FREMONT, Calif., July 2, 2019 /PRNewswire-PRWeb/ -- There's a lot of room for improvement with e-commerce in the furniture industry and Sierra Living Concepts is positioning itself to become a leader in customized handmade furniture. Sierra Living Concepts is using an innovative approach to combine the advantages of online shopping with the personalized experience once only found in quality retail furniture stores.
According to Carl Prindle of Blueport Commerce, online furniture sales have only taken a very small bite, about 5% or 6% out of the $125 billion furniture market but that is bound to change. Millennials and Generation Y have grown up shopping online and are demanding more options. They have been accustomed to smooth, e-commerce experiences and are expecting these positive results to continue to spread into all areas. The experienced online shoppers continue to set the bar high and that will benefit the industry.
Quality furniture presents unique challenges that a few innovative companies are striving to meet. A cohesive team approach is demanded between the sales staff, furniture makers, warehouses, the customer service department and delivery teams. These big-ticket items will increase in value and demand when customization and extensive selections can be offered.
Sierra Living Concepts has developed the Choose-Track-Monitor approach for online shopping which invites buyers to enter into the manufacturing process, giving them a more personal experience than they might encounter in the traditional brick and mortar store.
The Sierra Living Concepts online catalog offers a huge selection of high-quality styles which would be impossible to display or offer in a classic showroom. Since most of their stock is made to order, costs remain low even though majority of their stock is 100% solid wood, handmade and handcrafted furniture.
Consumers are given the option to sort through the site by way of systematic category and sub-category menu options as well as many informative tabs on their Home page to look for their shade choices, specific varieties of wood including Indian Rosewood (sheesham), Mango, Acacia, and Teak, as well as reclaimed and repurposed old wood, hand painted furniture etc. Buyers can easily navigate through the website and locate the type of furniture they are looking for – from coffee tables, dining tables, bookcases, platform beds to entire room furniture collection in their choice of wood; they just click on the menu option and instantly see a full variety of choices or they can also have their own custom-made furniture through the custom-shop.
Once the customer places an order, a design services team will provide professional sketches of custom items for no additional charge. A personal customer portal offers easy access for documentation, so orders can be cross checked, and all design instructions can be confirmed.
Buyers are then assigned a personal customer portal which is available 24 hours a day, 7 days a week offering automatic updates. The online furniture shopper is no longer a captive to limited store hours or 'Closed on Holidays' schedules.
Consumers can follow the progress of their purchases with images showing the creation, hand polishing, and verification of an extensive 20-point QA checklist. As a new initiative, this photo documentation will also include a record of their careful and securely packaged furniture. Images of each item are sent to the buyer for verification before it is shipped.
Sierra Living Concepts also offers a customization service, so buyers can specify sizes or specific shades, wood type and colors of stains. Since most of their stock is handmade and made to order, changing the size or color only adds a modest additional amount to the overall costs. This is possible due to the online platform structure. Special orders on the showroom floor can be costly and are often unavailable.
Customer service was often hit or miss during the early years of online commerce, but innovative improvements and knowledge continues to enhance the eCommerce experience. This is especially true in the high end, handcrafted furniture market.
Sierra Living Concepts started in 2004 as a strictly online platform with a focus on reduced costs and extensive product offerings. They quickly discovered the importance of a heightened customer service experience and created an integrated helpdesk. This state-of-the-art approach to customer service begins when prospective buyers land on the website and continues through ordering, product creation, delivery, and overall satisfaction which includes a one-year furniture warranty.
The online handmade furniture market also offers employment opportunities to small, old world craftsman and family companies which could not profitably compete with modern mass market manufacturing. A wider variety of styles and pieces allow unique lines and individual items access to a worldwide showcase.
Heirloom quality furniture is no longer limited to exclusive furniture or department stores. Today's shoppers are no longer forced to travel to big cities or high-end shopping centers for handmade home furnishings. Those options are still available but now online furniture shopping is a viable and welcomed option for high quality tables, chairs, cabinets, beds, dressers, and more. Online furniture customers can shop anywhere, anytime, and do it in their pajamas.
The variety is larger, and the costs are often lower at eCommerce sites like Sierra Living Concepts, but the handcrafted quality is comparable to the best traditional furniture stores. The overall share of online sales in the furniture market will continue to increase in 2019 along with shopping convenience and customer satisfaction.
SOURCE Sierra Living Concepts