The Secret Sauce for Online Furniture Retailers to Increase Sales9 min read
Online furniture retailers that utilize software with online quizzes engage consumers so they share more information and spend more time on the website. Paired with a personalized selling approach, it’s the secret sauce for success.
So, admit it. You’ve shamelessly taken one of those silly online quizzes. I mean, who isn’t secretly curious to see which Disney princess or Marvel superhero they really are? People like gaining insight into themselves, especially when it relates to one’s personal style and how others perceive them.
Believe it or not, the hugely popular online quiz phenomena may actually be the “secret sauce” for online furniture retailers to increase sales! Taking a quiz on an online furniture retailer’s website has been proven to engage the customer to learn more about their own design style, while simultaneously, giving the furniture retailer personal insight into that buyer’s journey.
“People want to tell you about themselves. We want to give them the opportunity to do that,” says Eric Sears, account executive at PERQ, which offers furniture retailers online quizzes to assess a customer’s design preferences, mattress fit or sofa style. By serving up furniture that matches a customer’s tastes, hobbies and current stage of life, a retailer can help narrow down the search funnel and guide the online shopping experience for them.
Research also shows the longer a shopper engages with a store’s website, the more likely they are to buy from that store. PERQ research shows interactive experiences increase engagement time from an average of 3 minutes per session to 12 minutes or higher.
“Ultimately, what we’re finding is if they have a high level of service on a website, these consumers are more apt to come into your showroom to experience a high level of service there, as well,” Sears says.
Improve Customer Engagement, Increase Sales
Customers at Rod Kush’s 7-Day Furniture and Mattress Store in Nebraska really seem to engage with the “What’s Your Design Style?” assessment on the store’s website, says co-owner Troy Kush. After using the PERQ Web Engagement software for 210 days, the store’s web registrations skyrocketed 2,671%, resulting in a 17-percent increase in lead-to-sale conversion.
“Surprisingly, people are taking those assessments. I didn’t know if they would or not,” Kush says. “It is really about engagement. If you take the assessment, you are going to start browsing. If they browse our website for five to 10 minutes, we are in their head.”
“It is really about engagement. If you take the assessment, you are going to start browsing. If they browse our website for five to 10 minutes, we are in their head.”
— Troy Kush, co-owner, Rod Kush’s 7-Day Furniture and Mattress Store
By answering a few quiz questions, such as how you spend your free time and the types of gatherings you prefer to host, the customer gains insight into their own personal style. Is your home artistic or innovative? Is it more comfortable and laid-back where everyone gathers for game day? Or do you host sophisticated dinner parties and wine and cheese nights?
The customer uses the quiz as a research tool to learn more about their own style and what furniture works best in their particular household. Online furniture retailers use the information gleaned through the customer’s answers to prepare an effective sales strategy to meet them where they are in life and when they’re ready to buy.
“Without our technology, there are anonymous people who are coming onto your website that are potential customers of your business that bounce out without ever giving you their information,” Eric Sears says. “We want to provide more of those leads, as well as insight into that person through that interactive one-on-one style and approach.”
Give Customers Research Tools Online, Increase Showroom Visits
Need to buy a new mattress, and don’t even know where to start? Is your mattress just old, or do you want to improve your sleep? How about those nagging back pains you wake up with every morning? Is an innerspring mattress better for a back sleeper than a hybrid or memory foam?
How about a new sofa? Will it be mainly used for entertaining guests? Do you prefer a certain sofa style in your man cave versus the family room? Do your hobbies and lifestyle affect what style of sofa works in your home?
Smart shoppers ask many, MANY questions and conduct extensive research before they ever step into a furniture showroom. Does your website help them answer those questions and narrow down their choices so they can reach a buying decision? If it doesn’t, your furniture store is likely missing out on potential customers.
“We want to be able to narrow down that funnel for them,” Sears says, by giving website visitors research tools that provide a starting point on what to look for and where to find it, which ultimately inspires more trust for your store’s brand and higher inclination to visit your showroom.
Research shows that 70 percent of furniture shoppers visit a furniture store’s website before going to a physical showroom, and they now visit only 1.8 showrooms, instead of five or six, before buying.
Sears says that most online furniture retailers don’t offer a research tool and fail to give customers what they want when they want it during the online research phase of their buying journey. “We want to deliver that to them there, communicate on the website, and get value in real time,” he says.
Follow Up on Leads at Right Time with Right Strategy
Static contact forms on a furniture store’s website provide a name, phone number and email address. However, they give salespeople little insight into which items the customer may have been looking for on the website or whether they’re ready to buy now or in six months. With PERQ’s interactive software, the leads become relevant data with specific information to act upon now or at a later date.
For instance, a customer shares their interest in a comfortable sofa for the living room in earth tones; but they don’t want to buy for six months. Using the assessment data, the store can target that customer with specialized incentives, sales or discounts for that comfy couch as part of a longtail marketing strategy or email drip campaign.
Maybe your furniture store wants to focus only on customers who are ready to buy now? The PERQ assessment strategies work for that purpose as well, extracting only bottom, end-of-the-funnel leads that your sales team can immediately focus on and convert to sales.
Establishing a clear strategy for how to follow up on the influx of leads generated by the assessments also makes a difference, says Joey Gunn, Vice President of Knight Furniture & Mattress in Sherman and Gainesville, Texas. “If you mishandle, it can really hurt your brand,” he says. “We drowned the first month, but we took that and learned from it.”
Knight Furniture & Mattress personalized its email templates to respond to each kind of customer, no matter where they are in the sales funnel. “If someone identifies themselves as just looking, and you send an email meant for an end-of-funnel customer, it can seem aggressive,” Gunn says, adding that his sales team wanted to keep the personalized approach because they know it works.
Another approach that works for some retailers involves offering something extra to the customer who takes an assessment on your website. Gallery Furniture in Houston takes the “What’s My Design Style?” information one step further by allowing customers to sign up for a design consultation in their homes.
The two-pronged approach has generated phenomenal sales, says Gallery Furniture’s Analytics Director Dan Marchione, pointing to the store’s average monthly increase of 2,091% in web registrations and 380% increase in web visitor session duration.
Start Online to Close the Deal in the Showroom
Engaging with furniture customers through online quizzes entices them to stay on your site longer, share more information about their buying journey, and gain trust to visit your store’s showroom. The longer they stay and the more you know about them gives your furniture sales staff the best tools to close the deal.
“The personalized, guided shopping experience that we’re providing to consumers is ultimately driving more showroom traffic, and we know the most likely people to buy furniture are the ones who are in the showroom,” Sears says. “Giving them a high level of service on the website is driving more showroom traffic that leads to more sales.”