Being in the Home Furnishings side of ecommerce, it’s amazing to see the link between home décor and the fashion industry. With the explosion of social media and visual social media in particular, for example Pinterest, Instagram and Tumblr, it can be extremely overwhelming to keep up top of what’s up to date, and with such an array of websites, blogs, magazines etc. dedicated to trends and inspirations for the home, if you’re working in the home decor industry and you’re not trend conscious, it’s so easy to get left behind. As if it wasn’t bad enough trying to keep on top my wardrobe essentials!
In my spare time, I’ve been trying to sift through some of the websites and blogs that I come across and signing up to newsletters, where I receive emails of the latest fashion for the home, what colours/prints are in season and other quirky tips. I really love Houzz.com’s site and their emails are even better because they give you a nice, condensed summary of the weeks trends, all in a well laid out email, it’s a great way to keep track of what’s hot in the US market and what US customers are buying. Houzz’s success as the leading US ecommerce home ware site has allowed them to expand internationally with the launch of the UK version of their site this year. Of course, the UK site has far fewer products but the range is growing by the day and it’s a real idea of how big an impact the US market has on other markets. Another example of a hugely successful US company is Wayfair.com and its brands which include Joss and Main and All Modern.com. Wayfair have been massively successful in developing their brand name internationally, having Wayfair sites for the UK, Germany and Australia. I only realised the size of their brand when I subscribed to Joss and Main, another favourite home decor site of mine and noticed that they have launched a UK version of the site this month and will also be launching the French site this Autumn.
Their beautifully designed emails are all about the visual aspect of email marketing and they put a lot of focus on shopping in trends. Here’s an example below of how they create a really pleasant online shopping experience, and all in just one email – it makes me want to start redecorating straight away!
There are also a few French sites that I’ve found that follow this type of marketing strategy, for example deco.fr, which is almost like the French version of Houzz.com from what I can gather – it’s so interesting to see how ecommerce really goes hand in hand with all the different aspects of digital marketing that we see on a daily basis, but that I would have very rarely noticed until now.
From looking a lot at the different material, in particular from US web sites I’ve noticed how different styles are slowly creeping into the UK and other EU markets and along with our purchasing department we’ve been flagging up styles that are overlapping between the UK, the US and Europe and it’s definitely sparked some great ideas for when the international website is up and running in terms of finding different marketing strategies and what to focus on for different markets. It’s not only useful however, for discovering similarities between the industry in each country but also for spotting the differences that we need to be aware of and bearing these in mind when making decisions. I think that looking at your products as if you are a prospective customer is a great way of stepping back and seeing what you really have to offer customers and what you’re missing. Looking at ways in which other international companies are selling their products is very exciting and will hopefully help me to apply this knowledge to each of our target markets when the time comes. I’m very excited about working with our marketing department on the new website and learning as much as I can. I’ll definitely be keeping you updated on my progress and any new findings that come my way.
If anyone who is also starting out in international ecommerce has any questions for me or would like some advice, I can’t guarantee that I’ll have the answer but I’ll certainly do my best to help, or indeed if anyone has any advice that they would like to share with me, please feel free to get in touch by tweeting @OpentoExport with the hashtag #LornasBlog.
If anyone would like to know more about The Rug House, please feel free to visit the website at www.therughouse.co.uk.