The pandemic was a double-edged sword for businesses of all sizes. People were forced to spend
more time at home and everyone’s looking for ways to spruce up their house. If you can meet these needs with beautiful, high-quality pieces at affordable prices, you may be able to create your own online furniture or home décor business that suits your needs.
Long back, buying furniture was a two-step process: either you went to a physical store or you got handed down with hand-me-downs. But advances in technology have helped make the online experience feel similar to an in-person one. This has paved the way for new businesses and more choices for people who need furniture.
More companies have turned up to sell furniture online, directly to consumers, without the showroom, and that’s a good thing. Many of us don’t have time or patience for shopping around or waiting for delivery from a local store.
Want to make money by selling furniture online. Read this article to learn all the steps you need to follow and get started.
First and foremost get a clear picture on what can be classified as furniture:
The furniture and home décor is classified as the following:
– The things which comes under furniture:
- Tables, chairs, sofa, recliners- all these falls under furniture
- Tiles, marbles
- Carpets, furniture related with wall decoration
– The things which does not come under furniture:
- Houseware products
- Hardware tools
Important things to keep in mind before getting started with selling furniture in online –
- First and foremost to start your online furniture business, get to know how much money you need.
- Decide your space requirements.
- Select which type of niche you are going to serve.
- Fix what you are going to do -whether are you going to design and manufacture or are you going to build by yourself or are you going to resell or dropship.
You can get into online furniture business through many ways. Let’s see about the various models of furniture business:
– Building the furniture by yourself:
Here you can design and build the furniture by yourself in your own factory. If you are building the furniture by yourself, you should have high skills, a devoted factory and exclusive tools. You can also have customer request where you can add a feature or a particular design asked by your customer. You can also decide to sell only a selected number and to keep the remaining in inventory.
– Designing the furniture and working with a manufacturer:
Instead of building the entire furniture by yourself, you can choose to design the furniture according to the customer’s requirements and work along with a builder or manufacturer who will build the furniture for you. But for designing the furniture, you should have proper understanding about the materials and design so that you can effectively communicate with the builders.
– Being a conservator and reselling the furniture:
Here you will collect all the unique pieces from other manufacturers that are most suitable for your brand. Since you are not going to build the furniture on your own, collecting unique items will help to showcase your brand as unique and creative. Basically in this model you will buy the items in wholesale from other manufacturers and sell those items to the customers directly.
– Drop shipping the furniture:
In this model, you can partner with other brands or manufacturers (like IndiaMART or TradeIndia) who are ready to ship directly to the customers for you incase if you are not able to store the item, cutting you out of the chain.
– Reselling antique pieces:
Here you can resell the vintage items, but you should have a clear idea on which pieces have higher value and also you should know their demand.
Funding your online furniture business:
The amount of investment for your online furniture business depends on the type of business models mentioned above.
If you are in the idea of drop shipping, a few hundred thousands is enough as there is no inventory needed. If you are doing a custom furniture business you can buy the materials as you go, so you do not need to invest much.
Start with only the tools you can afford, and as your business grows you can always invest in better tools. Sooner or later, you will have every tool under the sun and need another place to store them, but be patient and don’t overextend yourself.
If you have the space and enough capital to cover the costs, then starting an online furniture business at home could be a good way to grow. You’ll need to invest in inventory and storage space, so make sure you consider those costs carefully before jumping in. Depending on how much money you want to spend, you can research retail spaces within your area that would be willing to lease out a backroom or basement for storage.
If you’ve been eyeing the idea of starting a vintage business, selling a few items at a time might be your way in. We love eBay and Chairish, but you might also try local buy-and-sell sites or Craigslist. These methods have the advantage of low overhead costs, so you don’t need to invest in a website or marketing campaign until you feel ready.
Creating your online furniture brand:
It is crucial to characterize your brand at an early stage. Are you interested in tapping into the growing number of people working at home and selling unique office furniture? Or maybe you’re more interested in jumping on a hot trend. Perhaps you plan to focus on well-built minimalist pieces for small spaces. You can’t go wrong with any of these choices. Pick a lane for your furniture business, create your online furniture brand.
Acknowledge the below things while selecting a niche for your online furniture business:
- Classification or purpose: furniture for office, home furnishings
- Styles like medieval, rustic or minimalistic
- Category of your customers like students, villa owners, apartment residers.
Ways to source furniture for designers and resellers:
Your sourcing strategy will depend on your business model and niche!
The designers who does not make the furniture on their own should always look for a trustworthy manufacturer. Start by getting to know the companies that make your incredibly awesome furniture prototypes. The closer you are to your production and supply chain, the easier it will be to build and forge partnerships with whoever is making your products. In fact, finding a manufacturer who will work with you as a partner will save you a lot of headaches down the road. The Association of Furniture Manufacturers and Traders (AFMT) India’s corporate list will give you access to local manufacturers.
If you’re a retailer looking to resell products by others, there are several ways that you can get your hands on wholesale inventory. One is to approach makers and brands directly and ask them about their terms. Another option is marketplaces like Handshake that enable you to connect with vendors actively looking for retail partners.
The vintage resellers source their product in multiple ways. Some of them are:
Sign up in these auctions to get notification from them. Some of these auctions take place in person but nowadays online auctions are also available where you can bid the items at the comfort of your home.
If you’re on the hunt for used furniture, computers, or other household goods, be sure to check out your local classifieds. To find a good deal, use sites like Craigslist or OLX to search for items you want. You may be surprised by some of the treasures that you can find at garage sales or estate sales.
There are lots of reasons to get there early: first dibs on great finds and first crack at buying out-of-season items. But the best reason to show up early is because you’ll really get the best deals — flea market dealers can’t refuse an offer when you need something fast, so they’ll sell at a lower price.
How to set up the shop for those who make furniture:
What’s the best way to get started making money in furniture making? There are so many tools and fixtures involved in this trade that it can be daunting for beginners. For example, you absolutely need the right type of drill press, band saw or lathe; but what do you get when you’re just starting out? The best advice is just to start small and add tools as your skills and business grow.
We have some expert advice for setting up your own furniture workshop.
- Organising your workplace can help reduce the risk of accidents, improve morale and increase productivity.
- Tools are essential for getting any job done – from building a house to making dinner. As you get going on your project, start by figuring out what tools you will need, then plan the order in which you’ll use them (this will help with the layout of your workshop).
- To ensure the best results, make sure you have enough space around your saw to make the cuts you need. You may want to remove heavy decorative items such as hanging lamps or mirrors before making these cuts.
- Duct-Savers are the smart way to solve heating, cooling and ventilation problems resulting from long or unusual duct routing. Where should your ducts be run for maximum efficiency and least disruption?
- When it comes to lighting, bigger is better. LED’s are also a good option as they provide more natural light than florescent bulbs do.
Furniture inventory and storage:
If you are selling furniture (used or new) and not drop shipping, be sure to consider your space needs. A single item can take up a lot of space in a warehouse or showroom, so make sure you have enough space for all your inventory.
Warehousing and fulfilment, at the early stages of a business, is an investment that helps you understand the intricacies of warehousing and shipping. You get to know how your furniture is handled, which builds trust in your brand, and also provides good market insights into how customers want their furniture to be packaged and shipped.
As you plan for a new location to store your products, consider the conditions that can damage them. Some materials like wood and natural fabrics are susceptible to extreme temperatures, pests, and fluctuations in humidity.
Some expert advice on storage solutions are:
- As the number of items you’d like to store increases, it’s time to dedicate a room inside your home for this purpose. This can be the basement, attic or garage.
- Renting a climate-controlled storage space is the best way to store items you only occasionally need to access, but want to keep safe from pests and other threats. Whether you’re storing extra furniture, seasonal decorations or household goods, climate controlled units maintain exceptional levels of temperature and humidity to ensure your belongings are protected in peak condition.
- Pairing with a warehouse partner who also handles shipping and order fulfilment is a great way to save time and money. They have the expertise to handle everything for you, including order picking and packing.
- If you are looking for a nice office/warehouse space, but don’t want to pay the high price of rent, this is the option for you. You can rent or buy your own office/warehouse space, which is more affordable than you may think.
Some photography tips for furniture and home décor products:
When you’re selling furniture online, the product photos you use need to provide customers with a good sense of scale, texture and detail. You can ensure a high quality photo that shows off the features of your products by following these simple tips:
- Scale is crucial : A great way to show off any item, including furniture and décor, is by placing them within a space. Using this method gives shoppers a better idea of how it would look in their home, which can help influence a purchase decision.
- Close up shots: Capture the unique details of your product with close-ups. High resolution photos, good lighting and the right background will really bring the item to life.
- Enable 3D: Now you can let your customers see your furniture from every angle with 3D product views. With 3D and video product capabilities, all of your customers will be able to view your furniture from every angle and make the decision on whether they want to buy it themselves.
- Create a story: The very best products should translate their purpose and benefits into a story that compellingly explains how they can help people. To write your story, you need to know your audience. What do they care about, who are they, what makes them unique? After you’ve answered these questions for yourself and created an outline for your story, create a mock-up (using photos or illustrations) of the ways that customers might use your product.
How to set up your online furniture store?
With the help of online ecommerce store we can put all this hard work together. It takes time and work to get your brand’s message across. If you’ve taken the time to develop solid brand guidelines, this part should be a natural extension of that work.
Product pages for online furniture business:
- For example let’s consider a wall shelf. The main image should be a lifestyle image which give inspiration to the customers.
- The Add to Cart button has been designed to be big and prominent so that customers can easily see it and click right away if they want to add the item to their cart. Adding the product to the cart is a great option because you are then able to go back later and compare the product with others; you may even decide you want to add more than one!
- The best way to showcase your product is to take pictures of it on a solid background so customers can easily see your product. This simply makes the customer compare more details of the product with ease.
- Providing detailed images of wall shelf helps your customers to predict whether it will fit in their space or not. You can include width, dimensions, composition etc.
Ways to market your furniture and home décor business:
The furniture industry is one of the most competitive in the world, but with some strategic marketing, you can yield a competitive advantage. Whether you’re running ads on Facebook or testing your email list, there are a variety of ways to connect with potential customers. When choosing which marketing tactics to invest in, it’s important to consider who your customer is and where they hang out.
As a brand selling a product that is highly subject to taste, content can be very powerful. Digital tools like social media and video can help you build an audience that trusts you and your taste, driving traffic to your store and establishing yourself as a credible expert in this space.
In today’s digital age, social media is becoming one of the most popular ways to reach potential customers. Maintaining a presence on these platforms will allow you to connect with current customers in more ways than one, from listening and responding to questions and requests to sharing behind-the-scenes moments from your shop.
Build a social media persona:
A recent survey suggested that 49% of Indian shoppers purchased products on social media. It is not only great for increasing brand awareness, but also for creating direct interactions with customers and for real-time communication.
Social media posts that involve visual experiences, such as Pinterest or Instagram, are the fastest growing platforms for marketing. You can create more traffic to your online store by using custom hashtags and CTA’s in your captions. Add a store link in your social media posts so that you have a direct path to conversions.
Brands also benefit from social media with their consistent engagement with their audiences and the promotion of user-generated content. It’s not all about inspiring or educating your audience, though! You can also inspire brands to add their own stories to the mix by sharing your brand story or decorating tips.
Shipping and returns:
If your furniture brand needs to save time and optimise the shipping process, consider partnering with a warehouse partners who are experts in handling warehousing, inventory management, fulfilment and shipping and can cater to your specific needs.
Returns can be very tricky when you’re dealing with oversized items. Be sure that your return policy is very clear, and that it is displayed prominently on your website (particularly at the checkout stage), in both the product description and on product pages. If you can’t accept returns, then state that clearly upfront. Ask your shipping partner ahead of time if they are willing to accept back any items that don’t meet customer expectations – which may be costly for them.
How to choose gateway for online payment:
As your business grows, accepting credit card payments online can help you drive sales. You’ll need to find a payment gateway that is easy to set up, offers flexible options and helps you maximize your revenue potential.
Some important things to be considering while selecting the gateway are enabling multiple currencies, payment methods and a range of options for faster checkout. You can allow people to pay through debit or credit cards, net banking or digital wallets like Google Pay.
Most people now shop online, and an optimised checkout process is an important part of a successful online business. This includes making the checkout process easy for mobile devices, ensuring your security is up to par according to PCI DSS standards, and finding a payment provider that simplifies the process with their own mobile app so people can make purchases on the go.
The costs involved with choosing a gateway, from set-up to transaction fees, can add up, which is why it’s important to evaluate these in advance and make sure they’re right for your business. Choose a payment gateway based on the costs of each solution, transaction or monthly fees and holding period. Not all providers are compatible with all gateways.
The online furniture industry is growing rapidly, with three times more shoppers in the next five years. Reports suggest that the industry is set to hit a growth of 39% CAGR by 2021, making it an excellent time to build and curate furniture to sell online.
With the help of online ecommerce store you can establish your brand voice by clearly defining who you are and what you stand for, you can create a deep connection with your customers. This goes beyond just making sure that your furniture is high quality: when a customer gets involved with your brand, they feel like part of something bigger than just a transaction. It’s about an idealistic experience that adds value to people’s lives.
Now that you know all the details of how to sell home décor online, it’s time to take action! Follow the above steps to stay ahead of the game and start a successful home décor business online.