Who would have thought that the growing digital marketplace has space for furniture too? But here we are, feeling pretty comfortable getting a new sofa without even leaving the house.
Globally, the furniture eCommerce market generated around 27.74 billion U.S. dollars in 2021, and is anticipated to reach about 41 billion U.S. dollars by 2030. Clearly, if you want to ride the tide of the eCommerce market growth and the online furniture shopping normalisation, now is the time to launch your online furniture store.
In this article, you will read an easy-to-follow breakdown of the eCommerce business in the furniture niche to help you get started with your furniture e-store right away.
But before that, here’s a thing.
For a mid-size or a smaller furniture business to thrive in a landscape dominated by major players requires them to adopt technological advancements to showcase furniture products in the best possible and realistic settings.
With technologies such as AR, Imagescripting, Product configurator etc., brands can boost online sales by letting customers “try” before buying. Talk about IKEA’s Place app – it has pioneered AR for eCommerce and forever altered how furniture is sold online.
The augmented catalogues help customers easily visualise by placing the preferred piece of furniture in their own house and increase your products’ perceived value. Apart from that, understanding how it will fit in with the existing decor will instantly dissolve their apprehensions about buying furniture without actually seeing it.
With that in mind, let’s now look closely into the steps to selling furniture online.
Step 1. Pick the Niche
A niche is a segment of the larger market with unique preferences. Choosing a niche is one of the smartest ways for small businesses to kick start and capture a slice of the market with relatively less competition.
Also, aligning your brand identity with the right niche will help you position yourself as a preferred furniture brand for a specific audience.
For example, customised, handmade items would be a niche market, as would furniture for environment-conscious customers, furniture made from ethically sourced raw materials, and furniture for remote workers. Similarly, selling antique or vintage furniture or second-hand furniture online can also be your niche.
Ideally, you want to look for a relatively underserved niche, but with enough demand for it.
Some common factors in defining a niche:
How to find a niche when selling furniture online?
- Leverage Google’s “Autocomplete” to type product categories in the search bar and get niche ideas.
- Get more ideas from Google's Related searches — the search terms at the bottom of the search page.
- Analyse eCommerce platforms like Amazon, Etsy, eBay, etc., to learn what categories of products are trending. Digging deep into platforms’ homepages, product categories, and subcategories will help you find gaps and opportunities. Also, look for the products that have the most sales and reviews.
- Use keyword research tools to determine search volume for the particular product term and validate its demand.
- Study the existing players within a niche to find out if people are willing to spend in a particular category using Amazon or Google.
- Check what direction the niche is trending with the help of Google trends.
Step 2. Decide on How You Want to Sell?
Next, you want to choose the type of business model for selling furniture online. Several factors, such as skills, knowledge, budget, and storage availability, will influence your decision.
- Design and manufacture on your own
When you have the craftsmanship and a dedicated workspace, you may either make and sell a limited number of pre-decided products or sell made-to-order items per the customers’ specifications.
- Design on your own but work with the manufacturer
So you are a skilled designer but do not want to produce the items yourself? In that case, tie up with the appropriate manufacturers who can build the pieces as per your designs.
- Curate and resell products from different brands
This model requires you to curate collections that help you carve a unique brand identity. This means you do not design or manufacture products but source them from various brands and sell them to make profits.
Here, much like the above model, you curate items from other makers, but you have no role whatsoever to play in the supply chain. The dropshipping supplier will take care of storage and shipping.
Step 3. Get in Touch with Suppliers
If you decide to source your products, you must have reliable suppliers and manufacturers on your contact list. Auctions, online marketplaces, wholesale and flea markets, and websites like AliExpress, are good places to look for them.
Market research will help you to find suppliers and producers who:
- Specialises in high-quality furniture in your niche.
- Possess an in-depth market understanding.
- Promises consistent and timely product supply.
- Offers products at prices affordable to you.
Step 4. Consider a Location of Storage or Warehousing
While selling furniture online, you may need storage space, especially when building or curating products yourself.
Starting off, self-storage options such as your house or garage work well for a few small items and are budget-friendly too.
But renting external warehouse storage solutions may be best if you have a lot of sizable furniture or later when you expand your range. In addition to offering secure storage, they may assist you in delivery, cross-docking, and bulk shipping services.
Consider the following things while looking for storage space:
- Look for a storage unit in your local area that has limited exposure to the outside world. Double-check for the facility’s overall security.
- As far as possible, rent a climate-controlled unit with dehumidifiers and air conditioning so that you do not end up with mouldy furniture.
- You can rent a larger space and share it with other businesses with due security measures in place for bulky items.
Step 5. Create Your Online Store
The best way of selling furniture online is through an eCommerce website.
Many eCommerce website platforms take the hassle out of building an online store and help you set up an eye-catching store without any technical know-how.
Shopify, Squarespace, BigCommerce, WooCommerce, and Wix, are a few website builders known for their beautiful themes, tons of powerful tools for payment, currency support and shipping integrations.
The thing to remember here is—high-resolution product images are a linchpin for any furniture eCommerce brand as it is the only way customers can envision products. So if you want your products to sell quickly, capture the finest photographs for your eCommerce listing.
Besides that, you can also sell your products on social media channels and online marketplaces like Amazon, Flipkart, Etsy, eBay, etc.
Step 6. Start Promoting Your Brand
Your work doesn't just stop at launching your online store, you need to take over different marketing channels at the top of your lungs to make it public. To draw more eyes to your online store, it’s always advisable to interact with audiences on multiple platforms rather than focusing on a single channel, such as:
- Niche advertisements, Lead magnets, Paid ads, etc. to reach new customers
- Email campaigns, Loyalty programs, and Payment plans — for customer loyalty
- SEO, Content, and Social media marketing
- Influencer marketing
- Video and Mobile Marketing
Shipping Furniture Demands Dedication. Don’t Worry; We Ace It!
There is one last but important thing to sort out: Shipping.
While selling furniture online, achieving the goal of safe and prompt delivery can be incredibly challenging for oversized or odd-shaped furniture items. If not handled properly, there is a discreditable risk of damaged merchandise.
Moreover, the heavy or large furniture items cause the shipping cost to shoot up substantially, reducing the overall profitability of your furniture business.
Fortunately, there is a solution.
Need a hand with eCommerce shipping? Get in touch with our experts now.