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How a Perfect Mess Appeals to Home Furnishing Customers

If you’ve recently thumbed through the latest catalogs from Crate & Barrel or Pottery Barn, you may have noticed that the design inspirations for bedrooms or living rooms look more “lived-in” instead of perfectly decorated.
While there’s a certain allure to seeing beautifully designed spaces with every detail perfected, most of us cannot sustain this level of perfection in our daily lives. We haphazardly set things down on the coffee table and likely don’t walk away from the couch with accent pillows propped up neatly.
So why are some of the biggest home-furnishing retailers taking the time to design and feature ‘perfectly messy’ living spaces in their catalogs? According to a recent article from The Wall Street Journal, a Pottery Barn executive said, “Being too perfect is a detractor.” 
Retailers in this space want to help customers see what their products truly look like in their homes on a daily basis. “Aspirational but attainable” is the trending philosophy for many home-furnishing companies.
Additionally, merchandisers are taking it a step further to design products that have greater appeal to the lifestyles of ‘millennials’ and ‘boomers.’ With collections that offer smaller pieces at more affordable prices, they are suiting the needs of young adults furnishing their first (and often tiny) apartments and empty nesters who are downsizing and relocating to smaller, urban spaces.
See more examples on Pottery Barn’s new small, space and big style designs.
Another growing trend among these companies is tapping into technology (augmented reality) and user-generated content that help customers envision what products will actually look like in their homes. You’re seeing this from both traditional and pure-play eCommerce retailers in this industry.
For example, I’m in the market for an area rug to go in my new dining room. I’ve recently researched a number of sites – from big box retailers that offer home goods & furnishings (Target) to specialized home-goods retailers (West Elm, Crate & Barrel). While part of my motivation has been to take advantage of the great sales going on right now, what won me over was the ability to see options in my living space.
The Wayfair app lets you do this for select items (but not all) by accessing your camera and overlaying the item in the space. Pretty cool feature for an online retailer.
The other selling point while researching my purchase was looking at photos posted by customers who purchased the rug. It allowed me to view the item in real-life (without the perfect studio lighting) while allowing me to find similarities between the spaces of other customers (flooring, wall color, etc.)
Home furnishing retailers know it is imperative to up their game when it comes to eCommerce. Learn how one of our clients, Jordan’s Furniture, made great strides to improve the online and offline shopping experience for customers by integrating its product catalog, website search, and eCommerce capabilities.
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Stephanie Gallina, Senior Manager, Microsoft + CXC Partner Marketing

Stephanie has more than 15 years' experience in marketing communications, leading and executing marketing strategies for corporate and non-profit organizations. She elevates the awareness of relevant digital solution topics and thought leadership for Perficient.

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