Located at the same spot in rural Alabama for nearly 100 years, Akins Furniture does whatever it takes to limit overhead costs so they can offer customers who make the winding journey along County Road 81 the lowest prices possible.
Despite efforts to keep costs down, the Akins family members currently at the helm of the fourth-generation home furnishings company know they must impress online furniture shoppers to attract new customers to the showroom, but wanted to ensure their investment in new technology would pay off.
They decided to try PERQ’s Marketing Cloud to help capture and convert more website leads using AI technology, after being offered a 90-day free trial available to retailers that sell Ashley Furniture.
“We all do most of our research online before any major purchase,” says President Scott Akins. “PERQ has helped to establish a relationship during that process. That brings even more customers into our store.”
Akins has been able to increase the time online shoppers spend browsing the store’s website, while also collecting detailed lead information on every consumer who engages with the personalized interactive experiences, like a design style quiz and mattress assessment. They like that the AI-driven software helps a shopper narrow down their choices, while remembering their name and personal preferences every time they return to shop. Those consumer profile details are also saved in their CRM for sales associates to reference when following up with a lead.
“The initial 90-day results from PERQ were outstanding,” Akins says. “The ROI absolutely blew our minds!”
The company also uses detailed analytics that show exactly how many website leads convert to in-store sales and how much profit they produced. With more detailed information on each customer they follow up with or who visits the showroom, along with better qualified shoppers who receive assistance online prior to shopping in person, the Akins Furniture sales team says they’re seeing greater success.
Watch: See How PERQ works for Ashley Retailers
“It is a fantastic tool that helps make the online shopping process more convenient for our customers,” Akins says.
Akins decided to opt-in with PERQ after reviewing results from the three-month trial period. In that first 90 days, the store made 223 sales from PERQ leads, totaling more than $267,500 in sales. Total sales dollars after five months equaled $431,700 — a return on investment worth over 2,900%.
Before adding the interactive web conversion solution, Akins Furniture collected roughly 50 leads from the website per month, converting 0.56% of website traffic into true leads. The retailer, which operates the original store in “Dogtown” just outside Fort Payne, Alabama, and a second location in Scottsboro, now captures more than 650 leads on average each month.
The engaging, upgraded website converts almost 8% of website traffic into trackable web registrations when shoppers fill out one of the interactive experiences, such as a Scratch-and-Save Coupon and Special Pricing promos, or sign up for a bedding, sofa or design consultation.
“PERQ has helped us improve our communication with our customers who are shopping online and have specific questions or concerns,” Akins says. “As a result, we are able to see many more leads become actual sales.”
PERQ leads stay three times as long on the store website than other visitors, averaging almost 16 minutes per session. PERQ leads also look at more than twice as many pages per session with an average of 19 versus the 8 pages for other visitors. Akins identifies and tracks previously anonymous online shoppers, so they can see every time the same person visits the website or uses a different device to browse the site, giving the store visibility into a consumer’s entire buying journey and they say they get more accurate data on engaged leads.
“PERQ has allowed us to acquire the information needed to properly turn a lead into a sale, as well as all of the data to clearly display the ROI,” Akins says.
For a storefront in operation since the 1920s, change can sometimes prove challenging. Thankfully, Akins says the new technology was easy to implement and use.
“We would have never imagined the ROI could be so substantial.”
Scott Akins, President
Management and sales team members can sort the lead management database to prioritize shoppers ready to buy and assign specific leads that require a staffer’s immediate attention. The CRM shows all of the data collected on a shopper, from their preferred design style and current needs to any previous purchases or showroom visits.
“The process of getting started with PERQ was a breeze,” Akins says. “The ease of use in the [CRM] database is a huge asset, for both our sales staff and communication with the customer.”
Akins says he “absolutely” recommends other Ashley Furniture retailers give the marketing cloud technology a try through the free trial. Without the 90-day test period, Akins says the cost barrier would have prevented the century-old furniture store from trying out the AI technology.
“We would have never imagined the ROI could be so substantial,” Akins concludes. “We would not have agreed to pay the monthly fee without being able to see the supporting data.”