The Backyard Is Extra Hot This Summer! How Successful Furniture Retailers are Responding to (Pent-Up) Demand.
The Pandemic Led to More Summer Staycations Supercharging Patio and Outdoor Furniture Sales
Our homes became our sanctuaries. Home improvement projects and investments in furniture and decor are at an all-time high. The pandemic has caused a lot of people to cancel their travel plans and stay home for the summer. With so many people spending more time at home, there has been a drastic spike in consumer demand for outdoor furniture, pool, grill, and gardening items. People are looking for ways to make their “staycations” more comfortable and enjoyable.
Money that would have been spent on plane tickets and hotels is now being used for home improvement projects & backyard tools, furniture, and decor. Market research firm Global Industry Analysts predicts a 4.4% growth for the outdoor furniture category that will ultimately help reach a market size of $13.3 billion over the next several months.
Anticipate Demand Using Google Trends
There are many tools that can be used to anticipate and track demand in your industry. A FREE and helpful resource is Google Trends. The web-based resource allows you to discover interest levels for any search term imaginable, and see how that term is performing on Google’s Search Engine. You can also search for multiple terms side-by-side to see how they are performing in comparison.
Google Trends is not only important to help anticipate demand but to further understand HOW consumers search for things. For example, we ran a Google Trends report for “outdoor furniture” and “patio furniture” from January 2019 to June 2020. The first chart shows you the comparative interest in the two terms we’ve chosen. Both search terms have nearly doubled in interest this year versus the usual seasonal spike last year around the same time.
Using the same Google Trends report, the other charts further down the page show the related queries to our search terms “outdoor furniture” and “patio furniture.” Here you can see related terms shoppers are using as well as showing the subregions (in this case: states) that are using the terms more frequently.
You can get even more specific with your search terms by focusing on a specific product. For example, we ran the same Google Trends report, but added the term “fire pit.” This search term is performing exponentially better than it has performed in the past year – and we also notice how “fire pits” stay hotter (no pun intended) throughout fall with a soft spike in November.
Looking at the subregions for the term “fire pit”, you can see that consumers in Northern states are more frequently searching this term. To get even more information on what shoppers are looking for, check out the related queries for “fire pit”. “Adirondack chair” is a related term that is also performing well.
Using Google Trends to Make Decisions
But – what does all this information really tell you and how can you use it to improve your business? Use the information you gather from Google Trends to make inventory purchasing decisions. The numbers back it up. Using the fire pit example, if you notice shoppers in your area searching for fire pits and Adirondack chairs, make sure you list these items on your website, on your in-store kiosk, make sure you include them in your promotional campaigns, on social media, and in your circulars.
Much like SEO (Search Engine Optimization) for your website or social media platforms, you can also optimize product details for your online and in-store product catalogs. Use the information you find in Google Trends to improve your product information. For example, you can add or edit frequently searched key terms to your product description or product title to help your products become more searchable and easier to find.
Wondersign Customers looking for more information on how to edit product information, please visit our instructional help article: How to Edit Product Details.
How Retailers Using Wondersign Have an Edge on Competitors
Your Shoppers Google… And Then Visit Your Store
Accurate and up-to-date inventory and stock levels are critical in times of severely disrupted global product sourcing. The much increased demand for furniture, specifically in the outdoor category, has put a strain on already stressed supply chains. Shoppers demand to know what you have available and – if not – how long they have to wait. Retailers using Wondersign have the ability to manage, prioritize, and display their on-hand inventory and manufacturer factory availability.
Manufacturer Factory Availability which calls the connected DC in real-time
Knowing how long it may take for a manufacturer to fulfill a special order is extremely important when helping a shopper, especially a shopper who is expecting their new furniture to be available ASAP. Having real-time inventory at the tip of your fingers saves you time and creates a better shopping experience for your guests. You no longer have to check brand directories and leave the customer alone on the sales floor, giving them the opportunity to cross-shop or – even worse – walk out of your store. The Wondersign Platform gives you access to real-time product availability from participating manufacturers and displays this critical data right at the point of purchase.
The manufacturer inventory availability is important, but your on-hand local inventory is even more crucial during the sales process. You, as the retailer, want to sell your on-hand inventory fast, as cash is already spent and waiting for you to turn a profit. The Wondersign Platform allows you to import and manage your local warehouse and showroom inventory and sync that product information to online and in-store selling channels.
Manage your local inventory from within the Wondersign Platform. You can import new inventory records or you can edit and delete directly in the platform. On the right panel of the Local Inventory page, you can add multiple showrooms or warehouse locations to keep your inventory data accurate and organized.
For more information on how to import and manage your local inventory please visit our help article: How to Import and Manage Local Inventory. Please note: Local and Manufacturer Inventory is available for customers on Wondersign’s Basic plan and up.
Prioritize On-Hand Items
Bring on-hand items to the top of the product feed. Much like the Google Search results page, not many people venture past the first couple pages of results. Thanks to Wondersign’s custom sort order feature, you can prioritize items you have on-hand.
For more information on how to prioritize items please visit our help article: Creating a Custom Sort Order of Items.
How to Find Inventory Availability in the App
Inventory availability can be found on the individual product pages under the Specs tab or on the scene collections page once items are added to the cart. Tap or click “Check factory availability” to see if the item is in stock. When you tap or click “See details” it breaks down the current or future inventory records for each available location.
See how real-time inventory appears on the collections page of the Wondersign Catalog Kiosk App.
A Better Presentation In-Store
Give shoppers the best experience they could ask for. Use the information you’ve collected based on product demand and take action with how you present your product offering in-store.
The Home “Attractor” Screen
Customize your Wondersign Catalog Kiosk App to match with the demand your shoppers are seeking. Edit the category tiles that appear on the Home “Attractor” Screen to feature the top-performing categories. As you can see in the image featured below, we added the “Outdoor” category to the home screen to make it faster and easier to get to the products shoppers are looking for.
For more information on how to edit the category tiles on the attractor screen please visit our help article: Customizing the Appearance of the Catalog Kiosk App.
Schedule Sales and Feature Promotional Items
Help your sale items stand out. On the Wondersign Platform, you can schedule and set promotional pricing for items in your catalog. These items will stand out with a “Sale” icon and you can use filter options to find all search results for sales items in the category being browsed. Combine the power of on-hand inventory and sales items to bring these products to the top of your catalog.
For more information on how to set sale pricing for your product catalog please visit our help article: How to Set Promotional (Sale) Prices.
What’s Included – Breaking Down Kits and Bundles
The What’s Included section appears in the Specs tab on the Wondersign Catalog Kiosk App. This section lists all the SKUs included in the featured product. This helps the shoppers and RSAs know which products and components are included in the selected kit or group. The inventory availability also accurately represents the complete bundle or kit of products so you don’t have to worry about certain components being out of stock.
A Better Online Experience
If retailers have learned one thing from this pandemic, it’s the importance of a strong and consistent online presence. Today’s shopper is an omnichannel customer. They use multiple platforms before making a purchase decision, especially large ticket items like home furnishings. Use the Wondersign Platform to keep your information up-to-date and consistent across all your selling channels by automatically syncing into an e-commerce platform such as Shopify or BigCommerce.
Product Variants Eliminate Duplications
Many times you have products that have variants in color, size, and configuration. In the example below, the Beachcroft Seating Set has four different configurations – depending on the number of sectional pieces you would like to add.
Instead of clogging up valuable real estate on the website, forcing the user to browse many pages of search results to find the exact configuration they want, you can use the built-in product variants on the single product page. This eliminates duplicate records of products and creates a better browsing experience for the shopper.
Find Items Faster with Filter Options
The Wondersign Platform has built-in mapping for filter options. Retailers use these filter options on their website or in-store on their Catalog Kiosk App for kiosks and sales tablets. It allows shoppers to narrow their search results and help find exactly what they are looking for in a faster and easier way.
The same concept applies in the Wondersign kiosk and tablet app. Filter options are the best way to narrow down search results.
Take Action and Respond to Demand
Right now is the perfect opportunity for furniture retailers to make improvements in their sales process and capitalize on the high demand for furniture, specifically outdoor and patio categories. Compete with big-box and pure play brands with a quality shopping experience in your online and physical store.
We are happy to help walk you through any of the features or capabilities of the Wondersign platform.