Greenbaum Home Furnishings’ business consists of 80% custom orders, so they know it’s key to secure a trusting relationship with the customer before they walk in the door. Gathering data while the customer shops online, Greenbaum designers capture information that helps them establish a level of trust.
As a locally owned brick-and-mortar retail store, the sales process at Greenbaum centers around building that relationship with customers, especially when it’s an intimate purchase such as a bed for the master bedroom.
“We’ve found the digital overlays and questions we use online really allow us to get the relationship many steps further along for when the customer comes in the store,” says Jon Greenbaum, Advertising Manager at Greenbaum Home Furnishings. “The consumer has less time to shop retail. Digital allows us to be more efficient with the buying process and best meet customers’ needs. It’s also an efficient way to track the sales process.”
This year, Greenbaum Furnishings will celebrate 60 years as a family-owned home furnishing retailer in Bellevue, Washington. From its beginnings as Ken’s Suburban Furniture and regarded as a key player in the Bellevue area, Greenbaum has evolved over the decades to meet the ever-changing needs of their consumers.
Already receiving an extensive amount of online traffic, Greenbaum searched for ways to leverage that traffic to their benefit. They also wanted more efficient ways to communicate with online customers and learn more about them. “We now have a unique way to digitally learn about the customer without the process feeling as intimidating or like an interrogation at times,” Greenbaum says.
By collecting information from consumers online, Greenbaum understands how the website experience actually drives consumers into the store. The home furnishing retailer has significantly improved customer engagement, lead capture and in-store revenue since adding AI-driven web conversion software in 2017.
The more you can help them, almost becoming their personal shopper, the more likely they are to physically come in your store when they’re ready.
“You need to get back to the consumer in a timely manner,’” Greenbaum says. “It’s another tool, if you use it right. The more you can help them, almost becoming their personal shopper, the more likely they are to physically come in your store when they’re ready. You’re helping them through that process.”
A Greenbaum designer works on behalf of the online customer to personally select options for them based on the data they provide on the website, and then follows up to offer suggestions. Even if the customer didn’t come into the store, they feel like they’ve already shopped with the retailer because of the immersive online experience.
Asking certain questions online has proven to be particularly useful for Greenbaum’s staff when preparing for interactions with leads. With a decades-long history, it’s common to encounter consumers who’ve previously bought or shopped at Greenbaum Home Furnishings. The store tries to connect those repeat customers with someone inside the store who they’ve successfully worked with in the past, furthering that relationship and increasing the likelihood of making another sale.
Starting as a very traditional furniture store, Greenbaum strives to evolve with their customers and technology. Adding PERQ’s AI-powered website tools, Greenbaum describes as a lightbulb moment. He says he suddenly realized the power of interacting with the customer in a personalized way earlier in their shopping journey.
“Furniture retailers needed some change,” Greenbaum says. “Not only in the way we market, yet in the way we approach other things.”
Greenbaum reflects that what they’ve learned from adding website conversion software and how collecting customer information online changed the store’s entire retail experience. The successful integration proved it’s possible to achieve even deeper and earlier engagement with leads.
Greenbaum Home Furnishings engages customers and helps them narrow their choices through a variety of online experiences that include design, sofa, chair and recliner assessments. Additionally, online customers can schedule design consultations and receive special offers and incentives geared toward the products they’re most interested in.
“We found it’s really helped us capture information that a client may not be as comfortable walking in a store and giving to a designer the first time they greet them,” Greenbaum says. “We are trying to get to know them, and find out what their needs are. If you can establish that relationship when they are shopping online, they already feel at ease when they come into the store.”
He adds that their sales team has developed best practices on how to respond to each type of consumer. “Using our digital system, we are able to get back to the consumer in a prompt and personalized manner on a pricing inquiry or whatever it may be,” Greenbaum says.
Through their digital platform, they routinely analyze results and discuss how they can improve. Greenbaum says he does not view their investment in advanced technology as a static purchase.
“We are very much about measuring and improving,” Greenbaum says. “It isn’t something we turn on and then just let run. It’s been a learning curve in terms of what we need to provide the consumer to make it a good process. But, it’s definitely evolved the whole retail experience. It just continues to improve.”