Online revenues for furniture and homeware brands are likely to reach US$13,000 million in 2025 in the UK, according to Statista’s Digital Market Outlook.
In other words, more and more British consumers are likely to shop online for furniture and appliances.
But what do furniture brands do to improve website experiences for their users? How do they ensure that a user has a great experience and returns for more? Without meeting users’ expectations, online furniture retailers will have little chance to cut through the clutter and stand out.
Having spent years helping furniture and home furnishing clients optimise customer journeys on their websites, we know that the only way furniture brands can increase conversions and profits is to improve customer experiences at every touchpoint within users’ journeys.
But how can they achieve this lofty goal? In this article, we present to you a few important things we learned from optimising for furniture clients.
How Do Differences in User Behaviour Impact Customer Experience for Online Furniture Retailers?
All furniture buyers make considered purchases because of the emotional or financial risk involved in purchasing these high-ticket items. But that does not mean every user will behave the same way and think alike before making purchase decisions. Here are some differences we observed in user behaviour on furniture websites.
Reviews and social proof
Online furniture buyers want to see reviews before purchasing a product, no matter how renowned a brand is. Users gauge the quality of products a brand sells by reading the reviews on its website. In fact, users are keen to see more images in reviews to get an idea of how others style a particular piece of furniture in their homes.
Also, social proof impacts users’ purchase decisions and helps drive conversions. This stands especially true for lesser-known brands whose customers are unaware of their brand values and need motivational triggers to buy from them.
Despite this, some furniture brands are against using social proof on their D2C websites and want brand values to inspire users to buy their products.
Flexible credit plans
Furniture buyers are less whimsical than shoppers from other verticals and want to avoid purchase regrets at all costs. Even if things do not go as desired, these users seek ways to rectify their decisions. For example, we found that customers looked for flexible credit plans that would allow them to send back items if they were dissatisfied with the purchase before paying the full cost of the product.
We did not see many brands offering flexible payment options, thwarting conversions on their websites.
New vs returning users
Analytics research showed that new users converted better than returning users on most furniture websites. This is because it is relatively easy to convince new customers through triggers and USPs on the PDP, PLP, or basket page.
However, in the case of returning users, the more they delve into a website, the less likely they become to convert. Since returning users have gone past the discovery phase on a website, they look beyond mere USPs and wish to avail discounts, incentives, and seek flawless customer services to continue purchasing from the brand.
Female users look for seasonal products
Many furniture brands have female customers looking for seasonal furniture. Starting from Easter to Christmas and Summers, they want to buy something reflective of the essence of a particular season. We believe that brands need to expand their product ranges to meet the expectations of this user segment.
Families prefer low-priced items
It was interesting to observe that users with children in their families were more likely to buy the lowest-priced items. There could be two reasons for this. First, these products are budget-friendly for families who have other financial commitments to meet, and they do not want to spend a lot on luxury items.
Second, even if these products get damaged by any chance (by children), users’ pain or regret will not be as much because they have spent lesser amounts on them.
Which Pages Usually Need the Most Optimisation?
Visitors who land on Product Detail Pages (PDPs) are more likely to bounce than users landing on any other pages on the website. Yet PDPs remain the most important page on furniture websites as they receive the maximum search traffic, primarily from Google Shopping. This means that optimising your website’s PDPs is more vital now than ever before.
Home pages and Product Listing Pages (PLPs) should also be optimised because users organically entering the website browse these pages to find something purchase-worthy or just to experience the look and feel of the brand.
It’s important that brands understand what their users want and apply psychological principles to constantly test UX elements to find which optimisation tactics work on their PDPs.
Which Page Elements Commonly Need Optimisation?
Given our experience, we can say that optimising the following page elements helps increase the chances of conversions for furniture brands.
1. On the PDP:
- Dimensions and sizing information
- Third-party integrations for reviews
- Social proof
- Returns and refund information
- Augmented Reality (AR) for in-store experiences
- Neat content layout
2. On the basket page:
- Trigger message placement
- Discount code visibility
- Order summary
3. USP bar on the homepage
4. Number of products per grid on the PLP (Product Listings Page) in the mobile viewport
5. Prominent filters on the PLP
6. USPs and triggers on the checkout page
Apart from these, brands can also test the search and navigation usability on their websites. Since users who search are more likely to convert, improving search functionality can help contribute to their shopping experiences.
Some other ideas that have worked well for our clients and you can try as well:
- Add category links on the homepage
- Implement comparison tools on the category page
- Improve the visibility of checkout codes.
Which Pages Are the Most Difficult to Get Wins On?
Our optimisation strategists unanimously agree that the PDP is the most difficult to get wins on for furniture brands.
As mentioned before, PDPs receive the highest paid traffic, but these are also the pages most users bounce from.
More than flashy visuals or discounts, research showed that furniture buyers looked for convincing answers to important questions such as:
- What are the dimensions of the product?
- What is the return policy?
- Does the brand offer furniture assembly services?
- What are the USPs of this brand?
- Is there any flexible credit option available?
- How will the furniture look like in my room? Can I get an AR shopping experience?
Your PDP content must answer all these questions and thereby deliver real values to users. For easy content visibility and accessibility, you can also consider breaking up the content into different sections.
How Has Experimenting During Sale Periods Worked?
Most of our clients were open to testing during sale periods, given an increased traffic flow to the websites. And we did not see much difference except that a high visitor volume led to an increase in some metrics such as transactions and average order values.
Testing sale-specific information such as triggers around next-day delivery, countdown timers, or sale banners can affect conversions on the website. Otherwise, we observed no significant change when running experiments during sale periods.