Giving consumers a more convenient way to interact with the Big Sandy Superstore team helps the retailer build stronger relationships with each website visitor before they come into the store. That means continually leveraging the latest advances in technology. “Getting shoppers to engage with our website is the most powerful piece,” says President Bryan Scott, who views it as their biggest challenge. “Keeping them on the site longer is important so they continue browsing.”
In the last few years, Big Sandy has continued to make website improvements, including recently adding an “Ask a Question” text tool. Within two months, they closed more than 330 in-store sales to shoppers who asked a question online before visiting one of the 18 Big Sandy Superstores in Ohio, Kentucky or West Virginia to make a purchase.
Since offering online shoppers a convenient way to instantly connect with a trained store representative, Big Sandy has increased website visitors’ time on site, keeping them browsing up to five times longer. Shoppers who interact with the various website experiences, such as an appliance assessment, stay on the site for more than 15 minutes and look at nearly 14 pages on average.
Sales teams use the valuable data collected through the website’s style quizzes — like what they’re looking to buy, their preferred style, budget and more — when they follow up with a lead or when the shopper shows up in person.
“With the questions the customers are asking and answering, it helps to narrow down a selection of a few items very quickly,” says Dan Evans, Big Sandy Superstore’s Director of Marketing.
Robert Van Hoose, owner of the 65-year-old superstore chain, says they’re always looking for new ways to drive customer engagement on the website but previous marketing efforts lacked any way to measure that engagement. They decided to add PERQ’s Web Conversion Solution to the website in October 2017, adding new appliance assessments the following February.
“We can see exactly where that customer’s been online, what experiences they’ve engaged with, what products they’ve looked at on our website,” Scott says. “It helps build that relationship with the consumer before they’re actually coming in the door. We know all about them, and we’re also able to build trust with them before they come through the door.”
Watch: How the Ask a Question Feature Helps You Better Connect to Shoppers.
Big Sandy discovered by adding the Ask a Question chat-to-text tool online, they doubled the amount of leads ready to talk to a sales person. The online shoppers who used the Ask a Question texting feature almost always engage with multiple other experiences on the website as well, often taking a break from browsing to ask a question that relates to an experience they just completed, such as requesting types of finishes stocked in the showroom for their chosen appliance.
While it increases consumer engagement, Scott says it’s attracting more qualified buyers, too. He says customers of all ages engage with the interactive texting box once they realize how efficient the process is for getting information quickly from a local store — and not some robot auto-response that’s sure to fill your smartphone with spam.
“Everybody wants to text now. … We’re actively closing those deals and taking those customers through the buying process.”
Bryan Scott, Big Sandy President
“Everybody wants to text now. The requests that come in are much more effective. They’re not just asking one question and then disengaging with the chat agent,” Scott says of text leads over live chat. “When they have an interest in something on our website, when they click on it and they’re actually engaging with it, they’re serious. We’re actively closing those deals and taking those customers through the buying process.”
The texting technology responds instantaneously to a consumer’s initial request using artificial intelligence technology, then a real human takes it from there to deliver personalized, timely responses and carry on an online conversation with the potential customer. With this new approach, Big Sandy downsized its online chat team by one person to make it a more focused group of chat sales specialists.
“We are seeing the conversions, and we’ve actually been able to more efficiently staff our chat team because the leads are so highly engaged,” Scott says. “They’re a higher level of chat agent, because these are actually more of a warm-to-hot lead. They’re able to work closely with those customers and close those deals.”
Scott says they’re still working to develop some best practices for following up with the text leads. However, he adds that they’re already converting the texting website leads at an impressive rate of nearly 31%.
Scott contributes part of that success to the “super powerful” AI-driven analytics reporting and consumer tracking capabilities that drive a high level of execution inside the store, keeping the sales professionals accountable and actively engaged with online leads even when the showroom floor slows down. On average, Big Sandy Superstore sees more than $1.6 million a month in sales influenced by PERQ.
“PERQ gives us a much better way to follow up with the people who come to our website and get them into the store,” says Van Hoose. “It provides better information about the customer and what they’re searching for, and gets that information into the hands of our sales team, who can follow up locally and complete the transaction.”