The U.S. home furnishings market reached a worth of $96.4 billion dollars annually last year, and the market segment is projected to grow significantly as home ownership rates continue to increase. Even so, breaking into a world of low-cost competition, rapidly changing trends and small margins can be especially difficult for small or even mid-sized companies. Much of the home furnishings market is dominated by big box stores, most notably a certain Swedish home furnishing giant.
Home furnishing companies are also looking at a shifting retail marketplace. Emulating previous annual trends, 2018 saw a decrease in the number of department stores and traditional brick-and-mortar locations with many companies opting for an online presence. Abandoning a physical location allows companies to both reduce their footprint and carry less inventory at any given moment. Instead, stores are putting the savings into online platforms which allow them to engage a wider audience of customers on a more personal level.
Online Brand Management
Selling via the internet has never been easier and more and more people are comfortable shopping on the web. In fact, an increasing percentage of consumers are making a majority of their purchases online—companies like Amazon have changed the way people shop. Whether your business has a physical location and an online showroom, or you operate solely via the internet, it’s important to distinguish yourself from your competition. It can be especially difficult to reach consumers, especially when you are not new. It’s important to establish a creative direction and develop a richer experience for online platforms.
Consumers are using a variety of social media platforms like Instagram and Snapchat to look for home furnishing ideas. Having a strong and creative internet platform is key to engaging consumers in today’s market. Your website should integrate popular social media handles like Instagram to share their visual story. Consumers want constant stimulation. To keep them coming back, you will need to develop image-content for your brand that reaches your target consumer aesthetically.
Strategic and creative brand management is essential for home furnishing companies, but it is no longer the only factor driving customer loyalty. The demographic of shoppers is changing as Gen X and Gen Z consumers rate both quality and affordability as the most important consideration when making a purchase, over luxury or logo. Today’s consumers are not only looking for innovation but also authenticity. They want to support companies that sell a value—ethically sourced products that promote both social environmental platforms. Consumers are willing to pay more for these qualities from companies they can identify with. This means the pressure is on for companies to provide a good-quality products, with good return policies and excellent customer service skills.
The Key to Success in a Saturated Market
Your company may have a great product, an engaging platform and a stellar brand strategy, but there is a fourth pillar of success which all good companies have— positive customer reviews. In a saturated online market, consumers rely on online reviews. In fact, nearly 9 out of 10 consumers view an online review as a personal recommendation. Additional statistics show:
– 72% of customers say positive reviews make them trust a business more
– 3 out of 4 customers will only take action or make a purchase after reading a positive review
– Customers have been shown to spend 31% more on a business with “excellent” reviews
– 88% of consumers trust online reviews as much as a personal recommendation
Most consumers rate expertise, professionalism and reliability as their primary reputation characteristics when shopping online. If your business already has great online reviews, these statistics should be encouraging. It’s clear positive reviews can bring customers to your business, but what happens if you have negative reviews?
Negative reviews can significantly affect a business. Statistics show that businesses with just one bad review, lose a whopping 22% of consumers. Three or more negative reviews generate a loss of almost 60% of consumers and the numbers get worse from there. Negative reviews can destroy a business, unless they are addressed. First and foremost, it is important to take care of your customers from the outset and have an empathetic and professional customer service response team. One customer leaving a bad review opens the door for other unhappy customers. Often times, these poor experiences could have been ameliorated by a quality customer service response. Today’s consumers are looking for a high-quality product, but more importantly, they want to know that if they aren’t completely satisfied with a product, they want to know that that company will take care of it quickly and effectively.
The Bottom Line
Increasingly, customer reviews make the difference between success and failure for a business. Companies that acknowledge this are bound to succeed where many others will fail. One company who is utilizing their customer reviews successfully is Kavuus— a home furniture business providing affordable mid-century modern furniture to consumers via an online platform. They have traded a brick-and-mortar location for an online showroom to invest more money into the consumer experience. They have also implemented a customer feedback program to monitor customer reviews, both positive and negative. The company used the positive reviews to continue leveraging what they were doing right and learned from the negative reviews by implementing changes that would increase consumer confidence and satisfaction.
Many companies looking for a successful way to manage their online reviews are turning to eKomi—a third party ratings and reviews collection company. Our team of experts gathers and validates customer reviews before they are posted. This ensures both trustworthy and authentic reviews for customers and for companies as well. ekomi puts a premium on credibility and verifies every review. If your business is looking for an effective online review management system, contact eKomi-us.com today to learn more about how positive reviews can take your business to the next level.