Retailers are closely watching social media for customer requests, with a major chain massively increasing its home items range in response.
Kmart introduced 120 new furniture and homewares products to its online-only range this week after overwhelming feedback from customers wanting more budget-priced items to deck out their abodes.
Kmart home division buyer Nic Holmes said the chain tested out some online exclusives last year and after big uptake has added what customers want more of: TV cabinets, buffets and larger furniture, such as beds, bedheads and mattresses plus sofas priced from $199.
That comes on top of expanding its New Living collection each year.
“We’re trying to offer our customers everything in their home that they would need, so of course we have beautiful things like cushions, rugs, throws and small pieces of furniture but now we offer that extended aisle,” Mr Holmes told NCA NewsWire.
“It’s the full home now.”
Customers cannot get enough occasional chairs, he added.
The online exclusives also include fitness and nursery items.
“We’re listening to our customers: they’re telling us what they want more of through social media. We have our community of Kmart customers we talk to and they’ve been telling us things like bigger pieces of furniture, larger sized rugs.
“They’ve been telling us they wanted it for a while so the online-only has finally given us the opportunity to do that.”
Mr Holmes said customers were finding they could spend little on an “easy update” to their homes with simple items such as new table linen, candles and layering to add “a touch of luxury”.
“I think there’s a real brag now about how little you’ve spent on something … and I think that’s something to be really proud of now.”
Customers were using something as small as a napkin to try different colour schemes and olive green was all the rage, he said.
“We’ve all had a time of lockdown or isolation, spending more time at home so we’ve really sat and assessed our spaces, and thought, ‘How can I make this feel a little bit more special to me, a little bit more personal?’,” Mr Holmes said.
“We may not have dressed our table with linen before but we just want our homes to feel a little bit special.
“Those kind of items have taken a spike for us.”
The online exclusives home range was only going to get bigger, he said.
“One of our plans is to take our learnings from this range and apply it.
“We’re looking for customer feedback, we’re looking for what they’re telling us on Instagram and social media. We really listen to that to learn what we can do next.
“We all read the comments, see how people style their home.”