- Chip and Joanna Gaines’ Magnolia Market uses Shopify Plus to immerse ecommerce customers with augmented reality.
- D2C home goods brand Kroft harnesses ecommerce to build connections with customers.
- Interline automates orders to increase monthly online sales from areas without retail locations.
North American furniture and homeware industry annual revenue. Commonthreadco.com
Today’s online furniture shoppers know what they want. Following two years of supply chain disruption, a nationwide housing recession, and growing cost-of-living concerns, furniture ecommerce websites face a demanding customer base seeking the best deals, detailed product information, and new ways to visualize items in their home.
What’s more, behemoths like Amazon and Wayfair have conditioned shoppers to expect near-immediate delivery at little-to-no extra cost, with try-before-you-buy and liberal return policies.
So how are furniture websites meeting these challenges?
Here are 9 effective marketing and sales strategies from furniture ecommerce websites that have settled comfortably into their own versions of success.
The best furniture ecommerce websites
Dustin Kroft’s passion for design led him to launch the ecommerce furniture website Kroft in 2014. It’s a brand that makes heirloom-quality home goods with unique, minimalist designs.
Kroft’s products are first-rate. But how does a solo designer carve out a niche in a global ecommerce marketplace?
Speak directly to consumers
“We are a direct-to-consumer brand. We don’t have any wholesale relationships,” Dustin explains. “Our goal from the beginning was to build intimate connections with each of our customers.”
Kroft serves customers directly through its website, with no intermediaries. That keeps costs down and prices lower, and maintains a premium, personal experience for people who purchase Kroft furniture.
Dustin is able to achieve that level of personal service by harnessing Shopify reports to keep on top of sales and forecast inventory thresholds, so that production is accurately scheduled and items stay in stock.
Our goal from the beginning was to build intimate connections with each of our customers.Dustin KroftFounder, Kroft
Spearheaded by Casper in 2014, mattress-in-a-box brands disrupted the bedroom furniture industry with an innovative direct-to-consumer (D2C) business model.
In 2016, online mattress sales accounted for 5% of the industry. In 2017, that slice doubled to 10%. And by 2019, 175 online mattress retailers were fighting for elbow room.
Optimize your online store
How do you stand out when it seems everyone is offering the same product? Leesa, one ecommerce mattress retailer, turned its website into a one-stop-shop for all things sleep.
Leesa gains an edge by providing its customers with a complete A-to-Z sleep experience, which includes not only the mattress, but the sheets and blankets, the bed frame, and more.
Even better, it combines urgency and an easy purchasing experience through a robust set of automation features from Shopify Plus:
- Entry and exit pop-ups for sale events
- Sticky bars with an expiration countdown
- Auto-calculated payment options through Affirm
- Automatic discounts applied without entering codes
- Upsells within cart for accessories like foundations and frames
- Simplified checkout options using PayPal, Amazon, or a customer account
Speaking of sleep, have you checked out Brooklinen? If the brand name sounds familiar, it’s because this ecommerce home goods company has been mentioned in a slew of media articles for its eye-catching price points.
Over the past few years, Brooklinen has flooded the internet with a combination of earned and sponsored coverage. And not just from home-good publishers like Good Housekeeping and Home Textiles Today. It also regularly appears on business and tech sites like Fast Company, Business Insider, and more.
Solve a problem, for less
How did Brooklinen gain blanket coverage? By focusing on:
- Customer reviews, ratings, and user-generated content
- Common bedding myths surrounding topics like thread count
- Unraveling those mysteries through the science of sleep
On their ecommerce furniture website, for instance, they explain the intricacies of making the best sheets, as well as their pillows, comforters, and towels. Why is this important? Because by explaining what happens between the sheets, it’s earned both customer trust and a loyal, profitable following.
4. Best Choice Products
Loyal customers are an invaluable asset. But how do you turn a casual shopper into a brand evangelist?
To increase the size of its loyalty program, ecommerce site Best Choice Products (BCP) ensured its customers get rewarded not just for purchases, but for spending time on its furniture store.
BCP places its rewards program, powered by Shopify Plus Partner Swell, front and- center on its homepage and throughout the shopping experience.
Reward loyalty, one action at a time
Most loyalty programs only reward you for the dollars you spend. BCP, however, rewards you for engaging with the brand, or as it puts it: shopping, connecting, and exploring.
And if you want to take it one step further, not only can you redeem your points to get items for free, but you can also redeem partial points for partial discounts.
UK design company Black+Blum first started in 2000 with lighting. Within two years, it expanded to furniture and furnishings and began selling direct-to-consumer online.
In 2014, Black+Blum saw a need to invest more heavily in their already successful international strategy. Unfortunately, after a laborious five-month relaunch, sales in both the US and Europe plummeted 50% because the new site wouldn’t load for certain browsers and smartphones, nor did text and images translate correctly.
Prior to choosing that unnamed platform, co-founder Dan Black says he considered Shopify Plus, but was hesitant because it didn’t allow users to have a single back end for multiple international sites.
What first appeared as a drawback would soon become an advantage.
Scaling your business, internationally
Today, Black+Blum uses Shopify Plus to offer international customers a seamless experience, allowing them to shop in their own currency (USD, British pound, and euro) as well as get local shipping and fulfillment.
Thanks to integration with Shopify Plus and BrightPearl, Black+Blum has been able to sync its inventory without worrying about fulfillment.
“Tech,” explains Dan Black, “should not be a barrier. We’re now free to channel our energy and manpower into our business since we’re no longer worried about site stuff.”
6. Boll & Branch
Data shows that people increasingly choose products from companies that make environmental and sustainability commitments.
Consumers want to know the items they’re purchasing come from manufacturers who care. And by purchasing those products, they can view themselves as part of a bigger movement toward sustainable practices.
Boll & Branch is in on it.
Boll & Branch’s linens are “ethically made, sustainably sourced, and rooted in quality.” The brand supports the farms and workers who cultivate the cotton it uses; that means respecting the people and the plants that make it happen.
And it’s not just sustainability that interests furniture consumers. A Shopify survey found that 41% of people prefer brands that have a clear commitment to social causes. Overall, consumers surveyed wanted brands to have “actions that match their values.”
When you run a 50-year-old retail business with 32 brick-and-mortar locations, launching and aligning not one but three ecommerce storefronts can be daunting.
That was the situation that Interline Furniture, the parent company of home furnishing brands like SCANDIS and Dania Furniture, found themselves in last year.
To move from surviving in the ecommerce space to thriving, Interline harnessed the power of automation.
Interline’s path to building an integrated commerce brand led it to Shopify Plus—specifically, one of Shopify Plus’ proprietary ecommerce automation tools, Shopify Flow, which lets merchants consolidate front- and back-end workflows with “trigger, condition, action” formulas.
Building an order automations workflow in Shopify Flow.
SCANDIS, for instance, created seven active workflows across three storefronts, including one to track commissions from its in-store associates. It also created flows to:
- Automate employee discounts
- Manage inventory and reordering
- Unpublish and publish products due to availability
- Optimize refund reports to save hundreds of hours every year
“The more you automate with tools like Flow,” says Julio Giannotti, web manager at Interline, “the more money a business can make. It’s an exciting time and we see a lot of opportunity. The more we use Flow the better off we’re going to be tackling the more important parts of our business.”
💡Leave inventory management behind completely by learning how to dropship furniture.
Umbra was founded in 1979 in Toronto because of a need for window coverings to suit the co-founder’s budget and taste. With no suitable options to be found, he decided to create one. Best known for its array of photo frames, Umbra now focuses on developing creative and fun solutions to everyday housewares.
Create trends at an affordable price
Umbra was born out of the need to fill the gap between cool, trendy, and unique design for budget-minded shoppers, but it now manufactures and sells furniture, bathroom accessories, wall decor, and more, all over the world.
IKEA’s slogan might be “Swedish for common sense,” but maybe it should consider a secondary slogan along the lines of, “Look who’s laughing now.”
While not a Shopify Plus merchant, we can’t help but highlight them.
Laugh with your customers
What sets IKEA apart, aside from the inexpensive and (sometimes) easy-to-assemble furniture, is their ability to jump on a joke and run with it. This all started when Balenciaga, the Spanish luxury fashion house, released a $2,145 bag resembling the iconic IKEA reusable shopping bag.
In another trending story, news broke that Game of Thrones costume designers used IKEA’s Skold sheepskin rug to dress John Snow for his Night’s Watch duties.
IKEA joined in on the joke with a parody set of instructions. The internet went nuts and, although we can’t say for certain, sales for these items may have gone through the stylish-yet-affordable Swedish roof.
Bonus: Etsy and Wayfair
Despite the ease of drag-and-drop website builders, not all online merchants want the trouble of managing their own front-end store. Here, marketplaces like Etsy and Wayfair are a convenient solution.
Etsy’s “global marketplace”
If you want to sell furniture online, but don’t want to have your own ecommerce platform, you can sell on Etsy. Customers know to look to Etsy to find hand-crafted or vintage items from all over the world, and with 79.59% of web traffic coming in direct or via search, that’s a pretty great position to be in.
💡Shopify users can sync their products to Etsy using verified apps.
Wayfair “has what you need”
According to SimilarWeb, Wayfair is Canada’s number two home and garden website, behind only The Home Depot. It’s no wonder: with over 10 million products on sale at Wayfair from more than 10,000 different suppliers.
Thanks to their catchy slogan and extensive TV ad spend, they’ve quickly become a household name, with impressive organic search keywords tripling their PPC campaign results.
Ecommerce furniture best practices
So what do these examples tell us about how to navigate the current ecommerce furniture space? Here are five actionable tips:
Make it easy to buy
When asked about their reasons for buying furniture online, 48% of US consumers say that the ease of purchase is the primary driver.
Provide a seamless browsing experience for your visitors by making it easy to check out at any point. Whether on desktop, tablet, or mobile, customers should be able to navigate without friction and have opportunities to buy at every phase of the shopping process.
Upgrade your online showroom
When shopping for furniture online, consumers can’t sit on a sofa or feel the smoothness of an oak table. Instead, ecommerce sites should provide detailed information about how a product will fit with your home decor.
That could be achieved through a quarterly magazine or lookbook. You might showcase customer photos, videos, and reviews. Or, bring your products to life through AR.
Be sustainable, or find a cause
More than ever, customers want to shop with companies that share a similar outlook on the world. Filling your home with objects made using sustainable, ethical practices feels more fulfilling to many consumers than scoring the best deal.
Choose a cause that makes sense for your business and product offering, then demonstrate a legitimate positive impact. Avoid corporate greenwashing at all costs.
Keep customers close with D2C and loyalty programs
One advantage of ecommerce is that brands can speak to consumers directly, wherever they are in the world. Foster close connections with your customers (and keep prices as low as possible) by doing all your business directly through your website.
Then, turn those positive experiences into repeat custom, with a low-bar loyalty program that rewards interactions as well as purchases.
Harness marketing channels to meet customers where they are
As a small furniture website, you might not have the time or budget to run lengthy ad campaigns or create a portfolio of content. No worries! Ecommerce platforms have integrated marketing channels that let you target your spending toward interested audiences on their preferred websites and social media apps.
Don’t want to spend on marketing at all? Sign up with an established home goods marketplace and let them do the advertising.
There is no status quo in ecommerce, however. Keep an eye on your direct competitors to see how they’re responding to furniture ecommerce trends.
Final thoughts on the best furniture ecommerce website
What lessons can your ecommerce business glean from these online furniture store experts?
Do something better than anyone else, and watch your business grow.
Customers want to be loyal to brands, but more than anything, they seek consistency.
Whether that means doubling-down on the latest technology such as augmented reality, evolving your strengths from retail to online, or being part of a social media joke—lean into your strengths and don’t look back.