If someone asked why you think you’re the better furniture store compared to the competition, you’d probably talk about your well-trained, friendly sales staff and fully stocked showroom. But what about the store website?
With 90% of home furnishing shoppers looking online before making a purchase, your website must give consumers all the feels, just like you aim to do inside the physical showroom. Your team immediately greets shoppers walking in the door, offers assistance and directs them to the section best suited for what they say they need, while also learning as much as they can about those consumers.
AI-powered technology can give your store the edge by delivering personalized, helpful guidance to shoppers on the website, and gathering valuable consumer data your store can use to nurture those shoppers with customized incentives and experiences.
“Modern tools have made it easy to not only develop an online presence, but also to showcase merchandise, handle fulfillment, and meet consumers where they are to draw them into the store,” says Steve Davidson, VP of Fortegra’s Warranty Product Group, in his article The future of furniture retail recently featured on Retail Customer Experience.
“Traditional retailers are struggling in the face of challenges — specifically from their online competitors … Those furniture retailers who have faced the challenge head on are finding that today’s technology provides a low barrier to entry for the uninitiated.”
Here are 5 ways you can use technology on your furniture store website to prove you are indeed the better furniture store:
1. Make Website Visitors Feel Welcomed
Acknowledge online visitors the moment they land on your furniture store’s website, and personalize their entire interaction based on their behavior as they move along. Welcome them with a personalized message in a pop-up window, banner or chat bubble, and check-in as they browse to see if they have any questions or point out some helpful tools you offer on the site to get them started.
Offer to show them around the website or offer them a virtual consultation, ask them qualifying questions to learn more about their lifestyle, and serve up pages, products or assessments that make the most sense based on what they’re searching.
Make them feel like they’ve found a place that’s helpful, easy to navigate and a pleasure to do business with — just like you do in person.
2. Give Consumers Information They Seek
Consumers prefer to gather as much information as possible before they ever enter a store showroom. Make it easy to find all of the details about the items they’re most interested in buying, and help them narrow down their selection by providing helpful assessments and tools.
Just by being helpful, your website can build trust with consumers and they’ll think of you when they’re ready to buy. That makes converting online leads into sales a much more feasible task for your in-store team when they follow up or meet them in person.
Educated consumers will appreciate the access to information at their fingertips so they can confidently make a decision. While you may think withholding details like pricing will make them call or come into the store, it’s actually more likely to send them searching on competitors’ websites for the answer. Effectively move leads down the sales funnel and closer to a purchase by giving them all of the information they seek online.
3. The Better Furniture Store Guides Online Leads
While shoppers prefer to self-service when it comes to gathering information online, they do appreciate it when a website guides them along in the process. Use AI website conversion software to intuitively lead consumers along in their journey and serve up the next best step in the process to help them.
Direct online furniture shoppers to the products that best suit their taste, and set up your store website so it shows them information related to the data you’ve already collected on them as they click around. Do they seem torn on the best type of mattress, jumping around between all of the options? Offer them a mattress assessment that explains in the results why a particular kind of mattress may work better for their specific sleep needs.
4. Automate Lead Nurture to Keep Consumers Coming Back
Lead management is the key to nurturing online consumers. Send each new lead that lands in your CRM an automated email or text after they visit the website to acknowledge the shopper and give her more information about whatever she looked at online. It shows you care, value the shopper’s visit and are paying attention to what they really want.
Use an automated lead nurture campaign as a way to keep your home furnishings brand top of mind while they decide on a purchase, and drive them back to the website to engage further with your interactive tools and quizzes. Include customized incentives to inspire the shoppers to take action or visit the store, such as a personalized coupon for that recliner they’ve been eyeing online.
5. Be a Better Furniture Store By Personalizing Your Approach
At the end of the day (or in the middle of the night when shopping online), consumers connect with stores that make online furniture shopping a rewarding experience. You want them to feel special, so they’ll return to your website or visit your store when it comes time to spend money on a new appliance or piece of furniture.
Give them the VIP treatment online by personalizing each touchpoint and offering helpful tools to make their decision less difficult and time-consuming.
According to The future of furniture retail article, 86% of furniture shoppers who start their search online still prefer to finalize a purchase in the showroom. “While brick-and-mortar may currently enjoy an advantage that suits traditional methods, changing trends should not be ignored,” says Steve Davidson, the article’s author. “Now is the time for furniture retailers to act on digital — because the future of furniture is online.”
Additional Home Furnishings Resources
- This is what you can do leverage your website to help the consumer decide to purchase in-store.
- Know how to create exceptional experiences for your VIP Customers.
- When considering your digital sales process, here are 5 tips to keep in mind.
- Here are more ways to make sure your customers are getting the VIP Experience.
- Turn your website visitors into in-store traffic with PERQ’s marketing cloud for home furnishings stores.