3 Online Digital Strategy Tips for Furniture Retailers8 min read

Audrey Moistner Administrator

Furniture retailers can take their online digital strategy to the next level by following these tips, from reviewing valuable data to creating a better and more personalized experience for furniture shoppers.

 

There are still purchases so intimate and requiring a personal touch that for some consumers simply clicking a “Buy it Now” button just isn’t up to snuff. Though there is great convenience in online shopping, many shoppers still prefer to see the furniture they’re interested in by visiting a retailer in person. Still, plenty of customers are most often starting their research online.

 

For furniture retailers, creating an online digital strategy is a valuable tool that should ultimately translate to in-person visits, and there’s plenty of great advice from the pros that will help you transform web traffic into real dollars and cents. Along with reviewing current market trends, we interviewed Justin Bowen, of Great Americans Home Stores and Sleep Shops in Cordova, Tennessee, to pick up some insider info on online digital strategy tips to drive in-store sales.

Digital Strategy Tip #1: Find the Right Tools to Understand Your Data

Modern technology has hugely accelerated our ability to analyze and identify trends within any given market or sample size. However, the addition of these numerous adjustable variables has led to a data problem, namely that there’s too much of it.

 

There are tons of ways to measure web traffic, and tools like Facebook or Google AdWords will even let you break down your participating audience to discrete demographics like relationship status, education level or even online engagement with any of your competitors. But what do you with all of this data? And how do you make it useful? For Bowen, the addition of online tools allowed the business to better understand their customer base and learn where they were seeing success.

 

Bowen detailed a couple online services that he had found to be particularly helpful, including BlueConic, an online data platform that touts simplicity and deeper data insights through combining several data sources.

 

“We can aggregate customer data from multiple data sources and gain insight, all from one place,” Bowen says. “It gives us a more holistic picture of who our customers are, helps us better tailor the online experience.”

 

Bowen also praises the service HotJar, which provides analytics and feedback about user experience while on the website. Justin specifically uses the application to gauge where people were seeing their website, and how they were navigating it.

 

HotJar incorporates heat maps and lets him look at anonymous user sessions, so that they can pinpoint any specific stumbling blocks or barriers that may lead to difficult navigation on the site. Recently, Justin used the service to implement an onsite survey to learn even more about their online visitors.

 

Justin says by adding PERQ’s web engagement software to the website, they were able to boost customer involvement on the web page. He accounted that there had been “huge boosts” to inquiries and registrations, which helped to grow strong leads that contain valuable consumer profile data and drive in-store visits. Justin says those customers engaging with PERQ’s software were likely to spend $200 to $400 more per visit (See the Results!).

Digital Strategy Tip #2: Understand that User Experience is Key

People will use your online furniture site for a variety of reasons. Some may simply want to browse to learn about styles, while others may be more interested in seeking out deals. What’s vital is that the site allows any customer to find the information they want without hassle.

 

Pop-up pages at every turn that advertise the same sale may be overwhelming, and with your huge inventory of products, you’ll need to be paying special attention to how everyday folks are utilizing your online services.

 

Bowen discussed a simple, yet effective sales tactic that helps to direct the flow of traffic and organize information in a more digestible format. By first consulting his data analytics tools, he realized too many furniture shoppers were distracted and confused by “Shop Now” and “View Offer” links that resulted in hyperlinking away from the a visitor’s original and desired page.

“The most successful call to action we’ve had has been displaying our offers inside of our messaging, with the actual offer and discount code written into the content,” Bowen says. Additionally, Bowen’s in-house web team began focusing on improving dynamics like page load time to further improve the visitor’s experience.

 

It’s also important to understand the position and opportunity of eCommerce sales. Though most buyers will want to come see the pieces in person before making any purchases, there are those who prefer the convenience of online shopping. These customers’ expectations differ from those in the store.

 

Bowen explains that eCommerce sales are “capturing a different market” and points out that 75% of purely online purchases are made by customers who have never set foot in their store. For these visitors, a sleek design with multiple options for products is necessary to give them the diverse, but private online shopping experience they desire.

Online Digital Strategy Tip #3: Don’t Flood their Inbox

Though it may seem an obvious choice to use visitor-provided email addresses to develop leads, there is the chance you may end up turning away a potential sale before it ever comes to fruition. In the same sense, you don’t want to come off as a pushy salesperson, flooding the inboxes of interested buyers, which can land you with a big pile of unsubscribes.

 

Even if the offers are relevant to a recent search, more than one or two emails per week could scare leads away. Justin says it’s important to create a more personalized email experience, where users are completely in charge of what emails they receive, and what kind of offers they’re provided. The goal, he says, is to keep people engaged.

 

“We do like the idea of a smaller list of more engaged people, than a larger list of less engaged. The kind of risk that has to your reputation as a sender is not really worth it.”

 

Maneuvering the world of online digital strategies can be tricky, especially when you’re dealing with a traditional in-person buying experience. However, by staying on your toes and utilizing all available tools, you can deliver an even more satisfactory experience to your customers.

 

Seek out data analytics tools, use your site as a portal to learn more about your customer, and always build the experience from the eyes of a potential buyer to have your digital customers logging off and heading through your doors.

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