When Australians shop for big-ticket furniture items such as sofas, side tables, and shelves, their smartphones are their go-to assistants. For retailers, this creates big opportunities to be present and be useful in shoppers' intent-rich moments.

Published
February 2017
Topics

Big-ticket home furniture is often more than something to fill a room—it's a statement. And as Australians look for inspiration, narrow their choices, find the right store, and then seal the deal, they use their smartphones for ideas and information.

To understand what these moments look like, we conducted qualitative and quantitative research, exploring the role of mobile—from the moment someone first thinks about redoing the bathroom to the moment the final tile is in place.

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Here are the four key micro-moments we uncovered for Australian furniture shoppers, as well as insights into how your brand can win each moment.

1. I-need-some-ideas moments

When a shopper kicks off a new project, whether it involves finally redoing the living room or looking for a new bed, they’re in discovery mode. They want to see what's out there, so they head to search not to research mattress prices, but to look for ideas. In fact, 40% of shopping searches on Google are for broad category queries such as "bedroom furniture."1

Shoppers in these I-need-some-ideas moments are looking for inspiration. What colours are in style right now? How can I arrange the room to make the best use of light? What themes can I incorporate?

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How to win I-need-some-ideas moments

  • Be there: It's crucial for your brand to have a mobile presence at this point because 90% of smartphone users say they aren't sure of the specific brands they want to buy when they begin shopping.2
  • Showcase compelling visuals: Providing high-quality visuals can help shoppers focus their vision.
  • Provide helpful content: Many Australian shoppers save pictures of room design ideas they come across as they search. When shoppers find (and save) photos of contemporary living room layouts, for example, from a brand's blog, they're much more likely to keep your brand in mind as they come closer to purchase.

Your brand can win points right from the beginning as 49% of Australians have discovered and bought new brands they had little knowledge of prior to a smartphone search.3

2. I-want-just-the-right-thing moments

Consider a shopper on the hunt for a new sofa. While watching the nightly news, she searches for "kid-friendly sofa materials" on her smartphone. She reads a few articles that convince her to go with a leather sofa instead of fabric. This behaviour is common across Australia, with 82% of people using their smartphones at home to search online when buying home goods furnishings.3

After she knows what kind of sofa she wants, it's time for her to find the right one. She might head to a few retailer sites she’s already familiar with, and she'll also search for broad terms, such as "affordable leather sofa" or "best leather sofa."

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With so much information available to consumers, Australians conduct dozens of searches to help them find exactly the right thing. Nearly half (45%) of recent home furnishings purchasers in Australia compared choices and product features on their smartphones.4

How to win I-want-just-the-right-thing moments

  • Provide detailed information and tips about products: It's crucial for your site and any ads supporting your site to have all the information shoppers need to make choices.
  • Get in front of interested shoppers: Shopping ads help you get your product photos in front of consumers searching online for what you offer.
  • Include descriptive photos: Shoppers like to get a feel for your furniture without having to drive to your store, so include product photos from different angles and in context.
  • Turn on reviews: Featuring product reviews and user comments can increase a shopper's confidence in a product and get them ready to head to the store.

3. Where's-the-best-store moments

Big-ticket purchases may not always happen on mobile, but mobile certainly influences them. Where's-the-best-store moments are when the rubber meets the road as shoppers look for local stores that have just what they need.

Once shoppers know exactly what kind of sofas or bathroom tiles they want, they need to know where they can pick up their items without too much hassle. When people conduct local searches on their smartphones, 76% visit a business within 24 hours of the search.5 And 28% of those searches results in a purchase.5

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How to win where's-the-best-store moments

  • Have a local presence: By the time they search for locations, shoppers are ready to roll. Make sure your online business listing is updated, that you're present for local search terms such as "furniture stores near me," and that you have location extensions set up.
  • Show product availability: As much as shoppers care about optimising and finding the perfect piece, they care equally about being efficient and saving time. To drive shoppers directly to you, show product availability at your different store locations with local inventory ads.

4. This-is-the-one moments

Often when shoppers come enter your store, smartphone in hand, they know what they want—but they may also have other options in mind. In the store, they want to check how the piece looks in real life, how it feels, and whether the colour is what they expected. In Australia, 68% of smartphone shoppers have used their phones to search for information about items they were looking to buy while in a store.3

Whether you're the store the shopper is standing in or the competitor she's researching, you want to have all your ducks in a row to make it easy to choose you.

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How to win this-is-the-one moments

  • Offer a seamless mobile experience: It's crucial that mobile experiences are frictionless and have everything shoppers need to make comparisons. You can run a quick check on how mobile-friendly your site is right now with Test My Site.
  • Include detailed product specs and answers: If shoppers have questions that a sales rep can't answer, they'll go—you guessed it—to their smartphones. Even in those final moments, you'll need to be there and be useful on mobile, if only to help shoppers feel confident in their purchases when they walk out the door.
  • Provide multiple checkout and fulfillment options: When ready to buy, people want convenience and simplicity. If shoppers are looking to buy online, make it easy by allowing them to check out as guests and providing them with multiple ways to pay.

Mobile influences shoppers' choices all along the way. When you consider what furniture shoppers need at each step of the journey and provide helpful and quick experiences, your brand can influence decisions in the moment and shape consumer preferences in the long-term.

Methodology
Google partnered with TNS Australia in October 2016 to conduct qualitative research with n=30 18–54-year-olds across Australia, around how consumers research, shop for, and purchase a range of categories. This research supports a variety of other quantitative studies (sourced below) in order to gain a deep understanding of category specific micro-moments.

Sources
1 Google internal data, anonymised, aggregated searches that trigger a PLA, November 2015, U.S.
2 Google/Ipsos, "Consumers in the Micro-Moment, Wave 3," August 2015, U.S., n=1,291 online smartphone users 18+.
3 Google/Galaxy, "Consumers in the Micro-Moment," June 2015, Australia.
4 Google/TNS, "The Consumer Barometer Survey," 2014–2015, Australia, n=128 smartphone users and home furnishing recent purchasers.
5 Google/Purchased Digital Diary, "How Consumers Solve Their Needs in the Moment," May 2016, U.S., representative sample of n=1000 smartphone users, n=634 local searchers, n=1140 purchasers.