Startup brands of today have access to different tools than its fore-runners. The digital landscape has opened opportunities to reach, connect and convert customers without depending on retailers or dealers only. They are free to set their own agenda for how to grow the business. But there are still a lot of modern furniture brands who are literarily stuck in the past, creating great products, for end customers they rarely meet. This distance between brand and customer is so established that we almost don’t think about it anymore. Sure, social media is a channel for building stronger customer relationships. But is it enough for the modern customer? The reality is that when it comes to purchasing furniture for the home or office environment, the brands which do not offer a buy button leave a big blank space right in the heart of the customer journey. A missed opportunity to leave a mark in people's minds, resulting in a weaker brand experience and lower returning customer statistics.
What furniture brands miss out on not going DTC
- The Customer Relationship—If you never talk to the customer, the relationship gets hurt.
- The Brand Story—If someone else tells your story, it most likely will be told the wrong way
- The Product Value—If someone else describes your product, emotional and rational values will get lost
- The Product Experience—If someone else sell your product, the lack of ambition will put your product in a bad light.
- The Customer Experience—If someone else sells the product, you loose the ability to build trust through great customer service.
Trend spotters say that 2024 will be the year of the brand and customer experience. People want authenticity and demand a more open dialogue and transparency than before. Businesses expect to invest more in brand knowledge than sales marketing. We can already see this happening. So, if this is the case, what will happen to the furniture brands that put their customer and brand experience in the hands of the retailer?
Is the market possibly forcing a slow DTC transition to accelerate considerably in the following years? And if it does, what are the benefits and setbacks for furniture brands breaking that barrier and going e-commerce on a full scale? The question is, when does it become more difficult to ignore the benefits around the corner? Heritage brands might need even more consideration on being in charge of their own brand and customer experience, not less.
Benefits going DTC e-commerce
- Full control over the brand experience
- Full control over the product experience
- Full control over the customer experience
- Full control over the shopping experience
- Full control over the customer service
- Full control over the customer community
As a design and e-commerce agency working in the internet industry for over a decade, we see a massive shift in the mindset of modern potential clients. The variety of sectors has quickly grown from traditional e-commerce-heavy segments like fashion and sports to the whole spectrum. Industries dealing with complex products or services, who’ve been passive towards going e-commerce, are now deciding when rather than if.
No matter what area, all of them focus on optimising the brand experience. It feels like 2024 is the year when online brand presence is vital!
Trending client DTC mindset
- More and more complex product brands considering DTC (Cars, Housing, Furniture, etc)
- DTC e-commerce best practices influence B2B brands.
- Next generation Configuration and Customize features.
- The customer journey starts online, so the brand identity is optimised.
The outcome of this challenge doesn’t have to end up with a whole industry ending up in flames. Of course, many beautiful, functional partnerships out there will team up and find solutions as a unit. For example, many retailers are answering the critique by building more customisable landing pages for brands to express their values to a greater extent. An initiative that will probably benefit both parties in the long run.
People buy furniture with their feelings, emotions and aspirations. They want to feel the brand, the craft, the storytelling and the products. That’s what every potential customer with a passion for interior and furniture design wants. It's time to invest in a brand and customer experience online that gives them that.
It’s time to switch the “Find store” button to “Add to basket”.