My all-time favorite home furnishing store, Bombay Company, discontinued its web operations after the company filed for bankruptcy in October. I guess my purchases cannot keep the company afloat :o) Too bad, as I am a big fan of their cherry-colored furniture and stylish home decor items.
But there are still a wide variety of home furnishing stores out there. And Internet Retailer magazine has a very interesting article identifying the elements that work for these stores and make them stand out from the rest.
- LillianVernon.com = adds features to make the shopping experience better for customers such as reminder service, product suggestions, customer reviews and a tool that allows customers to see how a name would look on a personalized product.
- Crate & Barrel = to make their Web and store operations more seamless, added photos of individual stores in their store locator section, information on store promotions and made maps more interactive.
- Oneida.com = uses technology to help customers identify the right products such as their Virtual Table Setting tool and Pattern Identifier
- RestorationHardware.com = added an interactive catalog that allows shoppers to flip through the pages, apply virtual sticky notes and include comments about items on the pages
All the above features are seemingly must-haves if you want to improve customer experience and your bottomline. Of course, implementing any or all of them will depend on your technical and financial resources — and with small businesses, that is always a big IF unfortunately.
You can read the full article at Internet Retailer