Online shopping for home decor pieces has traditionally lagged behind fashion and jewelry purchases because shoppers like to see, touch and experience furniture in person. Home decor showrooms have always been part and parcel of the shopping journey to ease customers’ wariness of high price tags, the complexity of shipping large items, and trusting retailers and brands.
While buying in-store remains the preferred channel for most furniture customers, online shopping is catching up. 53% of consumers report shopping in brick-and-mortar stores, and 43% purchase online through eCommerce platforms and brand websites. Almost half of shoppers in the U.S. cite convenience as their top reason for shopping online, as well as lower prices, free delivery, and more inventory availability. What’s more, younger shoppers are generally more willing to purchase furniture items online than Gen X and Baby Boomers. With a market size of $29 billion in 2022, home decor eCommerce is projected to reach $41 billion by 2030.
Furniture is considered the highest priority for a major purchase, according to a survey by Home Furnishings Business. 38% of shoppers turn to image-sharing platforms like Instagram, Pinterest, and TikTok for inspiration, and hashtags like #diy and #homedecor have a total of 51.7 billion views. More people interested in home projects and redecorating are driving retail sales up, but how can retailers ensure shoppers find their brand and products first?
Visual AI tagging can make a difference in today’s eCommerce landscape. It improves product discoverability, better predicts shopper demand, and automates manual tagging.
Challenges Home Decor Retailers Face Online
Tagging Thousands to Millions of Products Is Daunting
Many brands manage catalogues with thousands to millions of products. When manually assigning product tags, merchandisers exhaust both time and energy to index such a large assortment and risk human error. This can lead to inaccurate product metadata, tags, descriptions, and thematic language.
One thing customers like about online shopping is the abundance of options they can choose from. 88% of shoppers report that large product selections determine where they shop. On the flip side, turning up too many irrelevant choices due to inefficient product tagging can lead to decision paralysis and cart abandonment.
Shoppers Struggle to Find What They Want
As we know, buying home decor and furniture is a highly visual process, although most home decor websites aren’t built with visual search tools. Text searches often yield unsatisfactory results, leading to 31% of all product searches ending in vain. Many shoppers have limited industry vocabulary to help them zero in on items they want, especially when they’ve become accustomed to finding inspiration with a quick scroll on social media.
Customers Still Desire One-on-One In-Store Experiences
Online customer expectations are at an all-time high, and shoppers still want eCommerce sites to deliver individualized experiences and have an understanding of their personal tastes as they would offline. About 71% of customers favor personalized interactions from brands, and 76% end up frustrated if companies underperform on this front. Tailoring personal experiences online is a major upside that makes for loyal, repeat visitors who convert.
Fifty-Four Seconds to Make an Impression
Online distractions abound, which makes it more difficult to hold customers’ attention. Users only spend an average of 54 seconds on a website, which gives brands a tight timeframe to work with.
If visitors can’t find anything interesting, they’re likely to bounce. This emphasizes the need for compelling home decor merchandising — whether on the homepage through inspiration galleries, image search, or recommendation carousels on product listing pages (PLPs) and product detail pages (PDPs).
Visual AI can be used to automate product tagging. The algorithm analyzes images like a human brain and generates attributes down to the granular level.
AI tagging translates visual data to a variety of characteristics, such as styles, colors, cuts, themes, and more. Through deep learning, visual AI creates links among relevant keywords with an ever-expanding lexicon.
Product tags are the backbone of seamless and satisfying customer experiences. When they’re accurate, up-to-date, and consistent, tags make shopping easier and more intuitive. Using on-site behavior and context as a foundation, brands can push the right products to customers at the right time.
With automated tags, home decor brands can optimize behind-the-scenes operations by identifying trends and surfacing keywords that have optimum performance. They also make the actual tagging process much faster, more accurate, and more efficient. These insights inform business decisions from product development and inventory management to company pricing strategies.
Why AI Tagging Is a Must for Home Decor eCommerce Brands
1. Easier and More Accurate On-Site Search
It’s time to move away from traditional search. With AI tags, customers can connect with the products they want even if they only have an image and basic keywords on hand.
Let’s take that saved picture from Instagram. All a user has to do is upload it to a website with AI-backed image search to turn up relevant results. In the backend, automated tags support front-end image and text searches. For the latter, AI tagging helps to surface relevant products even when users type in different but related keywords or make spelling mistakes. The search results will also be informed by customer context and intent, conveying a deep understanding of what they want.
2. Multi-Faceted Product Discovery
Shoppers discover products across numerous channels and platforms. When an online store is rich with robust metadata, it can make products more discoverable via Google searches and simplify how shoppers locate products they’ve seen on social.
In terms of social integrations, AI tagging supports turning images from social feeds like Instagram into shoppable opportunities directly on a website. All brands have to do is collect social media posts and organize them in the backend so they show up in a familiar Stories format on the front end. Shoppers can then buy the exact items or explore similar looks.
28% of consumers say personalization encourages them to buy a product they didn’t plan to purchase, and 26% say it may lead them to buy something more expensive than expected. AI tagging powers Recommendation Carousels that prompt customers to explore a website and come out with extra purchases, even if they were intent on buying a specific item.
Done right, personalization can save customers time by showing them products they want without additional searches and increase conversion by driving shoppers to the checkout page. When a brand consistently matches recommendations with customer expectations, it also paves the way for more loyal shoppers.
4. Instant Connection With the Perfect Products
Today’s customers are used to instant gratification. Besides convenience, speed ranks as the most important element of a positive customer experience for almost 80% of U.S. consumers. AI tags work with backend merchandising rules to display the most relevant items first on the front end, and suggestions can be updated in real-time to encourage customers to keep browsing.
In addition to physical stores and websites, at least 59% of shoppers say being able to shop on mobile is essential when deciding where to purchase, and 56% of in-store customers use their smartphones to shop or research items in-store.
This comes in handy for sales representatives in brick-and-mortar shops who can quickly help customers by uploading photos in real time and finding similar options at a touch of a button. Behind-the-scenes AI tagging supports the entire process by accurately describing items, which are then quickly surfaced in product searches.
6. Sustainability Initiative Support
AI product tags optimize inventory management by gathering insights from product tagging data to see which types of items are trending and driving sales. With this wealth of data, it’s easier to forecast demand, drive down expenses, generate less waste, and increase the bottom line.
Even if a home retailer ends up with overstock, AI product tags help them to implement robust merchandising rules and ranking strategies to prioritize items to clear out. In addition to surfacing surplus products at the top of search results, they can be paired with relevant products in recommendation carousels to maximize results.
Boost Business Efficiencies With Automated Tagging
AI tagging is the backbone of both frontend and backend experiences that are critical to driving performance for home decor brands. Automated tagging makes it possible for home decor retailers to deliver high-value, tailored journeys that help customers design their perfect homes. It powers everything from image search and recommendation carousels to online merchandising and inventory management.