Furniture makes houses feel like home, it provides more comfort and convenience in any possible way. Isn't it more satisfying to sit on a pillowed sofa or a leather accent chair after long hours of work? Well, buyers already know how furniture fulfills different life needs, but, as a merchant, who wants to sell furniture online, is it worth the risk?
To cut it short, the only answer to that is yes! The global market value of furniture reportedly attained an estimated $557 billion in 2022 and is believed to continually increase annually -- reaching a predicted value of $650.7 billion by 2027.
Meanwhile, the online household furniture market in the United States alone accumulated a total sales value of more than $55 billion from 2017-2022. As someone interested in entering the furniture industry, aside from marketing through physical stores or yard sales alone, you might want to invest in e-commerce to generate more sales through the use of online platforms.
Still, if you are in the middle of deciding whether to push through or not, read on to learn the guides for selling furniture online in order to properly assess the things you might need before starting off.
- Things To Prepare: How To Sell Furniture Online?
- Available Online Platforms: Where To Sell Furniture?
- Furniture Stores Online For Inspiration
Things To Prepare: How To Sell Furniture Online?
Success is the result of preparation and opportunity combined, so before finally starting your furniture business online, you will need to settle a few things. Of course, it includes the business model, the niche, financial capital, sales goals, and competition data. Whether you will go for reselling, dropshipping, private labeling, or making it your own, it will all depend on factors such as skill level, allotted budget, space consumption, and availability.
How can you help increase the 20% worldwide percentage of people who claim to frequently purchase furniture online? To make it easier for you, below are the points to note to competently present your furniture online:
Check The Condition Of The Product
Test the quality of the furniture, including the durability, the attached screws, the corners, and even the paint or fabric used in order to not disappoint nor get below-average reviews from the customers. These are the things buyers check first upon receiving their furniture, so it should be visually pleasing and in an excellent state.
Does it move or stand unsteadily?
Most furniture will be put on the floor, and poor-quality pieces will surely wobble on any flat ground. Make sure that your furniture is steady, whether it is a couch, a bed, or a cabinet, it should be able to hold anything or anyone when used.
Does the finishing satisfy you?
Since the finishing is among the most important stages in the furniture process, you should never disregard this one. The finishing not only provides a high level of protection to the final products but also to its overall appearance. Whether it is vintage furniture, used furniture, or newly made wood, you can easily tell if it has been refined perfectly or not. It is commonly based on the type of wood, allotted time of preparation, and appearance. So always check if it is free from any damage.
Old furniture tends to be hard to restore, so when you are bound to put used furniture on the online listing, make sure it is well improved. People who sell used furniture will be asked things about its background, so be honest and direct in the product description.
Anyone would want something pretty to be beautiful forever. So, it is better if the furniture is scratch resistant in order to be used for a longer period of time. To see if this can overcome minimal dents, try putting a line on an area using your fingernail to see if it leaves a visible mark.
Decide The Price
You can't just carelessly choose your desired profit and put it as your final selling price just to sell furniture online. Pricing an item requires a careful computation of all the financial factors that will affect the final cost. When starting a business, you will want to secure enough revenue not just to cover all the costs but also to gain profit. You have to calculate your product price based on these steps:
1. Total the variable costs per product.
Start by listing all the costs required in order to sell the product — raw materials, production time, packaging, shipping costs, and marketing strategies. These costs depend on what business plan you have and how many items you make. If you make furniture on your own, then your product's cost will be the price of the materials you use divided by the number of pieces of furniture you created out of it. From that, you can get an estimation of your cost of goods sold per item.
You will also have to consider in computation your production time, which you can divide by how much furniture you make per day or per hour. Well, the packaging, and cost of shipping supplies including added fees by the delivery service you choose must also be in the computation.
2. Put in your profit margin.
Profit margin is the sales percentage that you will have after all expenses have been deducted. For example, if your target profit margin is 20%, try to use this formula:
Price = (variable cost per product) / (1 - your desired profit margin converted to decimal)
After computing, you can now assess if you are somehow on the right track by checking your competitor's product pricing. If your price is way much higher than theirs, then maybe you can try reconsidering your variable costs. Meanwhile, if your calculated pricing is very low compared to the other brands, it is better to plan for a higher profit margin. Still, make sure that the price is acceptable for your market as excessively high product prices compared to your competitors might lead to various sales challenges. Note, this doesn't include your fixed costs yet, which we will discuss after this.
3. Add your fixed costs.
Fixed costs stay the same no matter how many products you sell. These may include business insurance, permits, rent, electricity, payroll, and regular maintenance of the equipment you use, if necessary.
By understanding your fixed expenses, you can wisely note how many sales you need to target in order to break even.
After computing all these, you can test it and make adjustments if needed. Let your product and pricing sit on the market for some time. Observe customers' reaction, and make reports or reviews about them in order to get a hint of what your potential market is into nowadays.
If your sales hit a few hundred dollars above your target, and customers have no issue regarding your product and its prices, then you obviously did well. However, if you see that your sales did not even make it half your needed revenue, it is time to find ways to determine what to do next.
Take Detailed Photos
Clear product images ranked number one among the most important shopping elements that affect customers' purchasing decisions, this is according to the U.S. online shoppers surveyed by Namagoo.
Product photography goes a long way in displaying your furniture out there. As a business owner, you need to know the basics of taking product photos with a professional camera or a smartphone. Of course, you will need a camera, a nice background or backdrop, natural light or artificial lighting, a tripod, and some extra tools like a diffuser in case you want to control your lighting for a better outcome and quality photos.
Take photos from different angles in order to provide your potential buyers with a definite image of what your product looks like.
Front angle. This is a must in every e-commerce product photography. With this angle, shoppers will be able to see the main features of the furniture.
Profile angle. It is a view from the side of the item. For furniture, a profile angle can give customers an idea of what other features or designs are incorporated on the side part of it.
Back angle. They will also want to see what is behind the item. You can take a back-angle shot by turning the product around. Be sure you capture it from the same position as the front angle.
Zoom in. People will need a more detailed presentation of your furniture, that is why you have to take zoom-in photos of them. This will reveal particular elements of the furniture that cannot be seen from the previous photo angles.
3D. You might want to take your product display to another level. Three-dimensional models or videos of products are also emerging online. This helps improves visual accuracy and lets consumers easily view your item from different angles.
Create A Precise Product Description
A product description describes the specific features as well as the use and benefits of a product to its customer. The mission is to provide customers with detailed information to make them want your item.
Consider your target market, and answer the question, "Why are they here and scrolling on this product?" From that, you will have an idea of how to present the uses of your product as well as its overall benefits and distinct characteristics when compared to others. Remember to include things such as product size, materials used, and background story for a more meticulous approach.
Avoid it sounding computer-generated, the description should appear conversational or in a normal tone. You want to impress them but at the same time, you want to make them informed about what you sell.
Available Online Platforms: Where To Sell Furniture?
E-commerce Website Builders
As e-commerce continues to dominate the market, there are several websites arising ready to be your host and an example of this perfect platform is Shopify, which Tech.co claimed to be the best e-commerce website builder on the market.
- Easy to get started, you just have to create an account, select a template and upload your products. With Shopify, you don’t need to be an expert in coding and such, you can immediately launch your store even without a technical background.
- Beginners can enjoy a free trial before choosing among Shopify's three paid plans including $14 per month for a yearly payment or $29 per month up to $299 per month.
- There are a lot of Shopify themes you can use whether you sell furniture, fashion accessories, and more.
- A wide variety of features and plug-ins are available, quickly list products, manage inventory, set up your shipping process, and more.
- You can earn 20% commission on the side, Shopify has a Partner Program which lets you get new clients and earn 20% commissions on referred merchants’ subscriber fees.
- Connect 24/7 with Shopify customer support over online chat or email.
- Shopify is not providing any email hosting in their plans. If you prefer to send email messages from your custom domain address, you will need a third-party provider.
- In every sale you make on Shopify, there are fees you must pay. Fees vary depending on the plan, there will be taxes and such. Try to understand how much you will be paying by reading their charges page.
Social media such as Facebook, Instagram, and TikTok are not only used to communicate with long-distance relatives or friends but are also used as a place to sell items. As of January 2022, Facebook was recorded to be the most commonly used social media platform among marketers in the world, with 90% claiming they use it to promote their brand, while 79% use Instagram.
- You can easily build customer loyalty through engagements and content to attract customers.
- Increase your market reach and tap international markets.
- Increase website traffic through social media posts and ads.
- You can partner with influencers who are also active on the platform.
- Engage with the potential market through social listening or contests.
- Make use of their provided analytics report to learn more about strategies that will drive more customers.
- Since social media is occupied by all kinds of people, there is a possibility of you experiencing inappropriate behavior that will affect your social media site.
- There are risks of getting information leaked or hacking. In December 2019, approximately 267 million accounts were found unsecured on the dark web.
- Social media is the home of fake news, 38.2% of social media users unknowingly shared fake news or data on the platform during 2020
In 2022, top online marketplaces reportedly sold a total of $3.25 trillion in goods. One good thing about online marketplaces is that they offer service to any type of business — small or midsize merchants all have places to sell there. It doesn’t matter if you're new or old in the business, you can start selling furniture using these platforms whenever you feel like it. Examples of well-known online marketplaces include Amazon Etsy, and eBay.
- It is an additional channel to market your product; it extends opportunities for international sales.
- They are already popular among customers, especially those well-established platforms that have been running for decades now, so customers will trust you just like how they trust Amazon and other marketplaces.
- It allows customers to shop conveniently as they can easily compare prices and product qualities just by scanning the site.
- Worry less about technical problems as online marketplaces have their own team of experts who can look and fix them anytime.
- Online marketplaces take care of shipping, delivery, returns, and exchanges.
- Marketplaces charge a commission on every sold item, it varies from site to site. You can check fees for selling items on Amazon, and fees for selling on eBay.
- There may be restrictions on how you can present your business online as well as on how you can communicate with potential buyers.
- Expect wide competition since you will be listed there side-by-side with other brands.
Furniture Stores Online For Inspiration
Furniture maker Fyrn combines classic woodworking and modern techniques to build products that are timeless and sophisticated at the same time.
All parts in each piece of furniture are 100% replaceable or repairable for life. Fyrn products also come with a 10-year warranty, labor included. Plus, Fyrn offers a residential In-Home Trial program to ensure a risk-free purchase of any single chair or stool, items will be delivered to the buyers in under two weeks with a free shipping fee so that potential buyers can test their items in advance. All these are services for their customers who trust them and their pieces.
Dazzling Spaces might appear simple, but it is one of the go-tos for manufacturers seeking inspiration for their stores. They have almost all types of home essentials so potential buyers don't have to transfer to a different brand to look for a specific item.
The simplicity of their own website allows them to highlight or emphasize the products while giving you easy access to the other pages. Dazzling Spaces is the one that makes all their products, which allows them to completely control the production and sales workflow.
Inside Weather provides modern and personal furniture for its consumers. They have a program called "Try Before You Buy," where their team will deliver an armchair sample to potential buyers for them to test out for two weeks, with no charge. After that time, they will pick it up. They also allow customers to customize orders if they prefer to do so.
Inside Weather uses sustainable materials in building their products, including woods and fabrics, to benefit the environment and customers as well.
You might also want to check out these article-related content for your future Shopify store:
Selling furniture online requires you to be passionate enough to enter the world of digital. Compared to traditional selling, where most merchants are only focused on having showrooms, giving out flyers, and having the same exact customers yearly, online marketplaces provide more access to different potential buyers in different geographic locations with distinct interests.
Furniture dealers need to step up their game. With the above guide and practices, selling your stuff online can be simple. You have to be prepared and advanced in order to touch everyone on all platforms.
Exploring the idea of you starting your own online store or business, will teach you how to sell furniture with ease. Treat it as an extra space for your creative mind, and engage with customers while giving them the best service they could ever experience.