. 

All they can do is hope that the retailer's website is easy to navigate and that all available options are cataloged on each product page.

#5 No "trying before you buy"

Appearances aren't everything. When you're buying a new piece of furniture, how it's built is every bit as important. Customers often want to know how a piece of furniture feels before they make a final decision.

Depending on the type of furniture, this could involve any or all of the following questions: 

  • What kind of fabrics does the product use? 
  • How do those fabrics feel? 
  • What other materials does the product use? 
  • How solid/sturdy is the product?
  • Is the product comfortable? 
  • Is the product easy to assemble?

Unfortunately, this is one area where e-commerce might always lag behind physical retail — at least until the full-immersion virtual reality exists. That likely sounds like science fiction at this point. But when you consider how many modern-day innovations would have been considered impossible even twenty years ago, it seems a great deal more feasible. 

How furniture retailers can create a better online shopping experience

So, now that we've gone over the major pain points, what can you as a retailer do to address them? Ultimately, it all boils down to prioritizing the customer's needs above all else. 

Make your product pages as detailed and comprehensive as possible, and ensure your website is streamlined and simple to navigate. Maintain a generous return policy, and emphasize that you will pay for shipping. You might also consider shipping fabric/material samples to customers on request. It's not quite the same as being able to physically touch a product, but it could help alleviate at least a few of their concerns.  

Last but certainly not least, rework your website to create an immersive, engaging shopping experience. That's where Tangiblee comes in. Built for scale, our immersive shopping and augmented reality solutions are trusted by some of the top furniture and fashion brands in the world.

With our help, you can improve the customer experience in several ways: 

  • Create photorealistic lifestyle content by leveraging existing assets within Tangiblee Studio. Improve your product pages with more compelling imagery with no photoshoots required. 
  • Give customers the ability to visualize products within their own home through Room View. Simultaneously increase buyer confidence and provide shoppers with much-needed design inspiration. 
  • Let online shoppers see firsthand how your products are sized with Tangiblee Compare. Allow them to display products from your catalogue side-by-side with everyday items to address shopper uncertainty and provide a more personalized shopping experience. 

To learn more about these features or explore what else Tangiblee can do for your e-commerce site, schedule a free demo here.

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