Buying Homeware Customer Pain points
Five of the biggest pain points of customers when buying homeware/home furnishing products are the need to physically see the product before buying it, challenges in product delivery, fluctuating and inflated sales prices, short product trial periods, and the pain of finding it hard to pick the right product from many options. Several companies have come up with solutions to address these pain points. Detailed information is in the next section.
The Need to Physically See the Product Before Buying
- One of the biggest pain points customers face when buying homeware/home furnishing products is the need to physically see the product before purchasing it. This is especially true when buying homeware and home furnishings online.
- Buying home furnishing products, like a couch online, for example, used to seem like a gamble. To address this pain point, a company called Wayfair uses its artificial intelligence (AR) and augmented reality "View in Room 3D" feature to help customers visualize home furniture in their home.
- The tool emulates the in-store shopping experience while the customer searches from the comfort of their home, and this improves the likelihood of the customer purchasing the product. According to the 2018 Retail Trends Report: Home Furnishings Edition, 20% of millennials have purchased furniture via smartphone.
- Whereas baby boomers are used to buying furniture from a showroom, millennials prefer purchasing furniture online. "View in Room 3D" AR technology has solved one of the biggest pain points these customers faced while furniture shopping online, which was not having a guarantee of how the product would look and fit in with other items of their home.
Anxiety Around Product Delivery
- Another big pain point of customers when buying homeware/home furnishing products is the anxiety they get around the delivery of the purchased item. This is because products such as furniture are heavy and bulky, and pose a challenge moving them into a home or an apartment. Shipping the products can be very expensive, and even when free shipping is offered, it is still a pain.
- According to the 2018 Retail Trends Report: Home Furnishings Edition, 32% of Millennials are known to expect free shipping on all their purchased furnishing products all the time.
- To address this pain point, companies have devised solutions. For example, Wayfair has come up with "Day of Delivery" tracking where customers are sent a text message and an email linked to a GPS map that shows the exact location of the delivery driver, with a countdown clock showing minutes to delivery.
Fluctuating and Inflated Sales Prices
- Fluctuating and inflated sales prices is a decades-old big pain point of customers when buying homeware furnishing products such as mattresses.
- According to Hart Posen, associate professor of management and human resources at the University of Wisconsin, sale strategies for traditional mattress sellers consist of very little innovation and inflated prices. Also, data collected by Affirm shows that "the average order value for furniture and homewares is $742".
- According to Retail Drive, to address this pain point, online players entering the mattress industry business such as Casper have set flat prices rather than use the old fluctuating sales price strategy.
Short Trial Periods
- Customers buying homeware/home furnishing products such as mattresses face the pain point of being given short product trial periods.
- Longer trial periods for homeware/home furnishing products have been known to increase customer satisfaction.
- According to Retail Drive, to address this pain point of short trial periods, online players entering the mattress industry business such as Casper give customers extra-long trial periods.
The Pain of Picking the Right Homeware or Home Furnishing Product
- One of the biggest pain points of customers when buying homeware/home furnishing products is that it is hard for them to pick the right product and style for their home. This is especially true when there are many options to choose from.
- To address this pain point, companies are offering help. For example, West Elm uses an AI-enabled Style Finder to help online customers find tailored options for home furnishings in less than 10 seconds. Style Finder scan s a customer's Pinterest boards, using visual recognition technology, to find out about their style preferences and provides matching products from the company's offerings.
- The Inside makes customized and on-demand furniture using 3D imaging technology and digital printing at fair price points. Customers are given a chance to select a fabric pattern of their choice and the furniture is made and shipped to them in six days.
To determine five of the biggest pain points of customers when buying homeware/home furnishing products, our first research strategy was to search for a pre-compiled list with relevant information. This strategy was not successful as no list was found.
Our second strategy was to search for relevant information in reputable reports, publications, and industry databases. This strategy led us to sources such as Retail Dive, Furniture Today Leadership Conference, Apartment Therapy, and Digital Initiative, which provided information on pain points of customers when buying homeware/home furnishing products. We chose pain points that were stated as some of the biggest and included them in our findings.