How technological innovations reshaping furniture industry
The furniture sector has seen a 360-degree change with technology taking over.
The furniture sector has seen a 360-degree change with technology taking over. While the transition has been gradual, the furniture business has gone through an absolute transformation and is expected to go through more. Consumer expectations and business operations have been reshaped due to technological advancements. According to an industry report published by the Indian Brand Equity Foundation, the e-Commerce revenue in India is projected to increase from $39 billion (2017) to $200 billion (2026), growing at a 51 per cent annual rate.
A few years back, no one would have considered ordering furniture online. It is because customers need to touch and feel it before deciding whether or not to buy it. They are unwilling to settle for a 2D image on a small screen to determine which one will best fit in their homes. All of these challenges, however, are being met with modern technology. Let's see how.
Technological upgrades in furniture marketing
Traditional marketing methods have little impact in an era massively controlled by mobile and computers. The furniture industry is changing to keep up with the rapidly increasing penetration of mobile technology and the growing popularity of online shopping. It has capitalised on the various mobile applications that allow prospects to view furniture designs and models at their own comfort without leaving their homes.
Various retailers and furniture sellers are also investigating real-life virtual showrooms to ensure maximum similarity to the in-person shopping experience. It allows the customer to experience the furniture and simulate its comfort in a virtual environment and recommend changes if necessary.
The days of mundane designs and repetitive patterns are over. Aside from the comfort factor, new-age consumers are acutely aware of the aesthetics and design of the furniture. This technique allows the designers to look at the final piece and experience the aesthetics, colour, positioning capacity and texture beforehand and while the product is in making.
Augmented Reality (AR)
AR is a game-changing technology for the furniture industry, allowing designers and manufacturers to place desired objects in a real-world setting, providing a better sense of scale, design, colour, and how the ambience will look after furniture placement. Customers appreciate any effort to bridge the gap between online and in-store shopping.
Along the lines of customization, technological advancements such as interactive applications allow customers to try out a variety of configurations. So, AR coupled with an interactive platform enables customers to try out different styles, colours, and types within the AR framework.
With the help of technology, customization and personalization are becoming more common for e-commerce retailers. Customers are very much interested in refining their preferences. Instead of simply displaying products in their inventory, online retailers can make suggestions to customers based on their preferences and current trends. This can enhance their experience and boost business.
(The author is CTO, Saraf Furniture)