With so many sources available to purchase home furnishings, customers can easily become overwhelmed by the wide selection and product choice available.
Whether big-ticket items can be bought from an online retailer or from a physical brick-and-mortar store, the home furnishings buying experience is sufficiently infrequent that each shopping experience becomes a new adventure.
This lengthy cycle between purchases is probably the reason why traditional home furnishing retailing has been so slow to adapt to meeting the needs of the shopper. That is now changing.
Welcome to the Retail Renaissance.
Online retailers such as Amazon, Wayfair, and Article compete directly with big-box stores like Costco, Home Depot and Best Buy; department stores like Walmart, Hudson’s Bay, Canadian Tire; and traditional retailers like Leon’s, The Brick, Sleep Country and thousands of regional and independent home furnishing stores.
Clearly, the competition is extensive and intense. But still, customers want more.
They want the ability to search and discover just the right product at just the right price. They want the convenience of being able to purchase, try and in some cases, return a product with as little friction as possible. But what customers want most, are retailers that deliver on their promises and provide a great experience from initial contact, through to purchase and following delivery.
Gone are the days that a physical retailer could fill a store with furniture, bedding or appliances; hang up a sign, distribute advertising flyers and wait for the door to start swinging. Today, customers want and expect a whole lot more.
Customers were always smart – but now, with unlimited resources available from the mobile device in their hand – customers have become a whole lot smarter. They can search for similar products, compare prices and even buy online – all while standing in the physical retailer’s store. How does a brick-and-mortar retailer compete with that!?
Related article: How Millennials are Driving the Retail Renaissance
Instead of just placing an order, customers want their physical retailer to act as a consultant and advisor to help them furnish their home. Customers want retailers that can look beyond the immediate sale and are working hard to create long-term relationships.
Customers have always wanted good value – but that doesn’t always mean the lowest price – it’s having a retailer that can add real value to every transaction.
Customers want the direct interaction they get with the physical retailer, but they also want the many benefits provided by their digital lifestyle.
The Retail Renaissance is changing the face of retail – driven by customers who value retailers that have embraced technology; offer creative solutions and allow them to get digitally connected.
Clearly, customers want it all.
Related article: Why Retailers Need Omnichannel
By Brad Geddes
Brad Geddes, President & CEO of ZucoraHome regularly shares insights about the Canadian home furnishings industry, changing consumer needs, and the transformation of ZucoraHome into a smarter living enterprise that leverages technology and professional home services to help families enjoy a better quality of life.