The Crystal Ball of Data

[vc_row css_animation=”” row_type=”row” use_row_as_full_screen_section=”no” type=”full_width” angled_section=”no” text_align=”left” background_image_as_pattern=”without_pattern”][vc_column][vc_column_text]In the opening scenes of The Wizard of Oz, Dorothy runs away from her Kansas home and promptly encounters Professor Marvel, a seedy, itinerant con artist whose tacky traveling wagon advertises him as “Acclaimed by The Crown Heads of Europe,” and offers his services to “Read Your Past, Present, and Future in His Crystal Ball.”

 

Professor Marvel, played marvelously by Frank Morgan, takes one look at the naive girl, glances down at her suitcase and says, “You’re running away!”

 

Having missed his glance, Dorothy asks wondrously, “How did you guess?”

 

The Professor replies, “Now, why are you running away? No, no, don’t tell me!” He looks off pensively, as if conjuring some magical power and then, as if having divined a vision, says conclusively, “They don’t understand you at home!”

 

The wide-eyed girl smiles and says, “Why it’s just like you could read what was inside me!”

 

The Professor then offers Dorothy a crystal ball reading and asks her to close her eyes and concentrate. As she does, the Professor quickly rummages around in her basket. He then proceeds to describe what he pretends to see in the crystal ball, referencing the items in the basket.

 

Clearly, Professor Marvel is a charlatan, but there is a positive lesson to be learned from his trickery. He was able to connect with Dorothy and establish her trust by referencing relevant facts about her.

 

The lesson: apartment property managers can connect with their market by observing their prospects and residents’ behavior.

 

With no sleight of hand or trickery involved, prospect data collected on a multifamily property website can reveal personal insights on what lifestyle factors drive that renter’s decisions and what’s most important to them when choosing an apartment. Leveraging this kind of in-depth online data also helps management teams forecast future market changes and predict which types of renters are most likely to sign a lease at that property.

 

“If companies were to really dig into the online data and use it to the fullest extent—which, from our experience at this point, most properties don’t do or just rely on us to do it for them—the data is actually quite helpful,” says Bob Romine, owner of R.C. Romine & Associates in Chicago, who primarily provides marketing and advertising services to multifamily properties.

 

“If you track the consumer journey, each little piece gives you more information about the customer and where they’re at in their thinking,” Romine says. “Because you have gathered those clues, you’re able to say, ‘OK, here’s when they might move; here’s the kind of apartment they are looking for; here are some of the things in the area they would like to experience as part of their home neighborhood.’”

 

Gaze into your own crystal ball when a prospect comes in for a tour or when you follow up on a promising lead by collecting this kind of detailed information from website visitors as they research apartments online. More lead data grants your leasing team the superhuman power to conjure up the perfect place for the renter to call home and create an instant connection with them.[/vc_column_text][vc_empty_space][vc_single_image image=”29445″ img_size=”full” alignment=”center” qode_css_animation=””][vc_empty_space][vc_column_text]

Which apartment amenities matter most to your renters?

If a property website acts like a glorified online catalog, only collecting a prospect’s name and contact information from those who fill out the guest card, a property management company misses out on a wealth of lead data opportunities. Consider it the kryptonite to your website’s potential to be your no. 1 leasing tool and to capture more quality online leads.

 

Advanced technologies like artificial intelligence and AI-driven marketing clouds make it possible for multifamily property companies to add interactive experiences on an existing property website. The AI technology collects a consumer’s personal information as they engage with the online tools and shopping resources customized to showcase that property, while also helping to guide consumers along in the leasing process.

 

“Our website analytics and online experiences provide us with that data to help us understand trends of what’s important to our renters,” says Jenny Richard, Director of Marketing at Gene B. Glick Company, a multifamily rental property company in 13 states. “We believe our customers choose their home based on their lifestyle desires. Capturing this information allows our leasing team to receive information about what’s important to each prospective renter, which allows them to build relationships.”

 

Glick property managers can easily see what lifestyle factors a renter prioritizes when finding an apartment, whether it’s a convenient work commute or social interactions with neighbors, by looking at the answers the prospect provides online. When they engage with the “Explore the Area” experience and various other tools available on the property websites, like the floorplan assessment or pre-qualify application, renters divulge important information about themselves.

 

“The data we receive through the PERQ online experiences allows us to make better decisions about the future,” Richard says. “Collecting what amenities are important from one property to another, where they like to spend time outside the community, understanding our customer’s journey and how far in advance of their move date they are looking at apartments are some examples of what we focus on.”

 

Atlanta-based The Worthing Companies, which manages apartment communities throughout Georgia, Texas and North Carolina, also uses PERQ’s AI-powered Website Conversion Software to capture more online leads and prospect data. Online leads increased by 813 percent in the first six months of adding the interactive AI experiences to their property websites, delivering their leasing teams with infinitely more information about each prospect than a static guest card form.

 

“We have found that the questions asked during the process helps us tremendously in centering on the prospects’ likes in reference to social activities,” says Trent Jones, Regional Marketing & Training Director at TWC. “This gives us a great opportunity to cross-market with restaurants, shopping, outdoor activities, etc.

 

“We have one property where 60 percent of the prospects clicked restaurants as a top priority, so this gives us the knowledge to do a perks program for discounts with nearby restaurants and even host events at different restaurants for the residents.”[/vc_column_text][vc_empty_space][vc_single_image image=”31089″ img_size=”full” alignment=”center” qode_css_animation=””][vc_empty_space][vc_column_text]

What’s driving a renter’s decisions?

 

To inspire a person to do something, you must first know what motivates that individual. Figuring out what factors are motivating a prospect’s decision to move into a new apartment helps leasing specialists find the best fit for their current situation, speeding along lead conversion and resulting in satisfied renters in the long run. That data also gives property management a way to spot rental trends in the market and target specific types of renters with the right incentives.

 

“It’s helping us learn more about our customers without them even being there,” says Chris Berry, Senior Regional Manager at First Communities Management, also based in Atlanta. Four properties in his regional portfolio utilize PERQ’s website technology. Since adding the AI software, prospects spend on average 200 percent more time on their websites, giving the property a plethora of personal information while engaging with the property’s brand.

 

The consumer journey profiles properties receive for each website lead details every visit a prospect makes to the website, including which computer device they used to log on, where they came from before landing on the website, how long they searched the site, which experiences they engaged with and their responses.

 

“It’s prompting those same questions we would’ve asked on the tour,” Berry says. “Now we’ve got those things ahead of time, so that when they do show up for the tour, we have the opportunity to dig a little deeper. You see what’s important to them.”

 

Richard says the online data helps the Glick management team better understand how prospective renters are making decisions in regard to floor plans and number of bedrooms. Lately, they’ve noticed a shift in the type of people renting two-bedroom apartments as well as an increased demand for smaller spaces.

 

“As rental rates continue going up and the need for apartments continues to grow, the demand for two bedrooms remain on the rise. We know this is occurring because prospective renters continue to ‘double-up’ and find a roommate to afford the rent,” Richard says. “Studios and micro-units continue to rise in popularity, especially amongst the Gen. Z and Millennial generations, as a result of keeping monthly rent costs down while ensuring convenience to their job.”

 

Get to know your renter demographic better

 

Berry points out the high degree of turnover experienced at most on-site leasing offices. By receiving prospect profile data in real time, newer leasing team members can quickly learn about the type of renters most commonly interested in that property and eliminate any misconceptions about the target demographic.

 

“As far as that prospect data, I really like looking at it to confirm who we think our demographic is and it’s very useful for training,” Berry says. “You want to be able to show your team that back-end data that you’re gathering on what your residents or prospects are interested in. A lot of times, you walk onto a new property with a lot of three-bedroom apartments and you think it’s families. You find out, no it’s not, they’re roommates.”

 

If a prospect researching a predominantly family-oriented property lists nightlife and breweries as top attractions they like to regularly visit, the leasing team can reach out and let them know about the other apartment community your company manages across the street that better caters to their demographic. The same goes for prospects looking at places close to daycares and children activities who show interest in a property more targeted to young professionals with roommates.

 

“The leasing team needs to know who their prospects are primarily, because it’s only going to help them when giving tours and responding to people,” says Berry, who shares the same frustrating experience as Bob Romine when it comes to properties not using the valuable lead data to its fullest extent. “It’s all about finding a good fit for the renter and getting that edge over the competition. But the data has to be shared with your team and they have to actually use it.”

 

Point prospects down the right path on the metaphorical yellow brick road and show them a property that matches exactly what they’re seeking on their personal quest to find the ideal apartment. As Dorothy says while tapping her ruby red slippers together, “There’s no place like home.”[/vc_column_text][vc_empty_space][vc_column_text]This article was originally published on MultiHousing Pro.[/vc_column_text][/vc_column][/vc_row]

Create an Online Sales Conversion Funnel for Furniture Customers

Create an Online Sales Conversion Funnel for Furniture Customers

[vc_row css_animation=”” row_type=”row” use_row_as_full_screen_section=”no” type=”full_width” angled_section=”no” text_align=”left” background_image_as_pattern=”without_pattern” css=”.vc_custom_1521226682387{padding-top: 25px !important;padding-bottom: 25px !important;}” z_index=””][vc_column][vc_column_text]By creating a connected online experience, retailers can attract valuable consumers during the research phase and convert them into in-store purchases. Develop a sales conversion funnel for furniture customers who first shop online.

 

For the majority of furniture shoppers who browse around online, their goal is to narrow their selections before ever having to step foot into a store. For furniture stores, the goal is to get the furniture customer into the store to make a purchase. Every time a furniture customer visits your website, it’s important to help move them closer to a purchase through the sales conversion funnel.

 

Shopper Amanda Bell browsed several high-end national furniture retailer websites before she and her husband, Evan, decided on the style of sofa they wanted. Working on a limited budget, Bell then searched furniture stores in the Indianapolis area to find the perfect couch and loveseat to buy for their home.

 

“I think retailers need to do a much better job of creating a personal relationship with their customer.”

 

-Brad Huisken, Founder of IAS Training

 

While researching furniture on one local furniture retailer’s website, Bell took advantage of several interactive tools. She says she first narrowed down the color and fabric she wanted with software that previewed hundreds of options, and then utilized a personalized room planner to make sure the furniture fit her oddly shaped living room.

 

“I made the mistake of buying furniture that was too big for our last living room, so this helped us to avoid making the same mistake,” Bell says. “The cool ‘try-on’ interactive features were helpful to me. It gave me more confidence in my color selections and that they’d actually match.”

 

To create a successful conversion funnel for furniture customers, a store’s website must encompass multiple shopper touchpoints that present a connected, personalized experience. By improving engagement with each potential customer, a retailer can also improve sales and develop a brand reputation that leaves a lasting impression.

 

“I think retailers need to do a much better job of creating a personal relationship with their customer,” says Brad Huisken, an expert in retail sales and management and founder of IAS Training, which offers in-house sales training and consulting.

 

He recently spoke at a Home Furnishings Association seminar in Las Vegas. “Furniture is an emotionally driven industry, and salespeople tend to focus more on the furniture than on the excitement of a new home, a remodel or redesign.”

 

Yes, an online inventory and listing of available brands is important because it tells shoppers what you offer and helps them find you, but it’s the personalized presentation on your website that draws consumers in and inspires them to visit your showroom.

 

conversion funnel for furniture customers - break

[/vc_column_text][/vc_column][/vc_row][vc_row css_animation=”” row_type=”row” use_row_as_full_screen_section=”no” type=”full_width” angled_section=”no” text_align=”left” background_image_as_pattern=”without_pattern” css=”.vc_custom_1521237414253{padding-top: 15px !important;padding-bottom: 15px !important;}” z_index=””][vc_column][vc_column_text css=”.vc_custom_1521742116858{padding-bottom: 25px !important;}”]

Build a Conversion Funnel for Furniture and Mattress Customers

[/vc_column_text][vc_column_text]So what does an online sales conversion funnel look like for furniture companies? Shaped like an inverted pyramid that narrows to the point of conversion, it’s a useful way to usher potential customers through a retailer’s sales process and help a furniture sales team visualize the store’s sales process.

 

At the top of the funnel, it’s all about attracting as many consumers as possible to your website and furniture store. That means using great keywords and product descriptions to increase your search engine results, posting on social media and publishing supplemental content, as well as welcoming new customers that land on your site.

To draw online furniture customers further down the buying funnel, offer a design style quiz to help them narrow their furniture choices. Once you know what a particular consumer is looking for, serve up customized scratch-and-save promos for what they’re specifically interested in buying.

 

Ideally, the middle of the funnel consists of interactive tools that assist consumers in their online research process and gives them pertinent information based on what kind of mattress, sofa or chair they like best.

 

At PERQ, we like gathering this information in the form of assessments that allow online shoppers to answer questions, which help the customer while also giving retailers the details about that shopper’s preferences.

 

“To draw online furniture customers further down the buying funnel, offer a design style quiz to help them narrow their furniture choices.”

 

“With online engagement, the retailer can get in the home without physically getting in the home,” Huisken says. “People can visually see the outcome prior to the purchase — making a more personalized presentation.”

 

After assessing a consumer’s preferences, present various ways they can request more information or submit questions, whether in the form of an online chat feature or a design consultation scheduling tool.

 

Your sales conversion funnel finally narrows down to customers ready to buy, so it’s a great place in the process to add financing calculators and customized, timely promotions that encourage the consumer to visit your showroom and purchase the furniture they’ve been eyeing online.[/vc_column_text][/vc_column][/vc_row][vc_row css_animation=”” row_type=”row” use_row_as_full_screen_section=”no” type=”full_width” angled_section=”no” text_align=”left” background_image_as_pattern=”without_pattern” css=”.vc_custom_1521237414253{padding-top: 15px !important;padding-bottom: 15px !important;}” z_index=””][vc_column][vc_column_text css=”.vc_custom_1521742273897{padding-bottom: 25px !important;}”]

Connected Online Experiences Are Key To Conversion Funnel Success

[/vc_column_text][vc_column_text]While implementing interactive tools on your furniture store website is an excellent way to attract customers, connectivity of those online features is the real key to success, and ultimately, conversion.

 

Online furniture shoppers can bounce between hundreds of sites, perusing inspirational pictures and utilizing the various planning tools offered on all kinds of websites.

 

Give potential customers a reason to stick on your website by using software that tracks consumers’ information and remembers them each time they visit, delivering a connected online experience that’s both personal and effective for driving them from the research phase into the showroom.[/vc_column_text][/vc_column][/vc_row][vc_row css_animation=”” row_type=”row” use_row_as_full_screen_section=”no” type=”full_width” angled_section=”no” text_align=”left” background_image_as_pattern=”without_pattern”][vc_column][vc_empty_space][vc_column_text]

Additional Home Furnishings Resources

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Is your multifamily property a digital marketing dinosaur?

Is your multifamily property a digital marketing dinosaur?

[vc_row css_animation=”” row_type=”row” use_row_as_full_screen_section=”no” type=”full_width” angled_section=”no” text_align=”left” background_image_as_pattern=”without_pattern”][vc_column][vc_column_text]“You have all of these property websites that are fantastic,” says Bartlett, digital sales and media manager at Nolan Real Estate, which operates apartment communities in Texas, Kansas, Illinois and North Carolina.

 

“Once you get to the website, there’s all of this information, but not really a piece that engages. I think we do an awesome job once they walk in the door, but before that I think there are just so many options. It’s tough to narrow your search down.”

 

To drive engagement and increase leads, Nolan Real Estate recently launched website conversion software on four of its property websites. According to Bartlett, Nolan plans to implement the AI-powered software on the company’s remaining multifamily property websites in the near future.

 

“I think there’s a similarity between renting a home and leasing a car,” he says. “When you go to an auto dealership’s website, it’s all about engagement, right? There are different tools to help you, and to show you what you think you need before you even know what you need.”

 

Many multifamily properties remain stuck in the past when it comes to digital marketing. It’s a comment we hear time and time again when talking to the marketing experts in the industry who are working to convince upper management to test new marketing strategies.

 

Cindy Scanlan, director of operations at Thalhimer, a property management company with apartment communities across Virginia and North Carolina, agrees that the industry lags behind when it comes to digital marketing technology.

 

“There are so many new products in the marketplace now; I don’t believe we have the time necessary to really look at what is out there,” she says.

 

The evolution of digital marketing technology using artificial intelligence and automation spawns a whole new realm of possibilities for property management companies looking to reanimate their marketing approach. Here are the top three reasons property management companies give for not upgrading their digital marketing approach, and why those excuses are ancient history.

 

Tried-and-true marketing strategy

 

Many companies keep doing what they’ve always done because they believe it works. We’re not saying ditch all non-digital advertising or abandon digital marketing efforts already in place, but perhaps it’s time to diversify to bring in new business and better results. Advanced digital marketing technologies can improve what you’re already doing to attract leads, and also help you better track and convert those leads into signed leases.

 

“Traditional marketing would suggest you don’t want your consumer spending ‘high amounts’ of time on your website with the fear that we may miss out on the opportunity to engage with them in person or over the phone,” Bartlett says. “I believe if we can give them every piece of information and engage with them in a unique fashion, we are 20-25 percent more likely to capture that lease once they step foot into our community. All of our visit-to-lease numbers have really skyrocketed since strategically putting the conversion software in place.”

 

How do you measure the success of your current marketing to know what’s working? Use digital marketing solutions that deliver detailed data on each prospect who engages. That way you can track which leads convert to leases and figure out the property’s return on investment for each specific marketing campaign. With more data in-hand, companies can easily adapt and experiment with new marketing channels, target audiences, keywords and messaging—tweaking as needed based on real-time information.

 

Boyd Homes in Virginia Beach leverages its website data to spot market trends and to create the company’s marketing plan, says Digital Director Stephanie Drake. She says the company increased online lead to lease conversions and decreased bounce rates after adding an engagement experience on the property websites.

 

“I like the analytics portion of it, where you can see what people are interested in,” Drake says. “We use the information from the data to form our marketing plan and what to highlight for people.”[/vc_column_text][vc_empty_space][vc_single_image image=”29445″ img_size=”full” alignment=”center” qode_css_animation=””][vc_empty_space][vc_column_text]

Digital marketing learning curve

 

The concepts of AI, marketing automation, machine learning and marketing clouds can seem complicated and overwhelming to multifamily property managers with little tech experience. They don’t know enough about the technology or how to implement new systems, and can’t afford to devote additional resources to manage the technology, let alone perform data analysis on a regular basis.

 

With the right approach, technology actually streamlines business processes by providing a more efficient and effective way to capture and nurture leads. Leasing specialists spend less time manually handling leads and answering questions if the website uses AI to engage prospects and automatically guide them along the renter’s journey. When connected to an automated database and email nurturing solution, prospects continually receive personalized information and suggested interactive tools to assist in their research until they’re ready to rent.

 

New digital marketing technologies require very little effort and time to get started, and less manpower to maintain than manually tracking leads. It’s even less labor-intensive when you partner with a knowledgeable tech provider that can crunch the data for you, guide your efforts using industry knowledge, and provide proof of ROI.

 

Scanlan says Thalhimer, which used to focus primarily on commercial real estate, is behind the times when it comes to utilizing the full capabilities of AI to improve efficiencies on the residential side of its business. To catch up with competitors and gather more leads, Scanlan says Thalhimer decided last year to give new technology a try and implemented PERQ’s website conversion software.

 

“It captures more information about the customer than most products do,” Scanlan says. “Adding it to our website tripled our contacts on the property and we achieved at least a 25 percent lease return. It also lets us mine the information to get good demographics on our prospects and where they came from.”

Fear of more leads to manage

 

Some multifamily property companies worry that if technology does as promised, the sudden increase in leads may be too much to manage for their time-strapped employees and could hurt the brand if not handled properly. Maybe it’s time to try a new approach if your leasing offices are already struggling to balance the demands of helping new prospects, giving tours, closing leases and assisting residents.

 

Technology can improve overall workflow and make it easier to convert leads to leases. Consider adding an online scheduler, a pre-qualify tool or perhaps a virtual tour so prospects can help themselves. Connecting automated email nurturing to your prospect database can automate the nurture process and help your company better track leads and conversions.

 

It’s important to consider digital marketing solutions that not only increase lead count but also improve the quality of lead information that’s gathered and simplify processes for your leasing team. By collecting details like when the prospect plans to move and what amenities and floor plans they prefer, leasing specialists can use that information when following up with leads and move them along quicker, while also establishing an instant connection with prospects.

 

This article was originally posted on Multihousing Pro. You can see the article here.[/vc_column_text][/vc_column][/vc_row][vc_row css_animation=”” row_type=”row” use_row_as_full_screen_section=”no” type=”full_width” angled_section=”no” text_align=”left” background_image_as_pattern=”without_pattern”][vc_column][vc_empty_space][vc_column_text]

Additional Multifamily Resources

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3 Common Problems Furniture Store Marketing Companies Solve

3 Common Problems Furniture Store Marketing Companies Solve

[vc_row css_animation=”” row_type=”row” use_row_as_full_screen_section=”no” type=”full_width” angled_section=”no” text_align=”left” background_image_as_pattern=”without_pattern” css=”.vc_custom_1521226682387{padding-top: 25px !important;padding-bottom: 25px !important;}” z_index=””][vc_column][vc_column_text]To succeed in the crowded home furnishings marketplace, furniture store marketing companies say retailers must develop a comprehensive marketing strategy and quality website experience to attract and cater to the needs of furniture shoppers.

 

Furniture retailers new to digital marketing know they need to do something different than traditional advertising, but aren’t sure how to compete online against giant e-commerce retailers and national brands.

 

“In the last 10 years, we’ve lost close to 40 percent of retail brick-and-mortar stores in the home furnishings market,” says Bill Napier, managing partner of Napier Marketing Group and author of an informational marketing website social4retail.com. In his 35-plus years in the marketing industry, he’s served as chief marketing officer at Ashley Furniture and multiple other furniture brands.

 

The good news? Napier says research shows more than 85 percent of shoppers prefer to shop and buy locally. Since the majority of furniture shoppers start their search online, retailers must implement digital marketing strategies and technology solutions that attract website traffic and convert those online leads into showroom sales.

 

Here are the top ways furniture store marketing companies help retailers do just that.[/vc_column_text][/vc_column][/vc_row][vc_row css_animation=”” row_type=”row” use_row_as_full_screen_section=”no” type=”full_width” angled_section=”no” text_align=”left” background_image_as_pattern=”without_pattern” css=”.vc_custom_1521237423302{padding-top: 25px !important;padding-bottom: 15px !important;}” z_index=””][vc_column][vc_column_text css=”.vc_custom_1531405922226{padding-bottom: 25px !important;}”]

Furniture Store Marketing Companies Help Clients Understand Digital Advertising

[/vc_column_text][vc_column_text]Retailers that treat each type of advertising as a separate vertical miss out on opportunities to cross-promote on social, web and traditional platforms, which is a common mistake retailers new to digital advertising often make.

 

“Most furniture retailers struggle with designing a multi-channel marketing campaign that has a single universal message,” says Justin Vandagriff, Vice President of Client Services at R&A Marketing, a furniture and mattress digital advertising agency in Columbus, Ohio. “Another big problem we see is a lack of understanding from retailers when it comes to utilizing digital advertising.”

 

“The digital world is an ever-changing rainforest.”

— Justin Vandagriff, Vice President of Client Services, R&A Marketing

 

Vandagriff says retailers don’t really know how to create the best digital presence. Furniture marketing companies can help your store figure out how much to budget for digital advertising and where to spend that money.

 

“The digital world is an ever-changing rainforest,” Vandagriff says. “Retailers need a good path guide to keep them on track.”[/vc_column_text][/vc_column][/vc_row][vc_row css_animation=”” row_type=”row” use_row_as_full_screen_section=”no” type=”full_width” angled_section=”no” text_align=”left” background_image_as_pattern=”without_pattern” css=”.vc_custom_1521237423302{padding-top: 25px !important;padding-bottom: 15px !important;}” z_index=””][vc_column][vc_column_text css=”.vc_custom_1531405935099{padding-bottom: 25px !important;}”]

Furniture Store Marketing Companies Provide Technology Solutions

[/vc_column_text][vc_column_text css=”.vc_custom_1531827537665{padding-top: 25px !important;}”]Aside from helping clients master Facebook ads and Google Adwords, furniture marketing companies can also give advice on how to improve a retailer’s website and implement technological solutions to track visitors and sales, such as interactive website software thatalso helps to personalize the onlineexperience for visitors.

 

A quality website is fundamental to a furniture retailer’s marketing strategy, says Furniture Branding CEO Jason Pires. His Los Angeles firm emphasizes modern, digital solutions that engage and connect retailers with consumers.

 

“Your website is as important as your brick-and-mortar store,” Pires says. “Integrate a little bit more technology on the site itself. Add layers that customize the experience with the consumers. Not one single thing works for everybody — you’ve got to try many different things to see what works for your store.”

 

“Your website is as important as your brick-and-mortar store.”

— Jason Pires, CEO of Furniture Branding

 

Napier says furniture retailers often fail to invest adequately in their website, which is a short-sided approach. “They won’t spend the money to grow the business — always looking at the front-end costs and not the big picture,” he says.

 

He says furniture retailers make the mistake of not displaying enough merchandise on the site and not including enough detail on each furniture piece, which not only frustrates shoppers but also makes it harder to rank on website search engines. “They have bad content so they can’t even get found, and if they do get found and it’s a crappy website, why would people want to go into that store?” Napier asks.[/vc_column_text][/vc_column][/vc_row][vc_row css_animation=”” row_type=”row” use_row_as_full_screen_section=”no” type=”full_width” angled_section=”no” text_align=”left” background_image_as_pattern=”without_pattern” css=”.vc_custom_1521237414253{padding-top: 15px !important;padding-bottom: 15px !important;}” z_index=””][vc_column][vc_column_text css=”.vc_custom_1531405947408{padding-bottom: 25px !important;}”]

Implement a Marketing Strategy with a Furniture Store Marketing Firm

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Furniture store marketing companies help retailers get online, build out a branded presence on social media, and market their stores with content, advertising and targeted promotions. All tasks that are usually too much for an independent retailer to tackle.

 

With most consumers comparing prices online, furniture companies must give customers an incentive to step into their store. “I’ve got to have a compelling reason to buy from you as a retailer,” Pires says. “What’s the added value of doing business with you? What elements are you adding to really make me want to shop there and engage with your sales team?

 

Pires says social media engagement gives customers a way to interact with your brand and tout your services to other consumers. Ultimately, you just need to give people one good reason to visit your showroom, because furniture shoppers still prefer to see the products in person.

 

“Customers still want to touch and feel the product before they buy,” Vandagriff says. “However, what has changed is that once they touch and feel at your store, they’re price shopping and potentially buying online somewhere else. Your customer experience has to match the convenience of shopping online.”

[/vc_column_text][/vc_column][/vc_row][vc_row css_animation=”” row_type=”row” use_row_as_full_screen_section=”no” type=”full_width” angled_section=”no” text_align=”left” background_image_as_pattern=”without_pattern”][vc_column][vc_empty_space][vc_column_text]

Additional Home Furnishings Resources

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Fewer Door Swings Shouldn’t Mean a Drop in Sales

Fewer Door Swings Shouldn’t Mean a Drop in Sales

[vc_row css_animation=”” row_type=”row” use_row_as_full_screen_section=”no” type=”full_width” angled_section=”no” text_align=”left” background_image_as_pattern=”without_pattern”][vc_column][vc_column_text]Just because your retail showroom or leasing office seems slower than usual, it doesn’t mean less consumers are shopping your brand. Foot traffic no longer works as a standalone metric of sales or success, since the vast majority of customers start their research online and only walk through the door when they’re ready to buy.

 

Data collected for multifamily properties show more than 80% of prospects begin their search for an apartment from a smartphone, tablet or computer, with most looking 30 to 90 days before they plan to move, according to the 2019 PERQ Multifamily Field Guide.

 

Those insights for a number of shoppers who start their search online hold true for retailers in home furnishings and auto sales as well, with more consumers than ever turning to the internet to help determine which item to purchase and where to buy it. They can take their time browsing options from home, the office or anywhere, really.

 

Despite more than 80% of home furnishing shoppers beginning their research on the internet, PERQ data finds 90% of furniture purchases still happen inside a store. Consumers prefer to make pricey purchases in person. Wayfair’s average ticket price is $255, while PERQ home furnishing clients sell an average $1,600 per transaction in the showroom.

 

The biggest challenge for businesses in these competitive consumer industries comes down to tracking online website traffic to in-person visits and sales. If your company still relies on anonymous online analytics, you aren’t taking into account all of the digital touchpoints an online lead makes before buying, and you can’t accurately calculate ROI for each lead source.

 

Simply put, your team lacks visibility into how many of those online leads take action beyond the browser and what motivates consumers to come in and talk to your staff. Here’s how your business can tackle those digital challenges and drive more revenue from online leads.

 

Big Brands Train Consumers to Demand Instant Information

 

We all feel crunched for time, with consumer lives busier than ever. It’s incredibly difficult to find the time for a showroom visit to search for a new couch or car or take a property tour on a busy weekend or after work, especially if the hefty purchase requires more than one person’s approval. That’s why shoppers now only visit on average one or two locations in person when shopping for a big-ticket item, down from five or six visits a few years ago.

 

Big brands and e-commerce heavyweights have trained consumers to expect information on demand and around the clock. Their websites get to know us as we interact and engage with the content, personalizing the information and giving consumers the power to shop on their own time. These experiences raise the bar of expectation for every website.

 

With so many shoppers starting their search online, it pays to invest in a marketing cloud solution that can meet those high expectations and help them decide what they want.

 

“It turns the website into a leasing agent, so they can qualify themselves,” says Mary Herrold, Senior Director of Marketing at the rapidly expanding Redwood Residential based in Chicago. “The whole objective for somebody looking for an apartment is not to look at every apartment. It’s to eliminate. AI technology helps them do that and prompts them to take the next logical step in a very easy, self-guided way.”

 

Turning your website from a brochure to an interactive sales tool raises the likelihood your showroom or property will be one of the few locations they choose to visit in person. Once they’ve invested significant time and personal information with a website that genuinely helps guides them, a consumer naturally feels partial to the brand.

 

“The commitments made during the experiences, they’re small commitments, but they lead up to an ultimate commitment,” Herrold says. “So, little yeses mean a big yes, and that’s always the main goal.”

 

Herrold says the online tour scheduling tool bridges what she calls a “lead-to-tour cavern” the multifamily property industry faces as a major obstacle when trying to get prospects to commit to an in-person tour. Since debuting the online appointment option, Redwood property managers see a much better rate of appointments made and actually kept.

 

“Since the beginning of time, it’s always been a challenge, the gap between lead and tour,” Herrold says. “This tool increases the momentum.”[/vc_column_text][vc_empty_space][vc_single_image image=”29445″ img_size=”full” alignment=”center” qode_css_animation=””][vc_empty_space][vc_column_text]

View Website Leads Same as In-Store Visitors

 

Many companies make the mistake of not pursuing website leads with the same vigor as in-store visitors. They should be viewed with the same potential, and with integrated cloud-based technologies those online leads can be nurtured with the same attention to detail.

 

Adding AI technology to the website enables companies to collect personal details on consumers as they engage with experiences that help them narrow down what they want to buy and pre-qualify them for the purchase. When tied to an AI-driven Marketing Cloud, that website data flows to a lead management CRM tool that can automatically send leads targeted content and help businesses track all of a lead’s online buying journey.

 

An automated lead nurturing system sends online leads timed emails or text messages based on the information they volunteer on the website, like when they say they’re ready to buy. The value-added content seeks to entice them to make an in-store appointment or purchase, consequently driving more door swings. Until they’re ready to take that next step through the door, the personalized messaging keeps prospects engaged with the brand and drives them back to the website to gather more research.

 

Organizing online leads from all traffic sources into one CRM system gives companies complex insights into in-store sales performance, lead follow-up success rates, and digital marketing results. Sales or leasing staff can sort leads based on those statistically most likely to convert and who say they’re ready to make a purchase, and focus their energies on those consumers first.

 

They can also use the detailed lead data to instantly build a relationship when following up, and know exactly what the customer wants when they show up in person. When foot traffic slows down, the sales team can work online leads in the various stages of the sales funnel to stay proactive and productive.

 

Develop Sales Process and Metrics for Website Leads

 

One problem that’s common among companies who don’t prioritize online leads is a lack of metrics to track them and no sales process established for nurturing website leads. Without a lead-to-sale metric and benchmark, companies have no way of measuring true results. Revenue from digital visitors can make a big impact on in-store sales when businesses start tracking website leads and focus some serious effort on converting those leads.

 

Reporting provided by a CRM tool shows just how building a digital relationship with customers directly impacts sales results and breaks down the ROI of each online traffic source. It can connect directly to a company’s existing Google Analytics account and use marketing intelligence to turn anonymous visitors into identified leads. That data enhances the ability to track unique visitors across device, follow the consumer journey from online to offline, and filter traffic by source for a clearer, more accurate view of which channels convert leads.

 

When starting out, it’s important to set website lead conversion goals, as well as targets for the percentage of revenue you expect website leads and online appointments to drive once everyone embraces the new sales process.

 

It’s equally important that someone continuously monitor those results and make adjustments based on the data. An AI-driven Marketing Cloud solution linked to your company’s digital advertising campaigns can automatically adjust online ad spending as it delivers real-time reporting. That targeted approach drives even more targeted online traffic to the website and gives businesses real-time perspective on how many online visitors swing the door and convert in-person.

 

“Turn your website into a better converter. Five percent was my goal at one point, although I know some companies are happy with a 2 to 3% lead-conversion rate,” Herrold says. “Now, I’m aiming for 30% — we’re currently between 16 and 20%.”[/vc_column_text][/vc_column][/vc_row]