As our world went through rapid changes, we recognized a need to dig deeper into the evolving furniture retail playbook and understand what makes a delightful online shopping experience.
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 (93). The results from our research show that Interior Define has all the analyzed features, except detail shots. The product pages are rich with 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 the product’s layout, style, size, and material.
At the same time, under each thumbnail image on the product feed, they have information about the 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 zoom in on the details again. 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 return 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 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.
There’s a four-step process on the checkout page with a progress bar that indicates the next steps in the process. Customers fill in billing and shipping information, as well as payment information. The last step is an 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, delivery schedule, quick checkout, and past purchase reviews.
The overall shopping experience on the Interior Define website is pleasant, simple, and straightforward. With great design and seamless user experience, the 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 & Barrel
Crate & 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 & Barrel has the second-highest digital merchandising index (91). The results from our research show that Crate & 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.
On the 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 you can 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 manual control carousel with different product images, videos, lifestyle images, and detail shots. Customers can also get a full-screen mode and zoom option. On the right side, you can see price information and a product configurator with available colors divided into two groups — stock colors or custom options.
If you click the “custom options” button, you’ll be able to select fabric features, colors, and patterns, thus creating a customized sofa.
Below the configurator, the customer can get more information like product description, dimensions, reviews, comfort, and care.
Crate & Barrel gives customers recommendations based on products from the same collection and a section with designer recommendations. At 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 the shipping information, billing and payment information, and review and place an order. Crate & 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 & 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.
3. Room & Board
With more than four decades of experience, Room & Board is one of the leading modern furniture players focused on American craftsmanship and the use of sustainable materials.
In our Top 100 U.S. Furniture Retailers report, Room & Board has the third-highest digital merchandising index (86.5). The results from our research show that Room & Board has all the analyzed features except augmented reality.
On the homepage, 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.
Once you select the product category, you’ll see the product feed with different filtering options: materials, heights, collections, etc. On the right side, you can choose whether you want to see bestsellers, highest rated, newest, or filter products alphabetically or by price.
Under each image on the product feed, there is information about the price range, number of colors, sizes, and finishes that you can choose from, as well as the number of reviews.
When you enter the product detail page, on the left, you can see multiple product images or get a 360-degree view of the selected product. Room & Board has a full-screen mode where customers can explore the product in 360 degrees and zoom in on the details.
On the right side, there is a product configurator where customers can select the size, fabric, legs style and finish, etc. The different options are shown with a thumbnail image which makes the customization simple and straightforward.
“The Room & Board website provides everything from galleries of inspirational photos and room setting ideas to hundreds of specifics product details so customers can make informed decisions. I know that customers find it extremely helpful to view color change options, 360-degree views, and the ability to zoom in on products. In addition, configurators that create custom products help to visualize products.”
- Stephanie Kennedy, National Retail Market Manager at Room & Board
Below the fold, there is a manual control carousel with different lifestyle images and shoppable content. Room & Board also has product videos, as well as detailed product descriptions and dimensions.
On the product page, customers can also see a section with personalized recommendations for other complementary products that look good with the selected item.
Room & Board encourages customers to post images of their products on social media with the #roomandboard, and they feature user-generated content on their product pages.
At the bottom of the page, customers can read reviews and filter them by most recent, most helpful, lowest rated, highest rated, oldest, or reviews with images.
When you click the “add to cart” button, you can see a pop-up with product recommendations. Room & Board has this pop-up on the mobile version as well.
Before the checkout, you can see the products in your shopping cart, the total price, expected shipping date, as well as reminders for the financing options and returns and guarantee policies.
Room & Board 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.
Customers can sign in or checkout as a guest. There’s a five-step process on the checkout page where customers fill in the delivery address, delivery details, billing address, contact preferences, and payment information.
The overall shopping experience on the Room & Board website is pleasant, straightforward, and rich with engaging features such as 360-views, product configurator, and shoppable content. All these elements create a seamless customer experience and ease the decision-making process.
Ready to explore the benefits of 3D product visualization technology and how it can help you create an engaging DTC furniture shopping experience?