In today's online-first world, having an end-to-end pleasant online shopping experience is the key to increased conversions.
To understand the elements of an effective online furniture shopping experience, we dissect the online buyer journey of the three companies from our Top 100 U.S. Furniture Retailers report that have the highest ranking based on the number of adopted features and quality of product visuals.
1. Interior Define
Interior Define is a digitally-native furniture brand, offering the most elevated and customized online furniture shopping experience. Since 2014, they have been delighting customers with customizable sofas available through their stunning website and their Guideshops.
In our Top 100 U.S. Furniture Retailers report, Interior Define ranks first with the highest e-commerce merchandising index (94.5). The results from our research show that Interior Define has all the analyzed features and high-quality visuals.
The first thing you notice when you open Interior Define’s website is a navigation bar with different product categories, each with a thumbnail image, to help customers find what they are looking for in just a few clicks.
After you select a product category, you will notice straightforward filtering options, where customers can pick layout, style, size, and material of the product. At the same time, under each thumbnail image, they have information about the number of fabrics and leg options for the particular product.
When you open the product detail page (PDP), on the left, you can see alternate angles, zoom in to scrutinize details, or get a 360-degree view of the selected product. Besides the click-to-zoom feature, Interior Define has a full-screen mode where customers can again zoom in on the details. Another best practice when having a 360-degree view is to indicate its presence on the PDP. This is especially important for your mobile browsing experience. Interior Define solves this with an arrow circle illustration.
On the right side, there is a product configurator where customers can select the fabric, legs, depth, size, cushions, etc.
Below the product visuals and the configurator, customers can see information about the price and an add-to-cart button, as well as an option to pay monthly. Besides this, there are detailed descriptions and product dimension visuals. Interior Define has simple and transparent delivery and returns policies that customers can see, even before adding the product to the cart. For customers that are hesitant about their purchase, they also offer free swatches.
At the bottom of the product page, there is a recommendation section with designer favorites, including the most important product details like price, number of fabrics, and leg options.
Interior Define has a great content strategy. They encourage customers to post images of their I/D products on social media with the #myinteriordefine, and they feature user-generated content on their product pages.
You can also see customer reviews that can be filtered by the number of stars.
Once you click the “add to cart” button, there’s a pop-up asking you if you want to buy throw pillows, which is a great cross-sell strategy. However, if you’re shopping on mobile, you won’t get the pop-up window because one of the best practices for creating a pleasant mobile shopping experience is avoiding pop-ups.
Before the checkout, you can see all the products in your shopping cart, the total price, shipping and handling costs, as well as reminders for the 10-year warranty period, the delivery time, and the 60-day return policy.
Interior Define uses cart thumbnails in the exact color the customer has chosen, which decreases the number of product returns. Removing products from the cart is simple and straightforward. Alternatively, you can change the quantity by clicking on the counter.
On the checkout page, there’s a four-step process with a progress bar that indicates next steps in the process. Customers are filling in billing and shipping information, as well as payment information. The last step is order confirmation. Another best practice that Interior Define uses in their checkout process is marking that the billing and the shipping information is the same, so the customer doesn’t need to type the same information twice.
New customers can create an account in just a few steps, and they get incentives like real-time updates on the order status, scheduling delivery, quick checkout, and reviewing past purchases.
The overall shopping experience on the Interior Define website is pleasant, simple, and straightforward. With great design and seamless user experience, the I/D website creates a great flow through the purchasing funnel. Customers have all the information to make a buying decision, and the user journey is fully optimized from start to finish.
2. Crate and Barrel
Crate and Barrel is a member of the Otto Group. With over 100 stores and franchise partners in nine countries, they are an international destination for contemporary and modern furniture, housewares, and decor.
In our Top 100 U.S. Furniture Retailers report, Crate and Barrel has the second-highest digital merchandising index (93). The results from our research show that Crate and Barrel has all the analyzed features except 360-degree images.
When you enter the home page, there is a navigation bar with a drop-down menu that opens on hover. When browsing on mobile, you’ll notice a hamburger menu on the top left corner where you can choose product categories.
When you enter a product feed, you can see thumbnail images for different products. Under each image, there is information about the price as well as color options that you can choose from and get a thumbnail preview without entering the product detail page. On some of the products, you can see different lifestyle images or a detailed shot on hover.
Besides category filters, there are many other filtering options like type, color, width, seat softness, features, material, seating capacity, pattern, etc. On the right side, you can choose whether you want to see the most relevant, newest, or filter products depending on the price.
When you open the product detail page, there is a carousel with manual control with different product images, videos, lifestyle images, and detail shots. Customers can also get a full-screen mode and zoom option. Above the product visual, there is price information, as well as available colors, divided into two groups — for quick ship or for extra time.
If you click the “all options” button, you’ll be able to select fabric features, colors, patterns, and custom options, thus creating a customized sofa. While you scroll down the product detail page, you’ll notice the sticky header with product name, price, and “add to cart” button.
Below the configurator, the customer can get more information like product description, dimensions, reviews, and care. Furthermore, there’s information about the delivery for one flat fee, as well as information on the Crate and Barrel credit card.
Crate & Barrel gives customers recommendations based on products from the same collection but also some other products that the customer may like. On the bottom of the page, there is a section with recently viewed products.
When you click the “add to cart” button, there is a pop-up with a small thumbnail image of the product, total price, and option to checkout or continue shopping. Below, there are product recommendations with related products.
When you click the “checkout” button, you can see a cart summary, where you can choose if you want shipping or free pickup from a store. At this point, you can save your cart for later or finish with the checkout process. There’s a sign in pop-up for returning customers; alternatively, the customer can choose a guest checkout.
If you choose the guest checkout, you’ll see a three-step process where you fill in shipping information, billing and payment information, and review and place order. Crate and Barrel gives customers the option to mark the field that shipping and billing information is the same, so the customer doesn’t need to type the same information twice.
The overall shopping experience on the Crate and Barrel website is clean and pleasant. There is room for improvement in the consistency of visuals on the product feed, where there are alternate images on hover only for some of the products. Also, the elements that are solved with hover, like product recommendations, where you only see product images, and you see price information on hover, don’t work on mobile, so you have to click on every product recommendation to see more details, which is not the best user experience.
IKEA is a Swedish-founded, Dutch-based multinational group that offers a wide range of well-designed, functional home furnishing products. Besides the low-price furniture, they’re known for sustainable sourcing of cotton and wood and democratic design approach.
In our Top 100 U.S. Furniture Retailers report, IKEA USA has the third-highest digital merchandising index (89). The results from our research show that IKEA has all the analyzed features except 360-degree images.
On the homepage, there are thumbnail images of different product categories that customers can explore to find what they need. Besides this, there is a hamburger menu on the side, where customers can see different options for each product category.
Once you select the product category, you’ll see the product feed with different filtering options: seats, shape, materials, color, price, etc. On the right side, you can select whether you want to see product thumbnails or a preview of lifestyle images. However, even if you choose a product preview, you’ll be able to see a lifestyle image on hover. Under each product, there is information about the price, as well as available colors, that you can preview when you hover over them. The hover option is not available on mobile, so when you click on the specific color, you open the product page about that particular product in the selected color.
When you enter the product detail page, on the left, you can see multiple product images, room scenes, and close-up shots. On the right, you can see price information, different colors available, delivery information, and 365-days return policy.
Below the product images, there are different recommendations based on similar products, what other customers searched for, compatible products, as well as products from the same line.
The product details, size, and reviews are displayed as pop-up windows that open on click. Besides the basic five-star reviews, you can see the average rating but also information about value for money, product quality, appearance, and does the product work as expected.
IKEA also highlights the most helpful favorable review and the most helpful critical review.
When you click the “add to cart” button, you can see a pop-up with product recommendations. IKEA has this pop-up on the mobile version as well.
Before the checkout, you can see the image of the product in the specific color you’ve selected and price information. The customer can easily add more products or remove the product from the cart.
IKEA gives the customers a guest checkout option but also reminds them to log in for faster and easier checkout.
At this point, customers can also book TaskRabbit assembly. This is a for-hire service that helps IKEA customers to get their furniture assembled.
On the checkout page, the customer can review the order and then fill in the three steps: Add a zip code to see available delivery and pickup options, enter personal details, and choose a payment method.
The overall shopping experience on the IKEA US website is pleasant. A better consistency in the visuals and arrangement of images on the product detail page would make the consideration process much easier. Also, the pop-ups for certain parts of the experience, like product reviews, description, and size, work well on desktop but are not the best solution for mobile shopping.
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