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Hussaine Kesury

Hussaine Kesury, Vice President & Business Head - Furniture Category at Pepperfry.

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What’s In-store For Furniture E-Commerce in 2018?

With last mile delivery defining consumer experiences supply chain and logistics excellence can make or break any brand. Same day delivery is real and the bar is only rising. We foresee heavy investment in supply chain technology and services.

With the evolving retail trends, there is an inevitable paradigm shift, and the Indian retail industry is gearing up to embrace this dynamic evolution. There is a key focus on online as a preferred medium for an evolved retail landscape. From tradition retailers to digital companies everyone is geared towards creating products tailored to complement the ever-changing consumer needs. Home and furniture segment is not immune to this shift. Every brand big or small is focusing on leveraging the technological advancements and for providing superlative shopping experiences.

As 2018 beckons, let us look at the emerging trends that will define the future of home and furniture e-commerce:

1. AR and VR Technologies

How consumers shop and interact with products will be defined by technology. As consumer behaviour leans towards having a bespoke experience, the defining trend for the upcoming year will be Augmented Reality and Virtual Reality. Technology will continue to define the digital landscape with consumers looking forward to experiencing high involvement products like furniture in their drawing room. Furniture companies are geared to offering immersive experiences and are working towards enhanced shopping experiences by leveraging the exciting AR advancements, thus bridging the gap between in-store and online shopping. It is predicted that optimum use of a distinct AR and VR innovations could aid in the increase of sales wherein consumers can look forward to getting some hands-on practical experience of products before purchase.

2. Cashless Transactions

Digital payments are anticipated to become a norm. It will emerge as the most preferred mode of payment for shoppers, especially when it comes to making high-ticket purchases. As the country adopts the digital transformation it has become imperative for e-tailers to offer an array of choices. It is a trend which is certainly set to garner immense traction in the following year.

3. Omni-Channel 2.0

A multi-channel wave is set to take the industry by storm. The hybrid model is coming off age with a major thrust on a robust brick and mortar strategy. From fashion to furniture touch and feel has become a dominant consumer behaviour. A seamless experience that transcends between online and offline in the form of omnichannel is bearing fruit for many e-tailers. It offers many advantages, now companies can extend made-to-order experiences to consumers through personalization. As the future of retails straddles towards being more personalized consumers will choose to shop with brands that display consumer centricity offering personalization to friendly shipping and return policies.

Dominant brands such as Pepperfry have already executed to the strategy by opening 23 offline studios across India and a robust expansion plan with a focus on building superlative experiences and to accelerate engagement.

4. Mobile Pop-Ups

The secret sauce for every retail business is customer engagement and reengagement. Therefore, when it comes to online, push notifications on mobile devices are set to dominate the digital focus in 2018. These are subtle, but effective tools to ensure that the customer is up to date with product introductions, exclusive deals and offers as well as cart reminders. Thus, along with engaging and innovative social content, every market player will adopt smart content strategy to differentiate itself.

5. Superior Logistics Infrastructure

With last mile delivery defining consumer experiences supply chain and logistics excellence can make or break any brand. Same day delivery is real and the bar is only rising. We foresee heavy investment in supply chain technology and services. Today technology needs to be fully embedded in supply chain management with a thrust on innovation. One of the emerging focus areas would is automation, it is being foreseen to provide a competitive edge to existing and new companies.

The logistics and supply chain infrastructure is evolving to expedite deliveries and simplify operations. We are on the cusp of the technological advancement with the pace of innovation picking up steam at an exponential rate.

Disclaimer: The views expressed in the article above are those of the authors' and do not necessarily represent or reflect the views of this publishing house

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