Digital Marketing or Online Marketing or E marketing is the process of marketing a product or service using the Internet. These Digital marketing websites / E retailers use a wide range of technologies to help connect businesses to their customers. This technology also has the tracking capabilities whereby manufacturer can keep a track of the customer movement and their viewing of specific products so they can comprehend the customer choice of the products. Customers also come to know the range of prices, and products that can go along with particular piece of furniture.
Digital marketing has been very trendy these days with elite buyers ordering furniture online on very large scale in main metro cities in India. This trend should be booming in coming years and should extend in Two – Tier cities also. Indian Furniture manufacturers will have to be prepared to ride this wave of consumer demand by online Digital Marketing. It seems to have a big Furniture showroom will soon become outdated idea. This should also work in favor of manufacturers who are plagued by the rising costs of showroom rents and establishment costs. Digital marketing has eliminated / reduced these costs drastically, as a result making the furniture business more attractive. Hence we can observe the speedy rise of E Retailer brands/ e – marketplaces like Urbanladder, Pepperfry, Flipkart and Amazon etc. Many smart producers have floated their Digital marketing companies and web sites to join the trend. Those furniture companies who want to grow will have to adapt to this new marketing tool.
Along with the advantages of the Digital marketing there are some precautions that needs to be taken by manufacturers before actually joining this Digital Bandwagon. The most important points to be noted are
- Good product design.
- Uniform quality, consistency and reliability.
- Quick adaptability for changes that customer needs.
- Short delivery time.
- Competitive pricing.
- Damage proof packing and logistics.
- Perfect quality and superior surface finish, because if you get customer complaints about quality – finish, it will be a costly affair to redress.
The e-market place / e-retailer websites are careful about their own brand image. As the brand image of the e-market place is at stake, it is observed that e- retailer websites apply stringent quality norms for participating manufacturers. Any rework / touchup /service visits to customers are always at the furniture manufacturers account. This becomes a costly affair for manufacturers in case of customer complaints.
Good product design:
Attractive product design is very crucial. The furniture should be smartly designed, knock down, sturdy and attractive. This will make the product more visible and appreciated. As customer base in not limited to one city only, the furniture should be available in various shades to match the diverse decor needs based on different individual choices.
We should remember that the furniture product should be good quality and should be presented in nice and effective style. It should also be safe. If sharp corners are avoided then only it can be labeled as Injury Free furniture.
Uniform quality, consistency and reliability:
The most essential criteria for successful Digital sales is Uniform quality, consistency and reliability. The customer watching the furniture online is missing the touch& feel of the products. He only trusts the displayed images, specifications, information and the credibility of the e-market place and your furniture brand if your Brand is already specified – established. Hence it becomes the responsibility of the manufacturer to guarantee that what is displayed is delivered.
When two different customers will order and buy the same product than it should be of same quality and finish. This happens when someone likes the furniture delivered to his friend and orders it. In this case he expects that he will receive similarly finished product. This needs a manufacturing process that guarantees uniform product.
Poor surface finishing / damages in transit / poor workmanship will be an expensive excercise as customer redressal has to be taken care by the furniture manufacturer.
Consistency plays a vital role as the same customer can order a similar product after few months and needs the same finish / colour / workmanship so that it can be coupled with the old furniture.
Quick adaptability for changes that customer needs:
Many times it happens that the customer is selecting many furniture products from the offered list and needs some changes in one or few products to fit in to the space available / or to cater to his specific requirement.
The book case is with wooden shelves. If the customer needs the shelves in Glass with lights, than in such case the manufacturers should be able to fulfill the requirement otherwise there are chances that the order may be lost.The factory should be equipped with techniques that will adapt small changes in the furniture products. A quick adaptation can become USP of the furniture brand. Rigidity in this may boomerang.
Short delivery time:
In case of digital purchasing the customer is paying for the furniture immediately, hence he expects a quicker delivery of the products to his home. Quicker the deliveries better will be the brand building process. Hence the furniture factory should have few sets of the furniture, offered on digital media, ready in the factory, duly quality checked and packed ready for dispatch. This will help in getting quick feedback thus the planning can be improved.
The furniture products are offered from different vendors on various market places. This will result in to better choice for the customer to select from. The customer will compare the prices, designs, finish and aesthetics at a click of the mouse. With this the decision making process will be faster. This will make the furniture manufacturer to offer his product at competitive price which should assure the customer a good return on his investment.
Ensure a foolproof quality:
The manufacturing process should be followed strictly with a very good quality check at every process. Moisture contents, dimensions, joinery, surface finish, colour, texture etc should be perfectly checked.
No compromise should be tolerated at any stage as it may result in to heavy costs in case of rejection/ repair. It will also damage the reputation and reliability index with the market place.
Damage proof packing and logistics:
The area where utmost care is needed is the Packing area. By making a good product you will win half of the target. The balance challenge is to take the product to customers place without damage. This will require the use of various packing material available in the market. Products like Polyethylene film, Bubble film, PP Foam sheeting, Corrugated sheets, corrugated boxes, corner protectors, molded – sheet thermocol, can be used for damage proof packing.
It will be better if tests are conducted for safe transportation of furniture and the design is modified accordingly. There are institutes that offer tests under various road conditions.
If all these precautions are taken care of, one will be able to have a thriving business on Digital marketplace.