Furniture enterprises, like many others, had a chaotic year in 2020. Yet the consumer desire for furniture products is perhaps stronger than ever. Experts predict industry growth of over $113 billion through 2024!
For eCommerce furniture, the pandemic drove a surge in sales as consumers shopped from home. Now, as customers return to the store, the industry faces new challenges, such as:
- Satisfying the demand for online sales
- Creating a consistent experience across channels
- Gaining efficiency in a supply chain under new pressures
At the center of these challenges (and opportunities) is product data. Unfortunately, legacy systems for managing data often stand in the way.
Let’s look at how Product Information Management (PIM) can help furniture companies connect with the modern customer and adapt their business for growth.
Tackling the Top Furniture Challenges
Let’s look at a couple of common challenges furniture sellers face as they transition to a more digital and data-driven marketplace.
Legacy Systems and Processes
Why do furniture businesses struggle to adopt eCommerce? It’s not from a lack of willingness, but a lack of processes and technology to make new sales channels effective.
Furniture enterprises that started as brick-and-mortar retailers weren’t set up with online selling in mind. They often have legacy technology that makes data management challenging. Also, because managing data was never a focus, their internal processes aren’t designed for the fast, accurate delivery of product data to downstream systems.
Today’s furniture customers want pieces that fit in a particular space and coordinate with existing colors and styles. Furniture enterprises can meet that need by offering customizable — or “configurable” — products. This allows customers to start with a base product and then select from various colors, fabrics, weights, dimensions, etc. The challenge is that to offer configurable products, enterprises must have well-managed product data. Otherwise, the experience will be confusing to shoppers, and they may not receive precisely what they ordered.
Fortunately, the combination of PIM and data management processes can help furniture businesses adapt to new channels and demands.
4 Ways PIM Helps Furniture Businesses Thrive
By getting a better hold on product data, furniture companies can see improvements in a number of areas. Here are four to consider.
Faster Time to Market
As furniture enterprises adopt online channels, they must find ways to launch new products fast. PIM helps businesses achieve a faster time to market by removing the data bottlenecks and inaccuracies that affect production times and supply chain efficiency. Having established, consistent data management processes (facilitated through PIM) helps companies go from design to production to the showroom (plus online sites and marketplaces) with greater speed and accuracy.
In addition to operational improvements, PIM helps furniture enterprises accelerate their digital initiatives. Trusted, compelling product content is essential to reaching shoppers online. If shoppers can’t find the desired product details on your product site, they’ll go elsewhere.
Furniture buyers also want to understand how the product looks and feels. That requires digital assets like 360-degree images, videos, design files, product displays, PDF manuals, and more. PIM with Digital Asset Management (DAM) provides the capabilities businesses need to deliver this enriched content — and do so consistently across online, mobile, catalog, and in-store channels.
Improved Data Quality
By creating a culture of data management, and using tools like PIM and data governance processes, furniture businesses can ensure accurate and complete data across the enterprise. High-quality data empowers all levels of the business (from the store level to the executive team) to make more informed business decisions. Accurate, consistent data also improves customer satisfaction and helps enterprises offer customizable, configurable products.
Many companies pursue a data management project with cost savings in mind. Typically, this happens within the supply chain. With precise weight and dimension data, furniture enterprises can reduce shipping errors that cost the business time and money. In addition, having a single source of truth for their data — as opposed to multiple systems — lowers IT costs. And perhaps most importantly, providing customers with accurate, complete data reduces product returns. Fewer returns not only lowers costs but improves customer satisfaction and creates greater loyalty.
Adopting a Culture of Well-Managed Data
Transitioning out of legacy business processes isn’t easy, but the modern furniture marketplace demands it. With customers using multiple channels to shop, data management can’t take a back seat any longer. Furniture enterprises must:
- Consider implementing the right platform for PIM and DAM.
- Analyze current processes and determine where to add or adjust to ensure data quality.
- Determine where the business needs help – whether it’s integrations, syndication, data governance, hierarchies, etc. — and find the right expertise.
- Adopt a data management culture, with training that enables each team to reap the benefits of PIM.
Not sure where to start? Contact Amplifi.