How Visual Search Navigation Makes Home Décor Shopping Intuitive

From a simple light fixture to a corner banquette, shopping for home décor can be dizzying for customers when they don’t have the words to describe their inspiration. With visual search navigation, customers filter through your catalogue with ease, providing a furniture shopping experience that attracts, engages and retains customers.

Do you remember that Friends episode where Ross was shopping for a couch with Rachel? The one where he frustratingly said, “I’m sorry I just want to make sure I bought the right couch. I need a couch that says, ‘kids welcome here,’ but that also says, ‘come here to me…’ for the ladies.”

Your customers may not have the same intention as Ross, but they can probably relate to wanting to find furniture that specifically features all characteristics they want it to have. From the small detail of having an angular arm to the big detail of exuding a mid-century feel, as a retailer, you have to make sure these personal preferences don’t get lost when your customers start shopping.

For your customers, the old-fashioned way of furniture hunting is plagued by physical store limitations, while the newer one is marred by online complexity. With visual search navigation, not only do you empower customers to find any furniture faster and easier, but you also provide them with a much simpler and more personalized experience that makes home décor shopping a walk in the park. Plus, your backend operations—from inventory management to omnichannel readiness—get a boost of productivity.

From holding catalogues in brick-and-mortar stores to opening multiple tabs online

The global home décor market is booming. In 2017, it was worth 582 billion dollars, according to Research and Markets. With rising income levels, recovering real estate industry, and increasing globalization, the home décor market is projected to exceed 741 billion dollars by 2023, with a CAGR of around 4% during 2018-2023.

Risky visits. Traditionally, customers had to physically travel to home furnishing stores to see their options. If they didn’t find what they were looking for, they had to risk another chunk of their time and money to explore other stores.

Static catalogues. Product catalogues helped in a way, but they didn’t get updated as often. They were also not as accessible for potential customers unless you sent catalogues via direct mail or personally handed them out when customers visit the stores.

Then digital came, and a whole new world of online home décor shopping emerged. In the US alone, home furnishings make up a sizable portion of digital purchases, with 40.7 billion dollars in sales in 2016, according to Statista. The market is expected to account for 14.4% of total retail e-commerce sales in 2023.

Touch of convenience. The main reason why customers shop online is convenience. They can check stocks available in different stores, compare products and prices, and eventually purchase furniture and have it delivered—all from the comfort of their home.

Tabs of choices. Retailers transferred catalogues online, allowing customers to see the latest products you have in place. The catch though? Complexity. For instance, while looking for an ottoman, customers filter their search according to style. But not being familiar with how transitional, traditional, and contemporary differ from each other, customers waste seconds checking it individually, sometimes ending up with multiple tabs to compare in a dizzying browser tab clutter.

Feed of global ideas. From the Swedish design concept of Lagom to the vibrant aesthetic of Persian and Indian block printed paisleys, the digital brings home décor inspiration from around the world to your customers’ fingertips. They have more ideas to curate their home than ever before—and more pressure for you to provide what they’re looking for.

Today – Navigating catalogues with visual search

After inspiration hits your customers, the next step comes in—they visit stores, sift through sites, pages, categories, and attributes to find the furniture that speaks to them. But that is time-consuming especially when it is in the details that make a house a home. As a retailer, offering visual search navigation does the heavy-lifting for your customers.

Ypulse found that 74% of the next generation of customers—Millennials aged 18-34-year-olds—consider owning a house a part of their ideal life. And, 70% want to put more effort into decorating their home.

More and more customers want their space to showcase their personality. In fact, making their home as personalized as possible is great for emotional wellbeing. In light of these new customer mindset and home décor environment, retailers have the exciting technology of visual search navigation to help customers achieve their dream home.

How do customers put into words their mood-boosting home décor inspiration? They don’t have to. With visual search navigation, they just have to show it. Powered by a deep tagging technology, visual search navigation uses animated icons, not textual filters, to guide your customers throughout their product search. They get to narrow down their search until they are left with products that match exactly what they were looking for.

Deloitte’s 2019 Retail Outlook listed ultra-personalization, interconnectedness, and hyper-efficiency as customers’ present set of demands from retailers. With visual search navigation, retailers get to deliver these experiences both in the online and offline worlds.

Inventory management. Visual search navigation gives you and your customers a centralized, real-time inventory visibility across locations and digital assets. As it automates the process, it also enables you to upload new items in shorter time frames. Customers looking for a relatively specific furniture like an art deco tulip chair can easily mix and match a lot of features. Visual search navigation directly shows them purchasable items you have available on stock every moment they select an attribute.

Omnichannel readiness. Customers get inspiration from everywhere like seeing a marble backsplash kitchen on social media. Once they visit your site or store, visual search navigation saves them the effort to explain that it was Carrara marble, not a subway tile or Herringbone. With visual search navigation, you empower customers to choose from visual options, trim down their choices, and surface what makes their heart flutter, connecting their home shopping journey—from product discovery to purchase.

Analytics and reporting. Visual search navigation tracks which items in your inventory customers are interacting with. From multi-functional spaces to low maintenance indoor plants, visual search navigation surfaces what is trending, and enables you to manage inventory and predict future demand.

Visual search navigation gamifies the home décor shopping experience, allowing customers to interact with your dynamic catalogue and expand their furniture and interior design vocabulary with the help of visuals. With just a few taps or clicks, you help customers turn their home ideas into reality.

Leveraging visual search navigation, powered by Syte, retailers delight customers with intuitive, relevant, and personalized interactions. Visual search navigation allows you to show customers what they want and enable them to buy the exact home décor item for their personality-filled home—minus the limitations and complexity.

Ariel Geifman

Ariel is the Head of the Marketing at Syte, with deep expertise in outbound marketing, social selling and social marketing, content development, online advertising and marketing strategy.

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