With physical retail shut down, the bar for digital commerce performance has now been raised.

The spread of COVID-19 resulted in a mass shutdown of not only business, but day-to-day life as we know it. This demanded a change in the way commerce is carried out, namely a transition away from physical storefronts and showrooms to online marketplaces. Nowhere has this transition been more evident than in the furniture industry. However, there are still tools that some manufacturers and retailers lack that are vital to their success in a radically digitized age.

While COVID-19 has shown us the importance of online marketplaces, it’s far from the initial spark that set it off. Online marketplaces have evolved gradually to their current status, starting almost immediately after the internet came into existence. But the outbreak has unquestionably sped up that process by making online shopping not just a convenience, but a necessity.

With the expansion of digital retail, the bare minimum is no longer an option for businesses that want to stay relevant and, to be blunt, viable. But the COVID-19 outbreak is also far from the first economic crisis to hit the global market during the internet age. From the dot.com bust to the housing market crash, the market has a way of weeding out those who aren’t able to adjust to a rapidly-changing economy.

It’s important to remember, though, that there is a relatively simple way to set yourself apart from the competition in an increasingly digitized market. One key way to achieve this is to offer as many of the same benefits that a physical store can. While product images were helpful and innovative twenty years ago, they’re the absolute bare minimum now. What a customer wants is to be able to look at the product from all angles and visualize it in their own living space. That’s why Augmented reality and 3D visualization are more important now than ever for this reason; Your digital storefront will no longer help you stand out from the competition. What you need is a way for customers to visualize their new living room, dining room or bedroom furniture.

To be sure, many manufacturers, brands and retailers have hopped on to the 3D imaging bandwagon. It’s likely one of the reasons that the furniture industry has overall seen less economic impact than other industries during the COVID-19 outbreak, with online sales rising considerably. Wayfair even reported that their sales have doubled since the beginning of the crisis.

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The explanation for this uptick in the home furnishings industry is actually very intuitive. Ever since shelter-at-home orders were first handed down, consumers, on average, find themselves having much more time to devote to home improvements or remodeling. While some may simply fill their time with cleaning or yard work, many who are working from home are growing tired of their surroundings and feeling inspired to make changes to their decor. Far from a devastating blow to the industry, this new outbreak is primarily a challenge to be faced head-on.

That’s why it’s so important that manufacturers and retailers ensure that their digital storefront is fully optimized for customers looking for a more customizable and personalized experience. Will you rise to the occasion and evolve with the industry?

Here at Intiaro, we pride ourselves on our adaptability and unique product offerings. From 3D product configuration to augmented reality apps, we have the tools that you need to support your online retail efforts. This is your time to maximize your company’s digital market share. We’re here to give you a leg-up on the competition.

Stay safe and stay healthy!

Sources: Business 2 Community, Furniture Today