Storis Trend Guide addresses industry AI applications

Survey shows many retailers believe the technology can achieve marketing efficiencies, reduce costs

HIGH POINT — Storis’ latest Trend Guide offers a glimpse into how retailers plan to grow their businesses by adapting to the latest technologies including AI.

A key takeaway? The survey found that many furniture retailers are embracing AI applications that they believe will increase their marketing efficiency while also reducing bottom-line costs. For example, more than half of those surveyed are using or are planning to use Generative AI to design digital ads, write content and personalize marketing to their customers. A significant number — 43% of those surveyed — also are researching various AI applications for their businesses.

Below are some specific ways furniture retailers are using or leveraging AI in their business:

+ 59% of those surveyed are using it for ad creation

+ 54% are using it for content or product descriptions

+ 49% are using it for market personalization

+ 42% are using it for search engine optimization

+ 38% are using it for image creation

+ 32% are employing it in the area of demand forecasting

+ 16% are using it to streamline their supply chain

The report, however, also noted that generations growing up with technologies such as 3D printing and generative AI will “become accustomed to instantly creating anything they can imagine,” thus addressing consumer demand for custom furniture. This is a market that the report said will grow by a compound annual rate of 12.21% in the next four years.

“Customization reflects a shift towards customers actively participating in the design process,” the report noted. “They desire the individual expression of choosing materials, colors and styles. … Technology to facilitate accurate customizations, quick vendor communications and streamlined delivery will be paramount.”

It went on to note that “design services can be profitable as customers look to modernize and improve the function of their homes. Retail leaders like Arhaus and Ethan Allen are investing in design services and smaller footprint concept stores, increasing revenue per square foot. … The mobility of technology for access to inventory, customizable pieces and taking orders during home visits or through virtual design services makes this trend easy to facilitate from a technology standpoint.”

The survey also asked retailers what they believe the top technology focus should be this year.

+ 28% of those surveyed said e-commerce

+ 25% said API (Application Programming Interface) and web-hook automation

+ 22 said mobile point-of-sale systems housed in the cloud for use on a tablet or mobile device (the study said that Statistica projects 94.7 million mobile POS users by 2027 and transactions of more than $1.28 trillion) 

+ 16% said business intelligence

+ 11% said cybersecurity

The report also addressed other emerging technologies such as automated forecasting and the optimization of internal logistics as ways to help realize strategic investments by cutting unproductive costs.

“Retailers are focused on regional distribution centers to align goods with local sales rates and trim last-mile logistic expenses,” the report said. “Retailers can also automate on-hand inventory transfers and alternate stocking locations in their internal supply chain to maximize the efficiency of their owned assets.”

The report also referenced other key technologies including:

+ AI-powered online assistants that can help consumers narrow down their selection based on their buying criteria, thus presenting the right mix of product to the right customers.

+ The use of generative AI to create targeted and personalized ad designs. “Google Ad’s generative ad builder exemplifies this capability, enabling retailers to effortlessly contextualize product images for different design styles, catering to the diverse preferences of shoppers without incurring additional photography costs.”

+ Enhancing website features to “reinforce the appeal of online shopping. … Incorporating product enhancements like imagery, reviews, recommendations and varied fulfillment options resonates well with customers. Elevating the checkout experience is especially vital for boosting online conversion rates.”

+ The use of web hooks “will be a rising trend, enhancing the data automation of APIs. Web hooks trigger actions based on data changes, allowing retailers to construct dynamic customer experiences. This innovation eliminates the need for manual intervention, ensuring consistent customer experiences with each trigger occurrence.”

Thomas Russell

Home News Now Editor-in-Chief Thomas Russell has covered the furniture industry for 25 years at various daily and weekly consumer and trade publications. He can be reached at and at 336-508-4616.

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