Top 5 Tips for Furniture Retailers to Win the Online to In-Store Sales Battle

By: Scott Hill

Home Furniture retailers trying to fight Wayfair or Amazon at their game is poor business strategy. Good strategy: look at your advantages and try to bring those weapons into the battle.  For the brick and mortar retailers, those weapons are local stores and helpful salespeople designed to win the fight for the larger and more complex furniture purchase.


Let’s agree that brick and mortar stores shouldn’t be looking at their website and trying to compete against the giant players in e-commerce. If the consumer is looking to spend less than $200 for a table lamp to throw into the guest room before company arrives the following day, the battle to win this definite e-commerce purchase is a losing game.


Wayfair’s average ticket price is $250, and we know the normal brick and mortar PERQ client averages $1,500+. Why? Because the consumer WANTS to take advantage of the built-in advantages of a local store and salespeople when they’re making a larger purchase.


The key is to bring your “weapons” into the process when a consumer is still at home researching a purchase online. Every brick and mortar retailer should look at their website and ask: “What can I do to leverage my website to help the consumer decide to purchase from me in-store?”


Below are my top 5 tips for how to bridge the website to in-store shopping process and have your website lead to more revenue: 


1. Generate sales opportunities for your staff through your home furnishings website


The pictures of your products, details and price are just initial steps in the digital to in-person transaction process. These are the normal website tips. But, you must have a way to turn anonymous website visitors into actionable customers with real information about them. These are “Digital Ups”. With tools and quizzes you can learn a lot of information about each visitor: what they’re interested in, when they’re in the market to buy and much more.


Your sales team can now reach out during down times and build actual relationships with “Digital Ups” leveraging that unique shopper data. This is what you do in your store when you greet each in-person — you greet each person and ask them questions to get to know what they’re looking for. You must do this on your website as well. It works and it is a way to let salespeople produce more sales versus complaining there isn’t anyone in the store on a 10 a.m. on a Thursday.


2. Use your website to facilitate an easy conversation between the consumer and your home furnishings sales team


E-mail and Live Chat used to be the way to communicate with consumers online, but that is no longer the case. We highly recommend to our clients that they have text communication in place. Texting a consumer is a much more natural way to communicate now.

Scott Hill, PERQ co-founder Texting a consumer is a much more natural way to communicate now, and you want to communicate with consumers the same way you would a friend. When is the last time you were e-mailing or in a “live chat” box with one of your friends?


Make it easy for shoppers to engage in a deeper and more prolonged conversation with your staff that can help them make decisions prior to coming into the store. Texting makes it easier on the consumer and your staff to get the help needed and build a relationship that can lead to an in-store visit.


3. Leverage lead scoring and personalized automation


Your sales team will not be able to have an actual conversation with every “Digital Up” you generate from your website. You need to have a way to prioritize Digital Ups into which ones will receive follow up from your staff and which ones will receive automated email messaging personalized to the consumer.


With today’s technology, there is no excuse to just be sending blast e-mails once a month.  When someone has engaged on your website, you now should have everything you need to set up the right personalized automated email messaging designed to nurture them into being ready for a conversation with a member of your sales team.


4. Create a “VIP Appointment” process


With all of these conversations your sales team is having with prospects before they come into the store, you need to have a way to make it easy for them to take the next step and visit.


Allow shoppers to set a “VIP Appointment” where they receive special treatment and a faster experience. Let them know you will be waiting for them, have some recommendations ready, drink of their choice, financing approval already done, etc.


5. Take advantage of a CRM to handle the organization/ communication of all the sales opportunities from your website


Everything mentioned above will require a quality CRM. For pure in-store customers, you might have been able to handle the potential buyers, but to efficiently handle a high volume of “Digital Ups” and help shoppers come into the store, you need a better way to organize and keep track of leads.


A CRM platform helps you determine which prospects to reach out to first, gives messaging recommendations, enables text messaging, gives performance reporting, etc. It becomes your Digital Sales Manager, making it easier for you and your sales team to follow up with shoppers.


The process of how to take your website to be a great tool to get consumers to come into the store was solved by the automotive industry first (and where these 5 tips originally came from)! They created the technology and process to help their staff connect to consumers on the website looking for help when making a purchasing decision. Take advantage of tips to make your website the best it can be for consumers so you can win the online to in-store battle.


See How Much the PERQ CRM Costs Home Furnishings Retailers to Manage Leads: SEE PRICING

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