How to Increase Sales in Outdoor Furniture Business in 2022 (Ultimate Guide)
As more businesses and potential customers turn to online platforms and stores for most of their purchases, physical stores are slowly losing potential customers. This, in turn, reduces daily sales to levels much lower than in the pre-eCommerce era. Antique stores or businesses dealing with large items also face this challenge.
The outdoor furniture market particularly saw a drop in the number of people who visit their physical outlets before making actual purchases. This phenomenon is worrisome, as outdoor furniture represents some of the most intimate items an individual could purchase. Statistics show an average adult spends at least 6.5 hours of their day seated and about 7 hours lying down. That is already over half of the day. Needless to say, the remaining hours are spent cooking/grilling, standing over a counter at a bar, sourcing clothes from the wardrobe, lounging in the pool, and whatnot.
These activities require furniture. Hence, one can safely say an average human spends as much time on a piece of furniture as they do on mobile phones. With that knowledge, one would expect people to put in the effort to physically try out furniture in a showroom to ensure their comfortability and sturdiness before purchasing them. But that is not always the case. Sadly, a low turn-up of potential shoppers at a furniture store often translates to little or no sales. Yet, going completely online may not quite cut it. Rather, it defeats the whole purpose of paying rent or lease on that lavish showroom or storage space.
Then there’s also the set of customers who’d rather go the old-fashioned way and physically experience what they are paying for. Thus, most stores experience a customer boom during their peak-shopping seasons but revert to a slow business right after. Having understood the need to keep a physical store functioning while embracing eCommerce, it falls on such businesses to devise means of motivating more customers to patronize their outdoor furniture outlets.
Outdoor Furniture Industry Trends For 2022
Before looking into various means of driving sales to a physical store even during off-peak seasons, one must understand the current outdoor furniture trends. That way, dealers could identify potential hurdles from the grassroots, and figure out a working strategy around them.
The following trends have been observed in the outdoor furniture industry in recent times as more companies evolve to better adapt to the times.
1. More Demand For Outdoor Furniture Via E-Commerce
A study of the outdoor furniture market now shows that at least 87 percent of successful sales began with a quick online search. A huge percentage of these searches end in a purchase from an online store they stumbled upon in the process. Hence, only a few take initiative to actually visit the physical outlet, especially after reading rave reviews from previous customers.
This market trend ultimately increases the demand for outdoor furniture via eCommerce, at the expense of offline stores. This trend is becoming more prevalent in 2022, as more social media platforms support e-market, Google ads, and other tools promoting eCommerce.
2. Fast & Free Shipping, Easy Financing
Why spend all that time surfing through stores at an open market searching for the right furniture when you could easily find them online? Many digital stores have improved their policies over time to include eye-catchy incentives like free coupons, discounts, and free shipping. Research shows that the majority of consumers tend to go for a particular product once it offers free shipping.
Many do so because it gives a sense of finance management. This is especially true for bogus items like household or outdoor furniture that could have otherwise attracted bogus transportation charges. Being aware of such trends, many stores now offer free shipping as motivation to drive sales. After all, who wouldn’t jump at a chance to have those bulky items delivered to their doorstep for free?
Easy financing options also facilitate this process. Many businesses offer the buy now, pay later policy or paying in installments options to attract more clients.
3. Cash & Carry Options
Gone are the days when customers wait days or weeks to acquire a purchased item after picking out a sample in a showroom. These days, the market is running over with millennials, who do not exactly have patience as a strong point, especially when it comes to shopping. To meet this changing world, companies adopt new strategies that make items available for pickup right after payment.
The cash and carry policy entails having pre-constructed pieces of every sampled design on-hand in every available color. This facilitates easy pick-up or delivery upon payment.
4. Focusing On Personalization
Another trend taking over the outdoor furniture market involves offering personalized suggestions to potential customers. The power of this method in driving sales cannot be overstressed. In fact, many shoppers look forward to guidance from professionals when deciding what piece to purchase to suit their preference. Many go as far as employing professional home designers capable of sourcing furniture pieces from various markets to create a finished work depicting the homeowner’s taste and personality.
Companies know this and take advantage of such opportunities, offering free guidance and consultation to clients. Ecommerce traders also exploit these methods, leveraging resources like social media marketing, advanced technology, and some Google-supported tools. Ever wondered how pop-up adverts always seem to know your recent product search history or most-visited sites? There you have it!
5. Sustainable Production
The belief of a certain set of people, now more than ever, affects their life choices, from what they eat, to the type of furniture they use. For these people, the cost of items needed to maintain consistency in their way of life without compromising their beliefs hardly matters.
Vegans, for instance, naturally would not go for items produced from animal-based raw material. Ultimately, they would favor plant-based materials like wood, straw, cotton, or synthetic fibers over animal-based materials like wool or leather. Likewise, environmental enthusiasts look forward to purchasing biodegradable items or recycled pieces.
This tendency for customers to patronize products marketed under brands that share their environmental concerns has led to a shift towards more sustainable furniture. Sustainable production tasks all outdoor furniture makers with focusing on minimizing environmental impact. Hence, major companies promote green manufacturing by using recycled materials in their production process, cutting out potentially harmful, non-environmental-friendly ones.
6. Durable And Weatherproof
Seeking out more environment-friendly options like recycled items that would not add to the landfill is important. However, companies cannot afford to do so at the expense of the quality and durability of their products. Hence, outdoor furniture brands seeking to embrace sustainability should have a feasible quality standard as a reference point. That way, in their quest to meet the environmental needs of consumers, companies would not compromise their product’s standards and durability. Consumers expect household furniture to last for years, decades, and even centuries.
Furthermore, consumers now seek out furniture pieces capable of withstanding inclement weather. Such furniture should permit heat expansion in the summer and contraction in colder climates without losing its luster or succumbing to wear and tear. Outdoor furniture particularly is exposed to these changing weather and climatic conditions daily. Hence, manufacturers need extra care to ensure these products come weatherproof.
7. Functional Outdoor Settings
A quick surf through Pinterest or other picture-based websites would unveil millions of outdoor furniture ideas. From over-water settees and swinging loveseats to pool-side bamboo beds and multipurpose ottomans, these items make for great outdoor pieces, at least on paper. However, when it comes to creating a functional outdoor setting, most of these furniture pieces do not actually work. The functionality of certain layouts depends on the space in question, the season, and the number of people expected in that space at a time. The changing times are also a key factor when deciding the best furniture required to create the perfect functional outdoor setting.
In 2022, the demand for furniture that supports remote working is high compared to previous years. This is a result of the growing work-from-home trend. As a result, furniture companies record more sales of tables, desks, chairs, standing desks, and two-in-one furniture. To meet this evolving trend, these companies focus on creating newer designs that are both stylish, practical, and easy to assemble. This gives them a heads up among competitors, thereby driving more sales to their brand.
8. The Need For Smart Furniture
Remote workers are constantly on the lookout for furniture that would better their remote-working experience. From expandable home offices to electronic seats with massage functions, several furniture makers are developing to accommodate the changing times. Now, rather than having multiple desks and chairs for working in various conditions, customers can opt for a selection of convertible furniture that works for any space at any given time. This is both space-saving and sustainable.
Additionally, many homeowners are becoming more adept at entertaining guests outdoors rather than in enclosed spaces, especially since the coronavirus outbreak. Hence, families, offices, and most formal settings are purchasing more outdoor furniture lately. This increases the chances of having more clustered-up spaces in the backyard, poolside, or patio. The extra seats are not exactly welcoming to the eyes after the guest leaves, and there’s just so much furniture storage facilities could accommodate.
However, the use of expandable smart furniture erases this concern. These pieces could be expanded at will to accommodate the desired number of guests and compressed right after the event to fit in with other conventional household pieces.
9. Technologically-Enlightened Employees
Shoppers love to have all their questions answered on the go, whether shopping online or in physical stores. As a result, several websites not only install FAQ sections but also chatbots designed to answer more personalized questions a customer might have, as well as provide other suitable information. Companies also recruit tech-savvy customer care personnel to attend to customers either full-time at physical outlets, or remotely via phone calls.
Such employees must have deep knowledge of the company’s products, and how they compare to other brands. They must also be capable of offering personalized guidance to clients based on preferences, taste, budget, season, and desired use. In this modern era, new-generation shoppers tend toward more technologically advanced products. This set of people makes up the majority of online shoppers. As these millennials hardly deem it necessary to physically visit furniture showrooms, they resort to contacting companies via phone calls or chats to know more about their products.
In such a situation, it falls to the customer support personnel to attend to such questions, and advise on technologically advanced options. Therefore, companies need to look into better ways of training staff, and bringing them up to date on current technologies. That way, they could better attend to customers, and provide them with the desired information.
Challenges Outdoor Furniture Businesses Are Facing Today
Earlier, we studied the various market trends in the outdoor furniture business and ways to adapt to them. However, knowing this trend alone and resolving to grow your furniture business accordingly is hardly enough to keep an outdoor furniture business afloat. This is because several factors stand in the way of increasing sales in the industry. For many in the furniture market, whether operating physically or via eCommerce, these factors pose major challenges.
Let’s look into some of these challenges plaguing outdoor furniture businesses today and how to surmount them in an ever-advancing world.
1. Evolving E-Commerce Technologies
For a company to keep up its success pace, it needs to observe the behavioral pattern of consumers and adapt its products accordingly. While this has worked out for decades, it seems to become increasingly difficult as demographics shift. Experts attribute this to modern technological advancement, which greatly sways consumer behavior and buying habits.
Outdoor furniture outlets constantly battle to motivate customers to patronize them via ads, unique images, testimonies, reviews, and referrals. However, with too much competition in the market, brands struggle to put on a convincing front using the best technology. Resources like 3D solutions help create eye-catchy images, while google ads and social media help businesses reach target clients in a shorter time. Hence, evolving eCommerce technology acts as a two-edged sword, standing as both a hurdle and a solution in the outdoor furniture industry.
2. The Need of Customers to Physically See Products
Brands hoping to go completely online face a major challenge: satisfying customers wishing to see products physically before purchase. Even after sighting clear pictures, many hope for a physical feel of the furniture, which is completely understandable.
Where possible, satisfy customers’ needs by directing them to your physical outlets. However, e-commerce managers can bridge this gap using advanced technology like live videos, video calls, or image scripting. Such resources allow the customer a more perceptive feel of their desired purchase, offering better chances of sealing the deal.
3. Evolving Customer Journey
Along with customer behavior and technology, a customer’s needs and expectations also tend to evolve. Hence, items considered indispensable today might just go out of fashion the next. Struggling to evolve to meet such needs at the right time and fulfill them keeps the outdoor furniture business on edge.
4. Standing Out From Industry Competitors
Competition exists in any industry, and any company hoping to stand out must constantly develop new strategies that work. This, in turn, helps them remain relevant in the eCommerce marketplace and their physical stores. Unfortunately, such strategies are not readily available but require hours of brainstorming. Even then, many do not end up working as envisioned when finally applied. This forces companies to come up with newer ones to set them apart in the industry.
5. Consumers’ Focus on Sustainability
Many businesses are forced to advance prematurely thanks to consumers’ quest to acquire sustainable products. By implication, these companies resort to a fire-brigade approach to enable them to meet this trend and come up with desirable brands.
Unfortunately, not all outdoor furniture companies are equipped with the technical know-how, advanced technological equipment, or manpower required to produce environmentally-friendly products. Hence, they either produce substandard items that fit customers’ desires or spend billions on training employees and stocking up on newer, more-advanced manufacturing gears.
Developing Your Marketing Strategy
Outdoor furniture dealers are turning to more effective means of driving sales, motivating customers, and improving periodic turnup. Some create special teams set aside to research and strategize. Others observe the market trend over time and carry out effective marketing insight to improve output and satisfy customers in the long run.
However, appealing to the needs of potential consumers by creating desirable products is just one step in driving sales. To have a complete turnaround in business revenue, companies also require ensuring the perfect product catches the interest of the customers they were created to serve.
For most products, reviews, referrals, and quality pictures just might cut it. However, strategizing in the outdoor furniture industry proves trickier, as these items are intended to serve more long-term purposes. Given that the taste of each person varies, individuals require stronger motivations to sway them. Therefore, a comprehensive strategy not only helps an outdoor furniture business attract ideal customers but also enables them to determine these customers and design products to suit the target audience. This solves the bulk of challenges facing furniture businesses even before products hit the market. Here are some proven ways of developing and implementing market strategies.
1. Understand Who is Buying Your Outdoor Furniture: Their Demands and Their Buyer Journey Map
The marketing strategy a company adopts depends on the sect of customers they hope to reach out to. For instance, for younger, new-generation customers or millennials, companies can focus more on online marketing and creating smart designs. Female audiences tend to go for sleek furniture, preferably with bright colors and an overall cozy feel, while formal sectors tend towards simple yet classy designs. Additionally, affordability, space consumption, sustainability, and mobility are other factors furniture makers can consider when creating customer-targeted products and designs.
Conducting a market survey to determine what customers desire even before commencing the production process helps save time and resources. More importantly, it ensures companies focus on what customers want, leaving little to chance. After achieving the market survey, putting the product out there to attract the target audience comes in handy. Fortunately, the strategy of understanding the target audience also works in this aspect.
Factors like age, occupation, gender, financial capability, and preferences inform a person’s choice of entertainment outlet. Older adults might be more akin to reading newspapers, while millennials spend hours on social media. A knowledge of this would help outdoor furniture companies utilize the right platform like radios, social media, television shows, fashion magazines, and the likes to reach potential clients where they are. This increases the company’s effective visibility and, invariably, successful sales.
2. Engage Customers Online
Successful research equips businesses with the right information on how and where to reach potential customers. One of the most effective means to do so is by exploiting online platforms like Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, and Pinterest, as well as online marketplaces. Of course, the choice platform depends on the target customer, as explained earlier.
A common mistake many online furniture marketers make is sounding too salesy when trying to sell products online. While this might work occasionally, chances are those who utilize these online platforms stumble upon your ads by chance. Many of them weren’t looking to buy furniture in the first place and hence might not spare those ads a second glance no matter how great your sales pitch seems. In contrast, engaging content would capture the potential customer’s interest, motivate them to discover more about the product, and ultimately convince them to see a previously non-existent need to own the said item.
Therefore, the goal of any outdoor furniture online marketing campaign should be to engage customers, not just to sell an item. That way, companies can drive more traffic to their online outlets or websites, thereby increasing the chances of completing a transaction.
3. Make Your Website as Gorgeous as Your Outdoor Furniture
An eye-catchy website contributes to engaging visitors and potential customers for longer periods. Therefore, furniture business owners should avoid websites or online outlets with tacky layouts. Rather, dealers should opt for more organized websites with colorful layouts and structured content. This prevents customers from feeling overwhelmed or stumped when looking through your website. Additionally, furniture designers need to make a habit of posting great items on their websites, with amazing designs and awesome picture quality.
With so many customers conducting online research before patronizing a store, websites are fast becoming the pillar of modern business. Therefore, outdoor furniture dealers should have factors like simplicity, comfort, and sustainability in mind when creating online websites and deciding on images to upload. These images must conform to the times, suit the needs of specific consumers, promise extraordinary user experiences and leave room for customers to imagine endless possibilities. Remember not to go overboard with these strategies, though, as customers looking to patronize your outlet would certainly expect exactly what the website promises. You do not want those unsatisfied customer reviews reducing your market standing.
4. Create Unique In-Store Events
As most business owners know, customer loyalty is necessary to sustain an enterprise and keep it afloat all year round. A great way of winning customers’ loyalty is to organize unique in-store events. This creates a sense of belonging, improves customer-seller relationships, and avails them opportunities to talk to new and existing clients. It also enables them to recall why they opted for your brand to start with while creating opportunities for existing customers to share experiences with potential shoppers.
In-store events also give potential customers reasons to enter your store or showroom during off-peak seasons. Who knows, one or more of the displayed products might pique their interest. Examples of feasible in-store events companies can engage in include:
- Engaging lunchtime discussions
- Charity events or fundraisers
- Fashion shows
- Group book reviews
- Cooking shows
You can also organize a community fair where local vendors could display their items in a central location complete with other side attractions. Outdoor furniture companies can take things a notch further, allowing patrons at the event to experience a feel of their product firsthand by strategically placing them as part of the seating arrangement.
5. Use Store-Front Displays to Divert Passers-by
Despite the evolving world and peoples’ tendency to turn to more technologically advanced shopping methods, the old way of simply walking into a store can hardly go extinct. Therefore, passers-by should also be considered potential customers. This creates the need for outdoor furniture dealers to devise means of diverting these passersby into their stores and motivating them to make a purchase. One way of doing that is using store-front displays. This method is as old as time and has proven effective repeatedly, even during off-peak times.
Using select furniture pieces that are irresistible and intriguing avails this method of better chances of succeeding. It could be a piece of smart furniture reflecting its multiple purposes, or a group of furniture arranged to create a breath-taking scene. Anything intriguing enough to arouse a second glance from a passerby works. Just be sure to switch up the looks and change the displayed items regularly. This keeps the interest building, motivating more people to patronize your physical outlets. Many companies adopt this method, even including it in their building plans.
This explains why most showrooms have glass doors, large windows, and screen walls for better visibility. With the right arrangement of items on display, who knows whose interest you trigger. Sometimes, passers-by do not stop immediately to purchase the items, but may add them to their wish lists, take photos to post online, or recommend them to families and friends looking to purchase outdoor furniture.
6. Become The Go-to Place For Outdoor Furniture Advice
Take advantage of your walk-in customers to preach your product and promote its numerous functionalities. Once customers recognize your advisory expertise, you become their first point of contact before deciding to purchase any furniture. Better still, such customers would not hesitate to recommend your business to a friend, relative, or stranger seeking a trusted, knowledgeable outdoor furniture dealer. The plus side of this is that even during off-seasons, your showroom or physical outlets would keep bustling with potential customers hoping for a nudge in the right direction.
Keep these customers more engaged by offering physical demonstrations, furniture care tips, and effective methods of ensuring product durability. Such engaging customer service keeps them returning and motivates them into making you their go-to dealer for advice and purchases. Positioning your store as a professional consultation hub sometimes requires more direct measures such as:
- Listing them as part of your company’s services
- Encouraging patrons to spread the word/refer your business
- Requesting customer feedback on your websites
- Encouraging callers to patronize your physical outlets for one-on-one demonstrations
- Including a call to action on your company’s website
- Offering indispensable suggestions and advice on the FAQ session of websites
Another strategy that could greatly increase sales in the outdoor furniture business is offering mouth-watering discounts. This method works every time. Studies show that customers find it difficult to resist incentives, sales, and discount offers, especially the juicy ones. Therefore outdoor furniture businesses should occasionally strive to introduce such incentives to convince customers to choose their brand over their competitors. In the absence of such offers, try creating some. Some companies resort to clearance sales, which involve putting up old items in the physical showroom for sale at discounted prices. Since these items still look exquisite and stylish, customers would be more than willing to buy them at such unbelievable prices even when they have no immediate need for such items.
The downside of increasing outdoor furniture sales using discounts is that while this method can effectively drive sales, it does not guarantee repeat business. Hence, customers won in this way hardly stick around, unless your product was fabulous enough to inspire another purchase or product recommendation. It all boils down to creating great products that would trigger such loyalty. Meanwhile, there are other more sustainable means of increasing sales through price manipulations that may not involve knocking off a few dollars. These include:
Introducing generous return policies
Businesses can introduce return policies permitting customers to return products within a specified window period. Usually, these returns can only be done under certain conditions, like when the products are defective, fail to fit the online description, or the customer’s decision to exchange for another. Just like free shipping, free return policies have been proven to steer potential customers towards a company.
Convenient lay-way plans
Lay-way plans involve availing customers the option of making a deposit payment on an item early to lay it off the market for later pickup. The shopper can make the complete payment upon their arrival to pick it up. A convenient lay-way plan comes at no extra cost or interest.
Special offers work like discounts in that it proposes attractive, almost-irresistible deals. In this case, a seller or manufacturer could attach a bonus item to specified products qualified for such offers. These items should be highlighted on the company’s website to better capture the interest of prospective customers. It could be as simple as attaching a free fluffy footstool to every set of garden sofas purchased. Speak of acquiring two items at the price of one! Just be sure such offers do not cut through your cost price as a seller.
8. Use Everything Google Has to Offer
Using Google resources at your disposal to increase sales in your outdoor furniture business is not uncommon. A modern tool adopted by most customers is the Performance Max campaign, which offers companies a means of reaching their target audience across all Google channels. It allows businesses keen on advertising their products access to new inventories, audiences, and formats, thereby arming them with the resources needed to reach shoppers at the right place and time. Such tools drive traffic and sales, maximize users’ reach, and uncover trends.
In the world today, Google dominates up to 77% of all product searches on the internet. This creates the need to maximize its functions with the use of keywords that drive traffic, thereby attracting new and existing customers. Google ads help businesses and advertisers reach customers easily across platforms within shorter periods, be it on YouTube, random websites, or various mobile apps. These stand better chances of piquing the interest of millennials compared to the conventional radio or TV ads.
Social media campaigns also prove effective. Email marketing is another great way of reaching out to potential customers. Although in recent times, that strategy seems to experience a decline in recorded results. This can be linked to the ever-increasing change in customer behavior. 85% of shoppers claim to prefer text messages to email or phone calls from marketers hoping to reach out to them. A knowledge of this can help businesses make more effective marketing choices.
9. Have A Product Information Management Platform
A great way to manage a customer database without losing track of your business is by adopting a Product Information Management (PIM) platform. With the help of PIM software, businesses can conveniently handle content, data, and other materials needed to successfully manage their product and complete sales. A good PIM links a company’s information holdings, making it easier for a prospective customer to find all the information needed about your company or a specified product on the go.
Such information includes product specification or description, available retailers within the customer’s reach, shipping options, and packaging. This connection between product information and marketing strategy serves both the seller and buyer, giving an enjoyable business experience. Implementing a PIM system has been known to boost sales in Outdoor Furniture Business up to twice its initial record.
10. Try New Material Like High-density Polyethylene (HDPE) To Expand Your Product Line
The market shift toward more sustainable products has skyrocketed in recent times. Outdoor furniture businesses are not spared from this phenomenon, with many conducting constant research to discover better ways of meeting this need. One method particularly has piqued public interest in 2022, and it’s the High-density Polyethylene, HDPE.
The HDPE is a high-density recyclable material manufactured from other recyclables like pet bottles, cans, and beverage containers. Aside from being environmentally friendly, these materials are highly durable, affordable, weatherproof, and ideal for all outdoor furniture and décor. The invention of HDPE outdoor furniture has slowly given rise to an era where conventional furniture materials like wood and metal fizzle out. HDPE furniture is durable, sturdy, and comes in a variety of designs and colors to fit any decorative model. This makes it the first choice for outdoor furniture shoppers, from environmental fanatics to a typical teenager just looking to buy a unique piece.
Increasing sales in outdoor furniture businesses is undoubtedly a tricky process. But with the right tools, knowledge, and resources, it could be done almost seamlessly, achieving peak results. Most of these methods have been tried in times past, proving effective. In 2022, the chances of boosting sales in the outdoor furniture market are even higher thanks to the advent of newer online tools and modern technological advancements. These tech resources make it possible for businesses to reach more prospective consumers within shorter periods. The consumer can, in turn, find businesses near them with little effort, using the same online resources.
Furthermore, the post-pandemic era has resulted in a shift in consumer behavior, creating the need for newer varieties of household furniture. For instance, furniture dealers record more demand for items that enhance remote working, from compressible offices to storage desks. Additionally, the craze for items reflecting an individual’s way of life, from veganism to environmentalism, increases the demand for furniture created using sustainable materials like HDPE. As a result, companies need to adopt more advanced marketing strategies and creative ways of acquiring insights.
Overall, a proper insight can help outdoor furniture businesses figure out on-demand products. That way, they could base products on customers’ wants rather than what they think customers should want. By embracing these foolproof strategies, outdoor furniture businesses can record more successful sales moving forward.