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Interior Buying for E-commerce: 3 Important Considerations

ByDave Stopher

Mar 10, 2020 ##retail

With 87% of UK retail purchases being made online, it’s increasingly clear the direction that retail is heading in.

Shopping online means that customers have much more choice, better chances to compare items and more flexibility and convenience when it comes to delivery to their homes or places of work − all of which need great consideration from the buyers who source the products to go on sale.

When it comes to the interiors industry, items can often have high consideration factors for the consumer as they are often highly priced or involve decisions from the wider family. Therefore, here we look at what interiors buyers need to think hard about, in addition to the basics of price, quality and availability.

Description & vital information

Without customers being able to see, touch and feel a product in a physical store, the marketing of an interior product such as a sofa, a pair of curtains or an intricate lampshade becomes even more difficult. Therefore, the way the e-commerce site presents the products is of vital importance.

The images used to promote a product must enhance the product’s features but should also be true to what the customer will receive upon ordering. As a buyer it’s worth insisting in the investment of the latest photographic equipment, especially for high-priced items, so that every detail, seam, trim and texture can be highlighted to the viewer.

Similarly, however, there’s no point adding beautiful filters and improving the colour quality of an image, which misrepresents what the customer will see when they open their new purchase. A review should be carried out once imagery has been collected to ensure that the images truly reflect the products being sold.

Almost as important as the visual content is the written content about the product. Accurate descriptions, fabric details, manufacture/brand names and styling advice are all important on a product page, as well as after-care and maintenance advice, which might sway a customer’s decision. It’s the buyer’s responsibility to ensure that as much detail on the product is given to the marketing team to create the pages and descriptions.

 

Social shareability

With many marketing managers allocating huge chunks of their budgets to social media advertising, it’s important that the products being purchased are going to be inspiring and engaging within the digital stratosphere!

For this reason alone, buyer’s often buy certain ‘hero’ items, which they know will be popular for PR purposes and are likely to be covered by digital media and celebrity influencers.

When it comes to interior styling and the way the products are showcased on site and on the brand’s social media platforms, the shoot location, how the products are styled alongside other products and the way they are described in the copy are really important factors.

Shoot locations could vary from exotic beach-side homes or country estate properties, depending on the nature of the products and the brand values. The important factor is that content should be consistent across all channels and in keeping with the target audience. “A real perk of the job is looking at absolutely fabulous, huge location houses all over the country!” says Dani Taylor, Buying Director at Cox & Cox. “We tend to do one trend per location so that there is consistency in the look of the images.”

Logistics

Being a solely e-commerce interiors business does have an influence on the types of products that you buy to sell on your website.

There are considerations of whether items will be delivered assembled or flat pack, how they will be packaged, how fragile they are, how well they will travel and how quickly the items can be delivered. “Mail order is convenient, but it certainly has its challenges, especially when you are sending a huge and expensive sofa or outdoor furniture set,” admits Dani.

It’s important that e-commerce business find a logistics strategy that works for their budget, their products and their customers’ needs. Often sourcing a logistics partner can be a huge business decision that can shape the success of the business as a whole.

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