In the last 5 years, there is a surprising growth in the number of people who are working on home decor business ideas. So before we discuss the steps that are needed to start a home decor business, let us first begin with sharing some industry facts and figures about home decor market that can help you in strategizing your business accordingly and understanding the home decor market in a better way.
A report on world Home decor market has highlighted that the world home décor market is expected to garner $664.0 billion and is likely to grow at a CAGR of 4.2% during the forecast period 2015-2020. This growth in the home décor market has been substantiated by expansion and further developments in the real estate industry. Another online home decor market 2016 report has mentioned that in 2015, the global online home furniture market and global online home furnishings market combined were worth $39.9 billion. The overall global furnishings market forecast was expected to grow at a CAGR of 8.87% in the next 5 years.
The floor covering segment occupied the largest market share in 2014, followed by furniture. In 2014, world home decor market was dominated by Asia-Pacific region and the region is expected to register the fastest CAGR during the forecast period. The report highlights that Asia-Pacific is today the leading market, occupying around 31% of the market share followed by Europe.
Seeing the increasing growth prospects of the home decor market in India and globally, we present to our readers, a comprehensive step by step insight into starting a successful home décor business. We have bifurcated the home decor market into offline and online players in order to provide better clarity to all our readers. You can also read our article on ‘Steps to start a business’ that can give you a more generic insight about founder’s agreement, raising initial capital, team building etc in order to start a successful business.
Offline Home Decor Business
The offline home décor market, popularly known as the brick and mortar retail concept, though becoming financially unviable due to high real estate costs, they are gradually increasing their listings on e-commerce sites in order to thrive in today’s market. To start offline home decor business you should atleast have a budget of Rs 15-25lakhs. In this section, we are going to discuss some steps to start an offline home decor business so that you can run your business successfully.
Contract with Manufacturers
Tie-ups with manufacturers who are adept in manufacturing specific home decor product lines is essential. Factors like proximity to showrooms, quality and pricing need to be considered while choosing the right manufacturers. For instance, in New Delhi, Ghittorni is a popular neighborhood that is known for various home decor showrooms so it is important that these retail stores should have manufacturing units nearby to ease the process of logistics. Likewise, for a home decor showroom in the upmarket of West London should have manufacturers in the nearby areas of Stratford, Aldgate etc.
Also, consumer preferences and personal choices of people staying nearby should be taken into account, like in the earlier case, nearby areas like Vasant Kunj and Munirka.
Showroom at Good Location
Since home décor retail showrooms cater to a large number of walk-in clients on a daily basis, it is important to take care of various essential facilities in the interest of these customers. These facilities might include optimum parking space, spic and span showroom space, a welcoming ambiance and so on. Also, the showroom and warehouse space should be kept separate to avoid any hassle to customers.
For any brick and mortar store concept, their employees are the face of any brand and determine to a great extent the preferences and comfort of customers when they walk into the stores. And so, it is important that the staff should be courteous and inculcated with great customer service skills. Small additions like serving clean drinking water to customers and uniforms for the staff (if applicable) lead to a significant impact on the overall well-being of any organization.
Eye on Competitors’ Product
For any home decor business to survive, it is extremely crucial to be aware of what products the competitors are offering and at what price. Not only does it help you in setting the prices of your own products, but it also saves you from any chances of customers tricking you to negotiate the prices of your products citing the examples of the competitors’.
For retail stores that are located at a particular location but the shipment needs to be delivered to a region across the state borders, it is important to consider the interstate tax margins and reflect the same on the bill while presenting it to the customers.
In home décor business, profit margins are huge. These are the kind of businesses where one should always keep their profit margins at least 20-25%. However, these businesses also incur great losses along with great sales. Factors like fire, termite, expansion, and shrinkage of wood due to moisture content etc. are some of the major problems that incur significant losses in this business.
Furthermore, delay in payment is quite common in these type of businesses so, in order for a business to thrive and flourish, it is important to set good profit margins. Pricing needs to be set at a level that guarantees huge profit margins on your products. Don’t just drop the rates to beat the competition. Instead, beat the competition with good business strategies and high-quality offerings.
Home Delivery and Return
To facilitate the home delivery process, there needs to be a delivery vehicle available at all times. In some cases, the delivery timing (let say after 5 pm daily) should be set and communicated to all the clients. Factors like toll charges, delivery charges etc. should be taken into consideration while facilitating the home delivery process. In case your delivery team is responsible for wear and tear of any delivery consignment, it should be your responsibility to make a replacement. Doing this will impact your business on the downside in the beginning but in the long run, it is your customers who will matter the most and if they are happy with your after sales services, there are greater chances of positive word of mouth and references that can bring in more customers for you.
Local marketing is the next step that needs to be done keeping in mind the budget that can be allocated to promote your brand. Mediums like local newspaper ads, radio, pamphlets, and yellow pages can be considered by retail stores to spread the word about their brand and the offerings.
Selling on Various Portals
In the age of digitization, selling offline is just not enough. Retailers have started to expand their horizons and started selling on popular portals like Amazon and Pepperfry that specialize in home decor and furniture. Striking deals with such online brands can be an icing on the cake and help your business to thrive and flourish.
Cracking Commercial Deals
At last, a high-profit margin can be ensured by cracking some major deals with hotel chains or with a real estate giant. After all, it is important to catch a shark too for a business to sustain itself. Get in contact with real estate owners while they are working on a new project and show them your products. Offer good deals to them. In these cases, you can lower your profit margins because these people don’t just buy 1 or 2 pieces. If all goes well, you might land yourself a huge contract of a complete tower or the entire project that can include over 500 to 1000 products depending on what products you are pitching them.
Online Home Décor Business
Home décor industry is undergoing a transition into online platform wherein a large number of innovative startups are leading the way. A report highlights the growth rate of online home decor market at a CAGR of 19.45% during the period 2016-2020. Owing to an all-time availability of a wide range of home décor products at affordable prices, the online home decor market is on a rise. To start online home decor business you should alteast have a budget of Rs10lakhs and that’s the minimum value where you are able to find some unique products which are not available other websites. If you are trying to sell random products then you won’t survive with this budget as there are many big companies which are investing a lot of money on advertisement to sell their products. Now let us discuss steps to start an online home décor business successfully.
Contracts with Local Manufacturers
In an online home decor business, tie-ups with local manufacturers is essential. For example, consider a home decor business that is operating from New Delhi. Let us now assume that a customer, based in Hyderabad, wants to place an order on the website. So, for that, the home décor brand should have contracts with local manufacturers in Hyderabad so that the shipment can be delivered from that local destination. Alternatively, there can be another business model in which there are local warehouses in different cities and once the order is placed from a different city, let us say Mumbai, the logistics team deployed in Mumbai is responsible for the delivery of the shipment from the warehouse in that city to the end user. So, it is important to look for local manufacturers to ensure timely delivery and execution.
Since local manufacturers are involved and products are shipped from the regional warehouse directly to the consumers, quality issue is quite common in online businesses. And for this, deploying local quality control team is a must to make sure that the best quality products are being sent to the consumers without the risk of tarnishing the reputation of the online home décor brand. Additionally, hire a team that can make calls within 24 hours of delivery to each and every client after the product has been delivered. Doing this will help in gaining their trust for future deals and also to give references to other clients. This also helps in keeping your product quality under check.
Website Building and Development
For an online home décor brand, a visually enticing website is at the forefront to showcase the best of the products online. The added advantage is the product description along with specifications that allow customers to know about the product in and out. For big products like bed, modular kitchen etc., you can make videos and show them on your website that can showcase the utility and features of the product from all possible angles. Additionally, product categories should be clearly highlighted to allow ease with which customers can browse through all the products. Also, since new products are being added on a regular basis, it is important to have a web development team at all times to keep the site up to date.
In some scenarios, customers are also enticed seeing the testimonial section on the website that highlights the classic features of the brand, right from the customers’ mouth. If possible, put video testimonial taken at clients’ house and add them on your website. This will bring more impact and help in converting prospect customers in a much better way. This brings in a whole lot of credibility into a brand and results in wider traffic on to your website. Usually, website owners make mistakes of hiring a less qualified team of web development to aid in cost cutting but avoid doing that for your business. A good website is the face of your brand in an online home decor business so don’t take such a big risk.
Delivery, Return and Replace
Once a customer has made a viable purchase, it is important to facilitate optimum delivery to make sure that the shipment reaches the end user within the specified time frame. Sign contracts with local logistics companies for each city in which you are operating that can guarantee delivery without any wear and tear.
Additionally, ‘Return’ and ‘Replace’ options should also be provided in case customers wish to exchange or cancel their shipment. These processes should ideally not take more than 2 to 3 clicks to ensure convenience to the customers once they click on these options on your website.
Once the order has been shipped to the required destination, the work is not over yet. For an online home décor brand, especially for products like moving shelf, chimney hob etc., it is important to employ an installation team that, after delivery, installs the product at the customers’ location to facilitate ease and convenience to customers. Adequate training should also be provided to the installation team so that they are skilled in doing their tasks. Perfect assembly is what customers look for, while they make any online purchase on a website.
Also, it is important to set the most suitable profit margins on all your products to make sure that you do not run the risk of losing your customers to your competitors. Usually, in an online business, people have the tendency to shop online during their free time and so, they are more likely to look for other websites as well for that particular product. They are more likely to check various e-commerce sites and individual home decor websites to compare prices. Even though it is not always possible to give the best deals, but you can do 1 thing. You can sell those designs which are exclusively available on your website so that the customers are left with no choice other than to buy those products from you. Doing this ensures profitability of your business and helps it to thrive in the stiff market.
Selling to E-commerce Sites
Online home decor brands can also consider selling their products in bulk to various established e-commerce giants like Amazon, Alibaba, Flipkart etc. The advantage is that your brand gets recognition on their website, and in turn, to a wider audience. Additionally, these sites are not your competitors so selling on these sites is a feasible option.
Tie-ups with Bloggers
This is a relatively new trend that is taking shape in the online selling space and is being employed by several leading home décor brands as well. As an online brand, you can consider contacting bloggers to come and visit your store and observe every product physically. These bloggers can then write about your brand, products, and quality in their own words and publish on various sites.
One factor that should be taken into consideration is that these bloggers should have a massive following so that when they write about your brand, their words should reach a wide audience and your brand gets a huge recognition. You can pay them their dues as per the industry standards since they are taking out time to visit your facility and writing about your products. Also, you can ask them to regularly share customers’ feedback on their post so that you can improve your products and can make strategies accordingly. You can also give them affiliate links so that they are willing to work with you.
Marketing and Branding
At last, it is important to employ effective marketing and branding strategies to ensure that your brand reaches to a wider target audience. You can consider to promote your brand on various social media platforms like Facebook and Instagram or also on print media, radio and TV ads, keeping in mind your company’s budget and target audience.