Quick Fact – Between 2013 and 2018 the brick-and-mortar home goods markets grew by 20.9% while e-commerce grew 88.7%; according to data provided to Retail Dive by Euromonitor.
As a result of this growth, various retail giants have invested in private-label home goods lines for both in store and online, while one major player recently added three new furniture brands to its list of private labels. This article takes a look at recent Retail Dive research on the retail home goods sector, how native digital brands are approaching physical retail space, and how traditional home goods retailers can compete in a social media world.
While virtual reality for the retail sector itself isn’t new, consumer adoption has taken hold in recent years as more home goods retailers have started providing apps and applications. In particular, Lowe’s currently offers two different artificial reality (AR) apps called Measured and Envisioned as a means to provide convenience to consumers when shopping for furniture. Ikea and other furniture retailers also offer AR applications and even Target used AR to help sell Christmas trees over the last holiday season.
Industry experts believe that this technology will eventually evolve so that virtual showrooms within a shopper’s home will be the next reality. The tech will allow people to pick items up and arrange them in their home to try all sorts of combinations without having to picture how it would look in their mind.
Warby Parker and Casper are both native digital companies (companies that started online with no physical locations) and they both recognize the opportunities that arise when giving consumers the ability to interact with products at brick-and-mortar locations. But they aren’t following the traditional model by using the physical store as both a warehouse and a showroom; instead, they are creating experiences.
For some, creating an experience means opening pop-up stores in select locations during specific times of the year, such as the holidays. Others are creating more permanent spaces, but are coupled with a movie theater experience or a coffee shop or even a co-working space, so people can sit and test the furniture while watching a movie or sipping coffee or working remotely… like they would do at home.
Gone are the days of the catalog. While some households might still receive an occasional catalog in the mail, the art of direct mail is quickly disappearing in an age of online connectivity. For digitally native brands, social media is the new catalog, and keeping active accounts on Instagram and Pinterest is vital for connecting with new and existing customers. Social media provides a means for retailers to create a community and is now the primary means for providing brand information. Meanwhile, legacy retailers have cut back on print advertising and are taking a closer look at the different social media platforms.
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