Vantiv Omnicommerce Tracker™ - December 2016
Is furniture ready for omnicommerce?
Every month, Vantiv and PYMNTS.com team up to deliver the latest news in omnicommerce. Here's an overview of the Omnicommerce Tracker™ published in December 2016.
A well-defined, well-executed omnicommerce strategy can be challenging for all types of retailers to manage successfully. This is especially true for retailers that sell big-ticket items driven by personal preferences.
December’s Omnicommerce Tracker features an interview with Carl Prindle, president and CEO of Blueport Commerce, about the state of omnicommerce in one such industry – furniture.
Blueport Commerce is an eCommerce platform that facilitates online furniture purchases. In the interview, Prindle explains that online and mobile sales are becoming an increasingly important part of success in the furniture industry, despite its history as a brick-and-mortar business.
Online sales have become a crucial part of the retail economy in the United States. eCommerce accounted for more than $100 billion in the third quarter of 2016 alone, according to research published by the US Census Bureau. Despite this momentum, furniture retailers have largely not felt the effects of the online boom. According to Furniture Today, just 26 percent of all furniture retailers are enabled for eCommerce.
Prindle says that several obstacles prohibit furniture sellers from realizing their online potential. The biggest challenge lies in overcoming consumer preferences, as most customers prefer to preview and test big ticket items like furniture in person.
“The store plays a huge role,” he explains. “So what we focus on is, how can you enable a best-in-class research process online that enables customers to make purchases from their home or lead them into your store?”
Despite the importance of brick-and-mortar stores for furniture retailers, Prindle says that, “Furniture is in many ways the most omnichannel-ready of any category. People truly do move back and forth between the store and do enormous amounts of researching before a visit and after a visit to a store.”
As a result, he says that furniture retailers should use their online stores to drive shoppers into their physical stores. For example, Prindle points to a tool Blueport offers that enables customers to enter information about what they are shopping for and book an appointment with a salesperson who can help them learn more about a company’s products.
“Then they can give them a link that allows them to go back and purchase any of the items they were looking for right from their computer or mobile device without having to retrace their steps or find the item again online,” he said.
“Omnichannel remains a tremendous opportunity for furniture retailers,” Prindle says. “Offering an exceptional online experience is one of the clearest, most compelling ways to differentiate yourself in today’s marketplace.”
Here’s a snapshot of other notable omnicommerce-focused news items:
- A new survey from HRC Retail Advisory indicates that young consumers have a big say when it comes to household financial and purchasing decisions. According to the report, kids between ages 10 and 17 (often referred to as members of Generation Z) have an influence on 93 percent of parent decisions when it comes to clothing purchases, 90 percent on footwear and 89 percent on games and consoles.
- Amazon expanded its Amazon Home Services offering into 20 new cities across the US. The service allows customers to purchase services such as assembly or installation from local providers through Amazon.
- Dominos has started delivering pizza with drones. The company recently finished three months of testing and debuted a new drone delivery service for its locations in Auckland, New Zealand. Dominos delivered a pair of pizza pies via drone and streamed the event via their social media accounts.
- According to a new survey from Augment, virtual and augmented reality has the potential to make online shopping even more profitable. The report projects that 40 percent of shoppers would willingly pay more for a product if they could preview it using augmented or virtual reality. It also predicts that augmented reality could increase interactivity and help lead to fewer abandoned transactions