The Indian furniture market is a $ 1 billion industry in India, constitutes about 3% of the online sector, and is currently one of the fastest emerging e-commerce segments in the country.
So, if you had a plan to sell furniture online, this is a perfect time.
Why? Consumers are back on the buying spree, and new market trends show that e-commerce will drive the way forward both in order volume and sales.
“Two megatrends driving the demand for online furniture were the increased digitisation and growing share of urban millennials. However, in today’s scenario, with people spending a significantly substantial time indoors in the wake of the COVID-19 pandemic, there has been a rise in the demand of various home improvement products – especially over the last couple of months,” says Rakesh Kaul, CEO & Whole Time Director, Somany Home Innovation Limited (SHIL) for Business today.
In this blog, we will discuss –
What type of furniture can you sell online?
Do pillows count as furniture, but not kitchen equipment? Turns out, furniture belongs to different categories too, and it is best to keep them in mind if you decide to get into this business.
The Indian furniture and furnishings sector mainly has furniture, furniture parts like wooden flooring, concrete slabs, marble, tiles, textiles and other home décor products.
It does not include:
- Home consumables
- Home improvements
- Products (hardware, tools paint etc.) faucets
- Kitchenware categories
5 ways to sell furniture online
How did Pepperfry and HomeLane find success as an online furniture selling platform? What was the core business plan that led to these businesses scaling it big? Most importantly, how do customers trust furniture brands when purchasing something without testing/touching it to ensure quality?
— instamojo (@instamojo) December 7, 2020
#1 – Find a trusty manufacturer or vendor
If you are new to selling furniture, make sure you check the following –
- Read up on market share of different furniture items. Here’s a list to help you get started
- Research on trending designs. Consult with different furniture design experts on this
- Get samples of new products before you buy them
- Set up a unit with trusted vendors and purchase or lease machinery
- Maintain a steady flow of working capital
Customers are more aware than ever about the quality of the products they buy. Therefore, you need to do a little market research and find vendors and wholesalers who source good, low-cost material and craftsmanship. Once these are in place, we can start to focus on setting up an online platform. Here’s how you start.
#2 -How to set up an online store to sell furniture
The offline furniture sector covers only 50 out of close to 500 Indian cities in India, serving just about 10% of the Indian population.
So how can you reach everyone and tell them about your brand? Go online. Start with a social media page, a WhatsApp group of your first 50 loyal customers and work around the feedback that keeps your business on its toes.
In 2020, let’s face one truth – offline stores are not business-friendly when you start out. Managing the high cost of real estate, poor logistics and the cost of inventory can become a huge problem. You can sell your furniture on –
- Online store platforms like Instamojo or Etsy
- Online marketplaces like eBay, Amazon, Pepperfry, Rentomojo
- Social media marketing– Instagram and Facebook store
- A brand website with integrated payment links
Tip – An online marketplace is ideal to sell used furniture, and it will sell quickly for the low price. Do not sell new furniture as your products could get lost in the ocean of furniture.
How Ecowoodies uses the Instamojo Free Online Store to Sell Furniture
Ecowoodies, an online furniture seller makes customised cane furniture and sells its products on the Instamojo online store. The brand uploads photos of their cane chairs and footstools on the store with a detailed description of the product.
#3 -Focus on key design and content elements
If you wish to sell your furniture on an online website, here’s the key focus you need to take into account –
- Choose a website builder: If you are new to the online game and do not want to spend a lot of money on an independent website. E-commerce website builders like Six, Squarespace, and BigCommerce lets you create a website on your own, for a monthly subscription fee.
- Product description: Furniture is not as easy to purchase as clothes or books. People want to take their time before making a decision to buy a piece of furniture. Therefore, you need to invest time to describe the product in detail when uploading it on the store or website. For example – take a look at how well Saraf furniture describes their product information in different categories. Ensure you mention –
- Furniture dimensions
- Warranty information
- Estimated shipping time
- Maintenance instructions
Read more on: how to write product descriptions for stores.
3. Product photos: Take clear, high definition photos of your furniture before you upload it. Provide photos with dimensions mentioned in the photo itself.
#4 Find a shipping partner and a trusty online payment gateway
The worst kind of customer review is when it is not your fault!
Many times, customers have received a furniture that comes chipped, broken, or damaged during transit in shipping. While this is not your business’s fault, you are still accountable for it when it comes to the customer.
When you set up a website or an online store, check the shipping partner reviews. Find out which shipping service is used by furniture retailers in your city, and be clear about the shipping time for different furniture categories.
Choosing an online payment gateway
How do you want customers to pay you? Do you want to ship your products to international customers too?
With Instamojo, you can integrate payment gateway on your website using API and offer online payment modes for customers to pay quickly. If you have just started selling furniture online, you can send payment links to your customers separately via Instamojo payment link.
#5 – Build a friendly social media persona
Almost every new furniture business has an online platform on social media. Did you know Pinterest is a great platform for furniture sellers?
Customers add furniture they would like to buy to their Pinterest boards. They share beautiful furniture products with their friends on Instagram.
View this post on Instagram
Share customer testimonials on social media
Customer reviews are the most important for a furniture brand. The biggest fear customers have with online shopping for furniture is they cannot test the quality of the product.
You can request happy customers to review you on social media – which you can later add to your stories and website.
Have a strong customer support system in place
Talk to your customers, and ask for feedback.
Offer to assemble furniture for free and provide after-sales customer services to address any issues the customers have with the products. Allow customers to send you emails, call on a customer care number or DM you on social media. This prevents any negative feedback being displayed on your website or social handles!
Offer discounts and coupon codes
Keep a track of seasonal marketing trends and offer customers discounts and coupon codes to boost sales.
Did you know that over 92% of customers use discount codes while shopping?
It’s simple. Discount codes attract more customers to your online store and this way, you have more potential buyers for other items in your store. Most online visitors will be curious to know if you have other offers and will look around before making a purchase.
The online furniture sector is booming thanks to work from home; people are buying furniture they need like desks, chairs, tables, etc since they are spending more time at home.
If you wish to set up your online store, send payment links, integrate payment APIs, offer customer support, collect leads, and sell on social media – you are in the right place already. Sign up on Instamojo and choose how you would like to start selling your furniture. We can help!