The year 2020 introduced some profound changes due to the pandemic wherein the traditional ways to work, live and play transformed instantaneously. Millions of consumers have started adapting to the digital shopping spree that included buying new homes and refurbishing their current homes during the lockdown. The retail home furnishings category continues to record tremendous growth in both site traffic and spend. Furniture as a smart investment is still attracting consumers through digital shopping platforms which is also the major reason why furniture brands are seeing the lockdown phase as a tremendous opportunity. The behavioral and lifestyle shift due to the pandemic restrictions has paved way for companies to make the right move that aligns with the consumer’s needs during and post the pandemic. Recognising and implementing digital strategies is still an uphill task to many brands. Understanding the vision on transitioning consumer pattern and commitment to adapt will help brands in mutating their marketing styles.
Initially, the inception of nationwide lockdown raised concerns related to the direct-to-consumer (D2C) approach which various furniture brands had been following traditionally. Furniture shopping had been hardwired traditionally as an offline shopping experience wherein customers directly interact with the seller to discuss product details. The lockdown enabled brands and consumers to explore the online commerce pool. The lower price options and boundless options for virtual exploration have dramatically given rise to innovative market trends while motivating manufacturers to research on digital business possibilities. This overall blend of online and offline shopping experience has significantly enhanced the customer satisfaction as they have enhanced access to convenience and quality.
Thus, the retailers and manufacturers are advancing themselves for online shopping age which is making furniture industry experience an upward growth trajectory. The retailers are now paying attention towards E-commerce and technology as the segments have majorly changed the way people shop. Evidently, the ongoing digital transition and consumer behavior will help in retaining the swift growth of furniture industry. Various retailers and manufacturers have responded promptly to the preference for online shopping that went up significantly due to the pandemic guidelines around social distancing. The pandemic has remarkably increased reliance on online retail for fulfilling buying needs, even the consumers that used to be skeptical about online shopping and digital payments are now progressing towards online shopping. This has made retailers and brands confident about the segment’s growth with technology-driven approach. The lockdown has activated enormous demand for office and home decor furniture while adding growth prospects to the furniture industry. The amplified demand for interior aesthetics is driving the online commerce world as more people now desire for home remodeling.
The furniture industry is constantly reconstructing targeted strategies based on the ongoing market sentiment, and introducing products that meet the aesthetic and pocket needs of consumers. This will help in positioning furniture brands while stimulating demand for digital shopping options during and after the pandemic period. The novel COVID-19 pandemic has introduced a new normal of remote and restricted shopping which is directly shifting traditional buyers towards adopting ecommerce. The facilitation of online shopping mediums by home décor and furniture market during the pandemic uncertainties will also enhance brand loyalty and sustained growth while giving rise to the sales and profits with each purchase.
Transformation in the digital space has entirely rewired shopping mechanism, online experiences are being considered more gratifying than the physical stores. Consumer behavior is the key element for advancement in retail sector and COVID-19 has paved way for an incredible change for the retail industry. Technology has led this change while bringing in a great deal of progress and improvement. The COVID-19 pandemic’s has transfigured the industry by introducing unparalleled technology and is expected to guide consumers and retailers while navigating through the current crisis. With the swift growth in digital development, the sector may witness critical tech trends that will mutate the future of the retail industry for years to come. However, there’s more to expect from new age tools like machine learning, data science, computer vision, augmented reality for the coming years as they have potential to turn challenges into opportunity for improvement.
Problems can be transformed into opportunities, and 2021’s challenges for the retail industry are no different. Retailers are adapting and using latest retail technology innovations to catch the pace of market. Digital transformation and data-driven approach will continue to contribute to the newer realms of competitive retail environment.
Raghunandan Saraf, Founder & CEO, Saraf Furniture