Flipkart is going offline with its furniture retail category as the company wants to open a FurniSure Experience Centre in Bengaluru. According to Flipkart, customers are more into trying the furniture which they want to buy, first, and so they have decided to create an experience for the buyers by deciding to open a Flipkart offline shopping store.
However, this does not mean that Flipkart will follow the traditional offline shops' methods. Flipkart is working with Google to bring the augmented reality app, Google Lens into its FurniSure Experience Centres. With the help of the Google Lens, the potential buyers who walk into their store find out all about a product by using a smartphone with a Google Lens support.
In order to do so, the visitor needs to scan an icon for the product at the experience center which will take them to the product’s listing on Flipkart where they can fully check out its features, and compare with other items, and find similar items. It is not clear yet if it will be possible to purchase the furniture through the app without having to check out through the store.
For eCommerce, the future appears to be a seamless integration of both online and offline purchases, a balanced equation between the two. These kinds of commercial sales are called Hybrid or omnichannel sales, and it is believed that it will be the biggest thing in the future. Flipkart’s investment in opening an offline shop stands testimony to that statement or at least, it says that Flipkart has faith in the prediction.
Flipkart also needs to look into the renting furniture business in India. The overall furniture market in India is estimated to generate between $15 billion to $24 billion annually. The organized segment is around 8%-10% and, out of which around 15% is online.
Amazon, however, believes that there will be a shift in consumer buying behavior for online furniture shopping. In early July, Amazon had announced that it would be expanding its network of specialized Delivery Stations and Fulfilment Centres (FCs) for furniture and large appliances, with new centers in Guwahati and Patna, and more storage capacity added in Delhi, Kolkata, Bangalore, and Ludhiana.