Selling furniture online may seem like a snappy way to make a buck off the old wardrobe sat in your extra room. But in the right hands, it can become a rewarding business. So how would you set up a furniture store online? Do you need tech skills or an Apprentice-style business plan?
The simple answer is no, you don’t need either. You just need to follow our 10 simple steps, and you’ll be well on your way to building your furniture empire…
Even when you have a plan, it can be hard to know where to start, the order in which to take each step, the best way to choose your platform, or even how to display your products.
These steps will give you a clear and detailed breakdown of the best way to set up an online store for your furniture business.
So, what are we waiting for? Let’s get started, so you can get selling!
Find the Right Ecommerce Website Builder
Generally, when you see furniture being promoted online, it’s through some platforms like eBay, Etsy, and even Craigslist. These options are fine for selling the odd item, but they don’t support a long-term business.
If you want to build a professional and trustworthy brand for your furniture store, it’s worth considering an ecommerce website builder. It’s an online platform that helps you set up an online store without needing to know any code – or even have any design skills. You can build a legitimate website for your products with ease, and without paying out for a developer.
In short, think of the best ecommerce website builder like a piece of really high-quality flat-pack furniture – with all the tools included. You can easily put together an impressive piece, and nobody will know it came with an instruction book rather than a hefty price tag.
The following are the top ecommerce platforms for selling furniture online:
Choose a Domain Name
A domain name is your website’s address and is how people recognize and find your website. It’s part of your website’s identity. Domain names are important for building a professional and trustworthy image for your business.
But how do you choose a domain name? Here are our top tips for picking a killer domain:
- Keep it short. Don’t create a long or complicated address – people just won’t remember it!
- Keep it relevant. This is an obvious one, but it’s easy to get caught up in the mission to be unique. If your business is called Little Blue Door, for example, don’t pick I-love-country-music as your domain. Even if you’re Dolly’s biggest fan, your customers will be pretty confused! Ensure you stand out for the appropriate
- Keep it catchy. You can have fun with your domain! You want it to be memorable and unique, so why not try it out on friends and family to see what they think? Can they remember it after a couple of days? Is it too similar to another brand?
Lots of people already own a domain name. If you’re one of them, you can connect your domain to the website you’ve made with your chosen builder.
Builderfly, Magento, and WooCommerce all let you do this, and all have help guides to see you through the process.
Pick and Customize a Template
To create your online store, you’ll need to pick a template. This is the structure for a page layout, with example text and images to enable you to see its potential.
It’s like viewing a house – you can see where the light fittings are, and where the current owners have put the TV. But once you move in, you can replace everything with your own stuff, allowing you to bring your own style to the layout.
It’s a big ask to choose a permanent template right from day one. It’d be like having to marry the first person you ever go on a date with – it might work for a lucky few, but most of the time, it’s just not going to happen!
With some builders, like Builderfly, you can edit your mobile view to make sure your site looks just how you want it on all screens. Or, you can leave it how it is, and your template will automatically reformat to fit the screen it’s being viewed on.
Add Your Furniture
It’s the moment you’ve been waiting for! Now’s the time to add your furniture and show the world what you’ve got to offer. There’s a lot to think about here, so stick with us as we cover the best ways to set your furniture up for success…
- Write a Compelling Description
- You’re selling online, so you can’t use your silver sales tongue to persuade customers to buy that antique chair or ultra-modern bed frame. You need your product description to give customers all the information they want to know (without them asking for it), and to reel them in hook, line, and sinker.
- This means you need to be informative. Think materials, dimensions, colors, weight; all the things a customer might want to know about the logistics of a product.
- Take Quality Photos
- Nobody is going to buy a sofa if it’s lurking in the gloom of a bad photo. Make sure you’re taking crystal clear, high quality, great color images to show off your products, and avoid grainy, pixelated photos at all costs.
- Take photos from different angles, and make them big enough to see on your website.
- Set a Sensible Price
- You probably aren’t setting up an online furniture store just to give your products away.
- Pricing will depend on a lot of things, but there are two important rules to follow: don’t overprice your products, and don’t undersell them either.
- Your prices should reflect the quality of the furniture you’re selling, whether that’s antique pieces or flat-pack DIY packages.
- If you want to drive lots of sales, competitive prices can help shift stock much faster than expensive price tags. But make sure your prices are enough to cover your own costs – you want to make a profit after all!
Categorize Your Furniture
While we all love a jumble sale in real life, it’s not quite the same with online stores. If there’s no rhyme, reason, or clear logic to how products are listed or grouped, customers will most likely be heading in the opposite direction.
That’s why categories – or collections, as they’re also called – are so important. These are what make it possible to shop by Men’s, Women’s, Shoes, or Accessories when you’re shopping for clothes online.
Builderfly, Magento, and WooCommerce all let you create product categories. Products can sit in more than one category, making it even easier for customers to filter and find what they’re looking for. A wardrobe, for example, may fit in a “Bedroom furniture” category as well as “Best Selling” .
It’s up to you how you want to categorize your products, but it should be logical, clear, and consistent.
Set Up Payments
After doing all the hard work, taking beautiful photos of your products and painstakingly working out prices, you deserve a reward. Not just any reward – a monetary prize!
The good news is, once your store goes live, all that hard work will pay off – literally. To accept those well-earned payments through your website, you need to choose a provider and enable transactions.
Ecommerce website builders make it easy to set up payments in just a few clicks. After that customers can easily check out on your website.
The main payment gateways to look out for are:
- Amazon Pay
How do you choose with so many options? If your business is already connected to an available payment provider, you can continue using that. The main thing is to choose a payment gateway that will benefit your customers the most.
For example, if your customer base is mostly an older demographic, it’s probably best not to rely on digital wallet payments like Apple Pay.
Some ecommerce website builders charge transaction fees. Builderfly let you sell totally free of charge, no matter which payment provider you choose.
Sort Out Your Shipping Settings
By now, your online furniture store is almost ready to go. It’s designed beautifully, the products are all in place, you’ve got your own domain, and you’re ready to start accepting payments. There’s just one last thing to sort out: shipping.
First things first – you need somewhere to ship from. The shipping origin will set up how shipping and taxes are calculated and are especially important for getting real-time shipping quotes.
You can ship from your own backyard, your workshop, an office, or you can use a fulfillment warehouse. This decision really depends on the size and volume of the products you’re selling. As your business grows, you’ll need to expand where you store and ship your stock from.
Think about where you’ll be shipping to. Will you be shipping locally? Nationally? Internationally?
Of course, it’ll cost more to ship to certain places than others, so you can set shipping zones which have different rates applied to them. These can be ZIP/postcodes, states, or even whole countries.
Test and Launch Your E-Furniture Store
You’re almost there! But don’t go hitting the publish button just yet. First, let’s see how your furniture store looks online.
This is super easy to do – ecommerce website builders have a “Preview” button which lets you view your store as if it were live. Now is the time to spot any glitches, images that won’t load, or any links which don’t work.
Ensure you test all your product pages – does the “Add to Basket” button truly work? Check the checkout too. Go all the way through to the checkout page and make sure you’ve got a smooth and seamless customer journey.
Don’t forget about those mobile users. Preview your website on your mobile, making sure it’s all formatted perfectly – no squashed images, missing buttons or gigantic menus taking up the whole screen.
Keep an eye out for any details you might have missed so far – double-check your store settings, and make sure the language and currency match.
Get colleagues, friends, and family to use your website. Get them to test the checkout and read through your product descriptions. Do any pages refuse to load? Is the link to your About page broken? Does one product not have a price listed?
If you can catch any minor errors before your store goes live, you’ll appear a lot more professional and trustworthy to potential buyers.
Promote Your Furniture
By now, you probably want to sit back and relax. But the work doesn’t stop once you’ve launched your online store. Don’t worry though, this is the really fun part!
Now’s the time to take to the virtual rooftops and shout about your online store for all to hear.
Ecommerce website builders know that marketing is key for growing your business and provide built-in tools to help you promote your furniture. From newsletters to social sharing, you’ve got a world of powerful marketing tools at your fingertips.
Manage Your Inventory
Congratulations, you’ve reached the tenth and final step!
People can’t stop talking about your online furniture store. The sales are flooding in, your shipping is running smoothly, and you’re having images of taking on IKEA as the next big thing. Now, you need to keep track of all your orders.
Inventory tracking is where you monitor your stock levels and keep track of which products are low stock, out of stock, or need replacing or removing.
Builderfly is the top choice for managing stock levels, as they have super powerful inventory systems to make your life easy. They make it as simple as possible, and really do a lot of the work for you.
By following these 10 simple steps, you can have your own successful online furniture store. We’ve gone into detail on each stage and suggested how the very best ecommerce website builders can help you on your journey too.
Your customers might not know it yet, but they’re waiting for you. So don’t hesitate – get building today, and you’ll be completing step 10 before you know it!