We know what you’re thinking. As an online furniture brand, of course we’re going to advocate buying your furniture online. And this is true. We are biased. We started Kathy Kuo Home because, as designers, we knew the needs of our industry: easily accessible, quality high-end furniture paired with great service. What we discovered was that the solution was staring us in the face: online shopping. So today we’re sharing our thoughts on why you should buy furniture online and why it is the future of our industry.
So, why should you be buying furniture online?
1. Because You Can Do It In Your Pajamas
Nothing beats the glory of shopping in your sweatpants. In fact, a 2015 survey by Continuum revealed (unsurprisingly) that convenience was the number one reason why people shop online. Whether you’re a designer or a customer with work, kids, errands, and more—you’re busy. You want a beautiful home, but you simply don’t have time to deal with shopping around for furniture. This is why we have carefully curated our site to bring you the product selection you need for an impeccably designed home—all accessible without the annoyance of long lines, limited hours, or having to travel to shop. At KKH, you can easily filter and search for the exact items you’re looking for, or you can even reach out to our Design Bar, and we can help design your home for you.
For our trade members, we travel to trade shows and flea markets around the globe so that you don’t have to. Our meticulous vetting process allows you the convenience of knowing you’re always getting the best of the the best (no composite woods, no flame retardants, responsible harvesting of solid wood, etc.). And for customers who just love great design, we conveniently provide access to thousands of exclusive designer pieces—without requiring you to have your own design business or to fulfill order minimums that most of our manufacturers demand.
2. Because You Get Service, Not a Sale’s Pitch
A new study published in Forbes magazine states that, “the [brick and mortar’s] competitive issue with online retailers isn’t pricing. It’s a fulfillment and service battle.” You’ll always get an answer if you call or email in to KKH, but honestly, our responsiveness is just the first step we take when it comes to service. What was truly missing in our industry was a reliable resource where trained designers and product experts could actually answer your questions and meet your design needs from purchase to delivery.
“In most furniture stores, “design consultant” is just a fancy word for a salesperson.”
In most furniture stores, “design consultant” is just a fancy word for a salesperson. Sales teams earn both a salary and commission, sometimes 10% or more, and many stores require their sales associates to meet a minimum dollar amount before they can even earn their commission. What is the result? You end up on the receiving end of an aggressive sales pitch claiming that the sofa you’ve been eyeing is “almost sold out” or “won’t go on sale again.” If you think you won’t fall prey to compulsive shopping decisions, the research says otherwise. In a 2014 study conducted by retail strategy firm WD Partners, 80% of people who buy in person end up doing so for instant gratification, and online shoppers are 33% less likely to experience buyer’s remorse. Surprising, right?
“Online shoppers are 33% less likely to experience buyer’s remorse than shoppers who buy in-store.”
Now for that new lip gloss you’ve been meaning to try, we can stand behind an impromptu purchase. But when designing your home, we believe in carefully choosing furniture that’ll elevate your manner of living. Unlike most furniture stores, our design specialists are all in-house, they’re not commission-based, and they’re actually specialists. They keenly understand the pain points of our community and the difficulties that come along with buying furniture online. More often than not, the issues people need help with the most relate to delivery, install, pricing, project management, and client management—all of the unsexy topics of which we happen to be the experts. Of course we want you to shop Kathy Kuo Home, but our motivation to sell is not to get rid of an overstocked sofa or to make a commission. Our motivation is you and the beautiful home you wish to create.
3. Because You’re Design Savvy and Can Create Your Own Style
Count every furniture retailer you know. Did you have to use more than two hands? And how many of those retailers are owned by Williams-Sonoma, Inc.? This brings us to the third reason to buy furniture online at KKH: we weren’t okay with the product selection being offered to the design community. It was almost impossible to find (let alone purchase) quality designer furniture. Everyone we knew all had the same pieces—these “living room sets” they bought from big box retailers. We wanted more. We wanted homes with personality that felt true to our clients.
“We weren’t okay with the product selection being offered to the design community.”
Even though we don’t carry full catalogs and are highly selective with the pieces we carry, we are not a tiny boutique. We curate our selections in a highly shop-able way so that there are plenty of options (over 15,000 skus!) for all kinds of designers and clients. Just explore our Lookbooks and see for yourself! We believe that the different collections and looks we’ve curated speak to the several design styles we adore, but we also choose pieces that speak to one another and can be layered together across styles in a cohesive way. In short: Goodbye, boring living room sets.
Online Shopping Is the Future of Interior Design
With online shopping making up less than 10% of total retail sales in the US, it may seem bold to declare the online world as the future of interior design. But while there will always be stronger physical markets for categories like food, cars, and gasoline, the online market is undeniably on the rise for categories like apparel and home goods. In fact, according to a 2016 study conducted by The Guardian, online sales for home goods has grown 17% just this past year, and overall online sales are expected to reach over 500 billion by 2020.
Numbers aside, we believe in shopping online because we believe in bringing technology and convenience to the interior designer. The furniture industry is grounded in tradition—stemming from craftsman and artisan culture. But the modern world is online. How then do we bring beautiful, well-crafted furniture to the world of online shopping? This was the idea that sparked Kathy Kuo Home, and it’s an idea we still hold dear as we continue to grow and launch our Design Bar services this summer.
What do you make of these changes in the interior design world? How can we help service you better? Let us know in the comment section below.