Furniture Dealers Embracing Tech: STORIS

AI is generating plenty of interest, new Trend Guide shows 

 By Alan Wolf, YSN

Home furnishings retailers are looking to AI, mobile commerce and other rapidly evolving technologies to add oomph to their top and bottom lines in 2024.

That’s one of the key takeaways from STORIS’s “Home Furnishings Industry Trend Guide 2024,” an annual assemblage of industry intelligence and dealer polls presented by the retail software resource and BrandSource Gold Provider Partner.

According to the report, 91% of home furnishings retailers will maintain or accelerate their investments in technology this year to improve their operations and elevate the customer experience. And that customer base is increasingly comprised of Gen Z and millennial shoppers, who now account for 70% of all furniture purchases and have an affinity for technology.

Topping the list of tech innovations is AI, a tool with unlimited potential that retailers are only beginning to tap. Of those polled by STORIS, 43% are researching applications for AI and 12% are already leveraging it, for everything from ad creation (59%) and website content (54%) to demand forecasting (32%) and supply chain streamlining (16%).

Retailers are also pursuing mobile shopping (m-commerce) and mobile point-of-sale to eliminate in-store friction points and provide customers with personalized follow-up. To underscore its role in retail, STORIS pointed to the most recent Cyber Monday, when fully 52% of online sales were transacted on mobile phones.

And speaking of Cyber Monday, not every initiative by home furnishings retailers is necessarily technological. According to the STORIS survey, 38% of respondents believe promotions and sales events are the most important tactics to drive traffic in 2024, while STORIS also suggests leveraging pop culture icons, collaborating with online-only competitors, creating social media-worthy vignettes and holding in-store events to drive traffic, both physical and online.

The good news is that all these measures are set against a solid economic backdrop this year, in which the Consumer Price Index (CPI) continues to fall, the employment rate is maintaining record highs and the $244 billion U.S. furniture market is projected to grow 3.9% annually over the next five years.

STORIS’s complete “Home Furnishings Industry Trend Guide 2024” is available here.

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