We are delighted to announce that our fabulous Furniture Village ecommerce site has scooped Sitecore’s ‘Best Retail, Wholesale and Consumer Goods Site Award’ in their Site of the Year 2012 Awards.
We've loved being part of the furniture at FV over the past 10 years, and are incredibly proud of our part in their ongoing success. From killer sales to sharp shooting, we've had a lot of fun working together.Tim Beckett, Managing Director True Digital
Furniture Village (FV) is the largest independent furniture retailer in the UK - a market leader alongside the likes of DFS, John Lewis and IKEA. Family run, the business is renowned for exemplary customer service and high quality product.
In 10 years of working with FV, True has been at the heart of a remarkable transformation in the retail world.
Everything has changed beyond recognition: how shoppers behave, the technology that empowers them, the retail landscape. And it will keep changing.
Thanks to a decade of discovery, True and FV are well placed to understand where that change is going. Here’s what we’ve learned.
The Changing Consumer
When our digital journey began, Furniture Village felt sure that their customers would never buy a sofa - much less a bed - online.
Fast-forward a decade and online is their biggest store, providing the business with enormous opportunity and valuable customer insight. Customers are buying high quality sofas, designer dining sets and specialist beds online, even from their mobiles, without hesitation.
Those who don’t buy online search for prices, product specifications and availability, wherever and whenever it suits them, before heading to their nearest store.
Others prefer to browse the stores first, shortlisting the products they like and then going online to find and snap up their perfect item.
Consumers become experts in what they buy. They compare products, prices and service at a swipe. If they’re not impressed fast, the deal is off. On big ticket items, detail is everything. Content must be beautiful, useful and persuade like the world’s best salesman.
Thanks to social sharing, every customer has the potential to be that salesman. Or, if they’re disappointed, a very powerful detractor.
The Changing Market
Furniture sales fluctuate with weather and the economy, mirroring changes in the housing market and consumer confidence.
So over the last 10 years, we've had many ups and downs. The 2008 slump hit hard, with long established British retailers including MFI closing their doors.
FV stuck to their knitting, continuing the transition from brochure site to ecommerce solution. New interactive content like room planners and product configurators was tested alongside targeted offers and packaged deals for first time buyers.
Competition between the big retailers has always been fierce. The rise of pure-play retailers like sofa.com and made.com and a shift in focus from the likes of Next shape customer expectations on delivery and customisation.
FV customers have a continuing influx of new stores and innovations to choose from. Retailers such as Joss & Main have editorialised shopping and Loaf are opening physical stores on the back of their online success.
User testing and analytics keeps our eye on the ball and ensures we can compete with the best of the competition.
The Changing Experience
Mobile has permanently changed the way we browse and buy, in store and online. When mobile overtook desktop for FV, we saw the number of browsers increase, accompanied by lowered conversion rates and improved average order values.
Initially, FV tested a mobile site, rather than investing in making their website fully responsive. That decision was influenced by cost, speed and longevity. Learning from the mobile experience will inform FV’s responsive requirements for the future.
However much authority you think your brand has, your customers have more. Social networks are the go-to places for inspiration, reviews and letting off steam. Places like Facebook and Twitter are where shoppers influence and are influenced by one another. Customer satisfaction and dissatisfaction is public and requires careful handling. People expect a fast response.
FV's value and credibility is proven through content. Magazine articles, Facebook posts and Pinterest boards deliver ideas and inspiration. Short videos are used to showcase motion furniture and to help customers make the right choice.
User testing, competitor reviews, market research and in-depth data analysis all expose the myriad of user stories and journeys FV needs to accommodate. It's this insight that helps make the story we tell more relevant, personal and compelling.
Wherever possible, FV talk to their customers in context of their life stage and lifestyle, offering products, solutions and service that will really make a difference.
Continual year-on-year online Growth
Top 50 in Brand & Engagement
Top 150 omni-channel retailer