Getting started in online furniture selling
You’ve got a great eye for furniture and the start of a business idea. So where do you begin building your own online furniture enterprise? Whether you’ll specialise in timber goods, soft furnishings or home décor as you set out selling furniture, these online tips can help give you a solid start.
1. Why sell furniture online?
Entrepreneurs of every kind are selling furniture online right now, from bespoke furniture makers to commercial-scale sellers. You only need to consider how many people buy products online to see that many sellers are enjoying success. From a retro bar cart to an ultra-modern entertainment centre, there could be someone searching for it online right now.
An online furniture business offers the chance for you to choose your own hours and be the boss you’ve always wanted. It also gives you the chance to expand out far beyond your local area, including to online stores all over the world to make sales while you sleep. In fact, you could be selling couches from the comfort of yours!
2. What kinds of furniture can you sell online?
People love browsing for and buying all kinds of furniture online. Office furniture, garden furniture, kids’ furniture, floor rugs to bed frames – you name it, it’s available. Lots of customers actively seek out furniture as they move homes, redecorate and refresh their living spaces. Online shopping allows buyers to find exactly what they’re looking for, at the right price and with fast shipping so they can enjoy their new purchase sooner.
3. What’s selling well?
If you can fill an unmet need or offer something unique no one has offered before, you could increase your chances of finding success as a seller. It’s useful to conduct research before and after you begin selling. Consider:
• How much demand there is for the products you have in mind
• How competitors are listing and promoting similar products
• How interior styling and trends are changing, and how these might change over time
Selling within a particular niche can also help you to build your reputation as a furniture curator or creator. For example, one seller might focus on modular pieces, compact apartment-friendly options or sustainable furniture. So consider – which customer needs are you passionate about meeting, and in which areas do you see the most promise as a seller? The answers can help you to focus your efforts and resources effectively.
Where will you sell furniture online?
There’s a wide range of options out there when you’re looking to sell furniture online, from the ultra-local to the truly global. Showing your listings to the right buyers is one of the most important elements in making sales, but it isn’t always easy to do as a small business. If you’re looking to grow your sales, there can be real value in selling through channels that have established customers.
4. Choosing online channels
When comparing your options for online selling channels, think about which ones have high visibility and an easy setup process. Amazon makes it very simple to create your online store and share listings with customers, both here and internationally. The first step is to sign up for your Seller Central account, where you’ll find plenty of resources and guidance as you begin.Learn how to become an Amazon seller >
5. Building your online store
Think of your online store as your virtual showroom. This is where customers can explore your full furniture range, engage with your business and gather new inspiration for their home. Amazon provides simple tools you can use to create a professional online storefront for your furniture brand, complete with detail pages and furniture categories.
6. Setting up payments
If you are selling on Amazon, the great news is your customers can choose from a range of secure payment methods that are in place and ready to go. Customers have the reassurance of a reputable online store, and you have the reassurance of a smooth and safe experience for your customers as they buy your furniture online.
7. Planning shipping
Of course, a common question for soon-to-be furniture sellers is how best to manage shipping for large, heavy or oversized items. It’s worth thinking about shipping in the early stages to minimise your costs and optimise your logistics as a seller.
Firstly, consider where you’ll be storing and shipping the furniture from, be it at home, in a warehouse or in an Amazon fulfilment centre.
Secondly, consider which products you’ll be selling and their size and weight. Pieces that can be shipped in smaller, lighter or flat-packed packages can be a smart product choice.
Thirdly, consider whether it will be worth your while to ship a product yourself or use Fulfilment by Amazon. Our FBA revenue calculator
is a handy way to estimate this for specific products according to their size and weight.
Good to know: In Australia, products that are larger than 116 cm x 116 cm x 102 cm or that weigh more than 23 kg are not eligible for Fulfilment by Amazon (except for certain televisions and monitors, which have maximum dimensions of 193 cm x 122 cm x 102 cm or weight of 45 kg, and where Amazon has granted a specific exception). Vacuum-packed products that are larger than the above dimensions once unpacked (e.g. mattresses) are also prohibited from FBA For more information, go to FBA prohibited products
How to source your furniture pieces
Will you be designing furniture from scratch or working with manufacturers? Let’s walk through these options so you can explore which might be right for you.
8. Designing your own pieces
You can design your own furniture products in a number of different ways. You might design products and manufacture them yourself. Or, you might design pieces and then work with a third party of your choice to manufacture the furniture products.
Remember, clever product design could help you save time and handling costs down the track. For example, designing a collapsible fire pit could allow you to minimise costs across storage, transport and shipping costs compared to a rigid or heavy design. Portability could even be an appealing selling point for customers, as a fold-up fire pit is handy for camping!
9. Working with manufacturers
Many furniture sellers will work together with product manufacturers, either in their local area or internationally. The quality of these relationships could be vital, as they can help you maintain a steady product inventory to support regular sales. Some manufacturers may offer a discount for bulk orders, which could provide value as long as you have the storage and product demand to suit.
If you are selling under your own brand name, be sure to check out Amazon’s Brand Registry. This built-in service can help you to build and protect your brand as you sell on Amazon.
How to promote your furniture products
You’ve sourced your products – now to get them in front of your customers. As you list your products, there are some simple yet effective ways to help differentiate your products and convert shoppers into customers.
10. Writing SEO friendly product descriptions
Your product descriptions are a simple way to make your listings attractive to customers and search engines, so it’s worth spending some time getting each description right. Include helpful information like brand name, size and weight, colour options and unique features – and be as specific as possible to support search engine optimisation. Describe the perfect environment where that furniture would look right at home, and outline how someone might style it in their home. This is your chance to set the scene, so the natural next step will be to click ‘Buy Now’!
11. Taking quality photos
Detailed and accurate product photos are an absolute must for a successful furniture listing. Shoppers can get a feel for the product’s scale, dimensions, texture and style. They might look for close-ups to assess the product quality, such as the stitching or wood grain.
When selling furniture it can also be beneficial to include photos of the piece properly styled in a home setting, and in use. If a shopper can see a photo of someone sitting at that dining chair in a home similar to their own, this can help give them confidence that the chair will fit their needs and home styling. Reading about the dimensions of a furniture piece is one thing, but seeing that piece next to a door or bookshelf can provide some useful context.
12. Advertising and promotion
There’s no one-size-fits-all approach to furniture marketing, but if you’re looking to get the word out there it’s important to think about where your customers spend their time and how they search for new furniture. A well placed listing could catch the eye of someone searching in your category and make that customer’s choice simpler.
There are some golden rules for online advertising and promotion:
• Keep any branding clear and consistent
• Test out diverse marketing channels and methods, particularly early on
• Use analytics to refine your ad spend and performance
Amazon makes it easy to promote your brand, product or online store using sponsored ads. These could help you capture interest from high-intent shoppers and those who have bought similar products in the past.Advertise on Amazon >
How to price your furniture collection
What’s the perfect price for that coffee table or dressing table? This can take some thought to get right, and it’s useful to consider several factors as you develop the ideal selling price.
13. Researching your competitors’ prices
Online shoppers love finding a bargain, and assessing competitor prices regularly can help you maintain the edge if you’re offering similar products. If your product has unique features or qualities that others don’t, then you might increase your prices appropriately. As with many aspects of ecommerce, let customer demand and sales be your guide when it comes to pricing.
14. Regaining your business costs
Naturally, you’ll want to maintain healthy profit margins while delivering great value to your customers. It’s wise to estimate and track your business costs across design, manufacturing, transport, warehousing, packaging, picking, shipping and customer service so you can set your prices accordingly.
When it comes to choosing selling channels, look for those with a clear pricing structure to help you plan and optimise your return on investment.Explore pricing for Amazon sellers >
15. Considering discounts and offers
Creating promotions, coupons and deals can be a great way to attract interest from casual or repeat shoppers on Amazon. You might create offers if business is a little slower, or if you’d like to drive interest in a new product.
• Coupons are great for high-visibility offers for a smaller number of SKUs
• Deals can be helpful in attracting customer attention
• Promotions could include a discount or buy one, get one free
How to fulfil and ship your orders
Whether you’re shipping from your home garage or a professional warehouse, your customers will be keen to receive their furniture quickly and reliably. There are some easy ways to ensure you’re delivering the goods with every order.
16. Packaging furniture orders
You and your customer both deserve peace of mind that your furniture item will arrive in its best possible condition. Careful packaging will minimise bumps and damage during transit, and can therefore help to maximise your number of happy customers. Furniture legs might warrant some extra padding, while any elements incorporating glass, ceramics and delicate materials are best wrapped separately if possible.
17. Using Fulfilment by Amazon
If you’re selling smaller home décor or furniture items, you might like to outsource the storage, picking, packing and 24/7 customer service for certain products to our Fulfilment by Amazon service. This option could save you serious time as a seller, including across multiple sales channels if you choose to use Multi-Channel Fulfilment.Learn how to set up FBA >
18. Delivering customer service
As you might expect, returns may be more complex to manage when selling larger goods like furniture. You can help minimise returns by ensuring your product descriptions, return policies and product photos are crystal clear, and that you’ve packed your furniture orders well.
A great customer experience can be found when customer expectations are met and customer service is responsive, so aim to answer enquiries quickly and clearly.
And last but certainly not least – aim to continually improve your products and service based on customer feedback.
19. Acing and automating inventory management
Of course, an online furniture store with no products is no store worth visiting! Amazon offers a number of inventory management and performance tools so you can easily monitor what’s low in stock and out of stock in your inventory. Here’s where your manufacturing processes or your relationships with manufacturers can prove so valuable, as they support your ongoing sales..
20. Expanding your furniture business
So you’re making sales and shipping orders. Where to now? Regardless of where you begin, the only way to look is up. Amazon offers a range of resources to help you grow and scale your online furniture business, from webinars to our Global Selling Guide. With an adaptable mindset and a willingness to learn along the way, the sky’s the limit!.
Whether you’ll be selling furniture for the living room, dining room, bedroom, office or outdoor space, or a combination of all of these, the right research and tips can help you get off to a flying start. Read up, register for your seller account today and realise your passion!
$49.95 (excl. GST) per month + selling fees.