Today many innovative and fascinating tech trends have become an integral part of different industries. Emerging technologies like augmented reality and virtual reality have been altering client interaction techniques completely. Complemented with online commerce, digital reality has revolutionized even the furniture industry with a significant increase in sales volumes. In other words,  technological innovation in the furniture world is at its highest today and will continue to see emerging trends – whether in the advanced 3D modeling of a chair or sofa, or in an experience of augmented reality of furniture.

Technological innovation in the furniture world

Contrary to what one might think, the furniture industry actually leverages technology intervention in most of its processes starting from designing and modeling prototypes or products, right through marketing, and to the end of the value chain that is, sales. The availability of sophisticated computer software and tools for making digital models makes it possible for better designs in terms of aesthetics and usability. New tech trends of 3D models of furniture, 3D printing are aiding the manufacturing processes of bespoke and interesting furniture which is functional as well. In traditional 3D printing, earlier researchers had even found a way to make brilliant furniture from softwood itself.

As a result, this plays an important role in inventory management,  making the procedure hassle-free,  and additionally aided by plentiful inventory management software.

We find the most positively impacted part of the furniture industry’s value chain is sales and marketing. Technology has been generously implemented in sales and marketing and has completely transformed the sales journey,  making it more efficient than ever! 

A variety of technologies are being used today for promoting and advertising end products from varied furniture segments. Digital catalogs integrate emerging tech such as augmented reality, virtual reality, 3D modeling & art, mobile technology, data analytics, etc. Employing these technologies guarantees the special effect they have on the way that furniture businesses sell and advertise their merchandise. 3D models of furniture does not just help the fitments look better and appear more real, but also helps the company to build digital inventories to gain insights about what their customer actually needs. This is done by collecting data and analyzing them using analytics tools and algorithms. A business that understands the market eventually knows what and how to sell.

Over 90% of customers start their purchasing journey by browsing online, regardless of where they ultimately purchase. Hence it is very important for furniture companies to enhance their web experience as much as possible. Their website experience must be equipped with features that bridge the online-offline gap. Features like product customization, 360 panoramic view, high-quality zoom, alternate angles and detailed shots, room scenes, and much more can be integrated artfully. For example, one of the Indian furniture giants, Featherlite has a 360-degree store walkthrough displaying all the products using a Sofa 3D model, a Chair 3D model, etc displayed online with each and every detail of the product. Sales teams are authorized to set up appointments for this exclusive retail tour. This not only enhances a consumer’s online experience but also allows the company an opportunity to display and promote other products. A browsing customer might end up buying something he or she wasn’t looking for initially.

Statistics say  47% of millennials use Buy Online, Pick Up In-Store as a fulfillment method. Additionally, the number of online shoppers has increased by 8.8% since the coronavirus pandemic began. This means that online presence is now key to get more shoppers to click the “add to cart” button. Mobile technology is furthering the digital store’s trend; most of the furniture brands have their mobile apps that allow customers to shop online with preferred customizations on home or office products. 

With augmented reality (AR) incrementally becoming an inevitable part of the online buying process, the shortlisting and buying process is eased further. Augmented Reality of furniture simplifies the decision-making process by helping consumers choose from the comfort of their homes. This is especially helpful now for people to evaluate options for big-ticket item purchases like furniture. With the help of AR, one can see how a desired furniture piece will look in their home or home-office set-up. This helps them pick the best match for their home and lifestyle. To support this, one of the Bloomreach articles talks about augmented reality or visual search being used in a repair scenario where consumers want to do the repair themselves rather than calling in a technician due to unique circumstances. Lockdowns and social distancing caused by global pandemics are unique situations where the quintessential DIY sensibility of Americans may rub off on other cultures as well.

According to statistics, 51% of populations prefer to visit a store that uses technology in its showrooms and retail outlets. With digital-centric consumers looking for technology even in furniture showrooms, the wonders of virtual reality can be a huge attention grabber!  With the help of virtual reality, one can take the guesswork out of shopping. VR can be used to experience particular pieces of furniture that are not stocked in the store but are available in the warehouse. VR certainly has a better impact when compared to printed 2D catalogs. 

The ability to add to a mobile shopping cart as a buyer or consumer walks around the warehouse or showroom speeds up the checkout process. This could be implemented for bulk, institutional or retail purchases. It provides a seamless, non-intrusive way to keep the sale open for customers that prefer to purchase after ‘sleeping on the decision’.

With available technological solutions ranging from inventory to in-store point of sale, it is time for new technological innovation in the furniture world. As businesses unify goals and integrate immersive technology interventions, the experience and entire furniture industry itself stands to gain from a position of excellence, in product as well as process!