Whether you’re launching or growing a home decor business, you’ll find plenty of competition — but also plenty of opportunity, if you play your cards right.

In the United States, the home decor market was valued at $672.2 billion in 2022, and forecasted to grow to $949 billion by 2032.

Sure, plenty of that revenue is going to the big guys like IKEA, West Elm, and Crate & Barrel — but many customers are hungry for home decor that doesn’t look like everything else they see in the showroom. That’s where independent boutiques and online stores can stand out, by offering artisanal designs and high-quality, handcrafted products with a story behind them.

If your store focuses solely on ecommerce, you’ll lose out on the chance for customers to browse your wares in a showroom — but you’ll also benefit from the cost savings of bringing your products directly to your customers through a low-overhead DTC model.

Here are some ideas for leveling up your ecommerce home decor business and building a path to sustainable growth and profitability:

Focus on the eco-angle behind your brand.

Today’s shoppers prioritize sustainable and organic materials, and if your brand can deliver a compelling environmental sustainability message, they’ll be eager to explore your wares. Take notes from brands like Brightly, which offers a broad range of eco-friendly products for the home, plus a robust customer education section, where shoppers can learn more about recycling, green cleaning, non-toxic materials, and other important topics. By helping customers learn more about why they should care, they’ll be motivated to spend more on products that resonate with their values.

Use AR tools to showcase your home decor in your customers’ spaces.

Modern brands are making use of AR and VR solutions that bring their product images to life by displaying them in their customers’ own homes. IKEA was an early player in this space, launching IKEA Place in 2017 — a mobile app that enabled customers to visualize IKEA furniture and home decor in their own spaces, so they could determine whether the products fit, both space-wise and with their existing aesthetic.

Virtual showrooms provide another opportunity to give your customers an immersive picture of your products. With virtual showrooms, you can curate an entire themed collection of your products in one virtual display, and customers are free to move around the “room” to get a closer look at each object. It provides a compelling alternative to an in-person showroom, giving your brand the chance to spotlight its offerings in a unique way.

Draw customers in through livestreaming events.

Engage your customers with virtual live events, hosted by your brand’s team and/or sponsored influencers, where they can talk about your products knowledgeably and answer shopper questions in real-time. Saks Fifth Avenue, for instance, offers a variety of high-quality livestream productions that shoppers can watch both in real-time and on the website archive, featuring videos about hosting and table-setting tips, spring decorating, summer entertaining, and more. You can host your livestream events on your own platform, or stream them to Instagram, Facebook, YouTube, or other social media platforms where they may have the opportunity to reach a larger audience.

Leverage UGC and influencer content to show different approaches to styling your products.

The versatility of home decor really shines when you give your customers and influencer partners the chance to spotlight how your products look in their own spaces. Use social media platforms like Instagram and TikTok to invite content creators to share photographs and video content that includes your brand’s products, and showcase it on your own social feeds or branded properties. You can also encourage customers to publish detailed reviews of the home decor items they’ve purchased, complete with photos of how the products look in their homes and what furniture and complementary products they styled them with.

Generate curated product recommendations to help customers find new items they’ll love.

When it comes to home decor, each shopper has their own personal style — and the better you are at predicting what they’ll like, the more likely they are to convert.

Use personalized recommendation tools to analyze which products shoppers who looked at a certain product also browsed or bought. You can also encourage shoppers to fill out customer profiles, so that you can get a better sense of their lifestyles and home decor needs — do they live in an active household with small kids and pets and require items that can be cleaned up easily, or are they modern, minimalism DINKs who aren’t afraid to splurge on nice things?

By learning more about who your customers are, and tracking and responding to their interactions with your brand, you can create customized shopping journeys, curated style guides and promotions that will help them find the products they’ll love.

Build a best-in-class returns policy that encourages shoppers to try again if they don’t love their first choice.

It’s not always easy to make the right choice the first time around when it comes to home decor. Colors and fabrics may look different in photos than they do in person, and the throw blanket that looked gorgeous online may not mesh as well with your leather couch as you’d hoped. Rather than forcing your shoppers to live with their buyer’s remorse, encourage them to try again, by offering a generous and flexible returns policy that prioritizes exchanges over refunds.

Using Loop’s returns management platform, you can find out why the buyer is returning a certain item, and then deliver relevant recommendations for replacement products that they’ll like better — whether it’s the same product in a different size, color, or fabric, or a different item altogether. Loop pulls from real-time inventory to offer spot-on suggestions, helping customers avoid the disappointment of choosing out-of-stock items. 

By helping shoppers make instant exchanges and find the perfect home decor products for their specific needs, you’ll be able to boost customer retention and loyalty, preserving revenue that could otherwise be lost to a return. And, through collecting data associated with customer returns and exchanges, you’ll gain valuable insights around your shoppers’ purchasing behavior that will help your brand optimize your marketing strategies and operations. 

The home decor industry has plenty of room for upstart brands to take a piece of the pie. Pay close attention to your profit margins and make sure that you understand your COGS, so you have a good idea of how much revenue you stand to bring in and can optimize your strategy on the fly. By leveraging technology and designing a customer experience that your shoppers will love, your brand will be primed to become a key player in the space.

Want to learn how Loop can help you optimize your returns experience?