The Rise of DTC Furniture Brands: What Traditional and Contract Manufacturers Can Learn

February 16, 2024
2 min
Laura Fernandez

Just a few years ago, not many furniture manufacturers believed that online sales would be a strong source of revenue. Yet here we are. So what exactly are furniture and design DTC brands doing right, and what can established manufacturers learn from their success?

By now it has become evident to almost anyone that the furniture, lighting, and design industry has experienced a tectonic shift driven by the meteoric rise of direct-to-consumer (DTC) brands. These relatively newcomers challenge the status quo with innovative models, capturing a growing share of customers, both consumer and trade. 

  • Customer-Centricity: furniture and design DTC brands put the end customer at the heart of everything they do. They make it easy to contact them, ask questions, get trade discounts, buy, get order updates, etc. They leverage data to understand buyer needs and offer personalized recommendations.
  • Agility and Innovation: furniture and design DTC brands are nimble and quick to adapt to changing trends. Instead of launching collections once a year, they follow a promotional calendar and create a constant stream of newness. They iterate quickly based on customer feedback.
  • Targeted Marketing and Social Proof: these DTC brands leverage digital marketing channels to drive specific actions, whether it’s purchases, leads, of physical store traffic. They engage customers through social media, partnerships, and targeted ads. They build trust through user-generated content and customer testimonials.

If your company isn’t part of the digital-first club, it doesn’t mean that you can’t capitalize on these same practices, which apply to both end consumers and trade professionals.

Architects and designers are not that different from end consumers. Trade professionals have embraced the convenience of online research, expecting the same level of on-demand information access in their professional lives as they do in their personal lives. They research products online, find manufacturers through digital channels, and expect timely responses to their needs. They rely on online reviews and comparison tools, and hop between websites to find the perfect product (and price). 

The message for traditional brands is clear: prioritize a seamless experience, from your ads and website to the post-purchase service and beyond. Companies that do this will attract and retain customers in this new reality.

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