The Bridge Season Two Rewind

The Bridge Season Two Rewind

In this final episode of season two of The Bridge, we will take a trip down memory lane and pull the most important takeaways of each episode to help you take the next steps in your selling journey. 

 

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This season has been nothing short of unexpected twists and turns as we figured out how to weather the pandemic. What started off as in-person recordings, quickly pivoted to Skype calls for the majority of our guests. What a blessing in disguise that was as we were able to meet and connect with so many amazing people. Thank you for sticking with us!

 

It was our goal this season to focus on sales and connect you with individuals who could provide insight on how to connect with shoppers online and transition the conversation and ultimately the sale, at an onsite physical location. We learned how to enhance the buying experience and with all of the world changes, pivot to a more virtual consultation and tour setting. 

 

We hope you enjoyed listening to season two and we can’t wait to bring you more laughs, conversations, and insight in season 3. Happy podcasting!

 

Listen to the full recap episode here.

Listen to an Episode

Using Virtual Tours in Your Multifamily Community

Learning to Leverage Digital Sales Leads

Transforming your Team with Digital Sales Training 

Personalizing the Customer Experience with a Sense of Urgency 

The New Reality of Virtual Apartment Tours 

Bridging the Gap Between Online Acquisition and Onsite Conversion

Success Goes Beyond Data

Learning Sales Enablement Without a Playbook

 

Connect with the Guests

Episode 1: Matt Weirich, Jordan Easley, Realync 

Episode 2: David Kain, Kain Automotive

Episode 3: Bryan Scott, Big Sandy Superstore

Episode 4: Desiree White, Colin Cloud, NE Property Management

Episode 5: Jenna Miller: Bozzuto, Margaret Henney: Covideo, Matt Weirich: Realync 

Episode 6: Robert Lee, Hy.ly 

Episode 7: Ellisa Fink

Episode 8: Irina Soriano, Seismic

How to Create a VIP Customer Experience while Selling Remotely

How to Create a VIP Customer Experience while Selling Remotely

In today’s reality, social distancing has become a part of normal business. Brick and mortar stores have closed storefronts or have limited business hours, forcing customers to shop online. How do you make the consumer feel important when you can only interact through a screen? 

 

Providing a personalized, top-class shopping experience should not only happen when the consumer enters through your front door. Building any kind of relationship takes time and effort. Start building that relationship online the moment the consumer visits your website. Utilizing an AI-focused website and personalized lead follow-up approach gives the online consumer an experience similar to what they would receive during an in-store visit. Here’s how your business can create a VIP customer experience

 

Personalize your lead follow-up while selling remotely 

 

Utilize data when it comes to personalized lead follow-up. Retailers should be relying on tools on their website, such as assessments and quizzes to collect as much information as possible from their customers. You can learn what style of furniture they like, what room they are looking to furnish, or how soon they are going to buy. You are also able to collect basic information such as name, phone number and email address. 

 

With that information, your sales team is equipped to personalize the outreach. If your customers are looking for a new bedroom set, leverage targeted content through email with a catalog of this year’s hottest bedroom trends. If you’ve already been in contact with them, send a picture through text message of the new set you just got in. This is also an easy way to send incentives or discounts of products to encourage them to buy.

 

Personalizing the marketing experience for your shoppers is an easy way to make them feel valued and continue to shop your products. 

 

Communicate with the consumer through text messaging 

 

Allowing the consumer an option to ask a question via a chat tool online, which gives your sales team the opportunity to follow-up with that customer immediately by text. From there, they are able to send pictures and videos of products in the showroom that the shopper isn’t able to see. This is an effective tool because unlike a chat box, the message is delivered directly to the customers phone as opposed to a chat bot online. 

 

Text messaging helps build the relationship with the customer before they enter the store. By being intentional and personalizing the message, shoppers will be more inclined to respond and be engaged later when they are ready to buy. 

 

Prioritize video calls over phone calls for the VIP customer experience

 

When shoppers were able to go in the store, video follow-up and video appointments were nice to have. Now, video appointments are essential and will likely be a preference for shoppers to save time in the future.

 

Instead of just a simple phone call, video calls bring an extra level of personalization to the conversation. Shoppers are able to see the face of the person they are speaking to much like they would in an in-store visit. Through video calls, you are also able to give tours of the showroom and let the consumer see the product for themselves as you are speaking about it. Tools like Skype, Google Hangouts, FaceTime and Zoom are all platforms you can use to host video appointments. Follow these tips to ensure you host a successful video appointment.

 

Using these tips to treat the shopper like a VIP will ensure they choose you over another brand. Making someone feel important goes a long way in building consumer trust. Good luck!

Additional Home Furnishings Resources

 

What Is Digital Retailing?

What Is Digital Retailing?

[vc_row css_animation=”” row_type=”row” use_row_as_full_screen_section=”no” type=”full_width” angled_section=”no” text_align=”left” background_image_as_pattern=”without_pattern” css=”.vc_custom_1521226682387{padding-top: 25px !important;padding-bottom: 25px !important;}” z_index=””][vc_column][vc_column_text]In this day and age, online consumers are interested in doing things on their own — everything from research to consideration and in some cases, making a purchase. The majority of today’s consumers prefer everything to be entirely self-service. Because of this, many retailers and auto dealerships have embraced digital retailing.

 

Now, you’re probably asking yourself, just what the heck is digital retailing?

 

Digital retailing, at its the most basic level, is a series of experiences that allow consumers to easily maneuver and engage with your website at different stages of their purchasing journey. One website experience leads to the next and then to the next. Simple, no?

 

The overarching concept of Digital Retailing (if explaining to someone who has no knowledge of eCommerce) is simple, but that isn’t the case when you look at “Digital retailing” from the perspective of different industries and whether or not they’re an auto dealer or consumer.

 

For consumers making a standard retail purchase, digital retailing looks like this: a consumer looks for a particular item/service (for a varying period of time), adds said item to their cart, confirms the price and then completes the purchase with payment.

 

For consumers purchasing a vehicle, digital retailing looks like this: a consumer adds their vehicle of choice to the shopping cart confirming the price and completing a purchase with payment.

 

However, digital retailing might mean something different entirely different…

 

For some dealers and retailers, digital retailing means assisting consumers with the actual deal-making process (ex: filling out paperwork, signing up for a test drive, etc.) and then conducting the actual transaction face-to-face.

 

On the flip side, it might mean doing literally everything online and simply having a vehicle or product delivered to your home.[/vc_column_text][vc_empty_space][vc_single_image image=”29445″ img_size=”full” alignment=”center” qode_css_animation=””][vc_empty_space][vc_column_text]After looking at these definitions, you might be asking yourself: which definition is correct?

 

“The reality is that they are both correct.” says EVP of Product, Stephanie Ragozzino. “But at PERQ, we know most customers aren’t ready to purchase a vehicle online. Today, the experience at the dealership is as critical a piece to the buying process as online.”

 

Digital retailing is heavily personalized based on a retailer’s business and financial goals. However, it’s important to understand that there are a few things will remain consistently true for any “type” of digital retailing method you subscribe to:

 

1. Digital retailing should be a connected experience (or series of connected experiences) that allows consumers to understand each step in the shopping process.

2. Consumers are in complete control over their journey and their destination. Additionally, they can start and stop at their leisure and start right back up where they left off.

3. Digital retailing is NOT a tool or widget, and it isn’t a bunch of different tools stitched together that aren’t connected and don’t remember the steps the consumer has already taken in their shopping process online. It shouldn’t just focus on the end of the funnel: consumers who are in the “buy phase” of their car buying journey.

4. Digital retailing experiences are made solely for the consumer in mind.

 

Here at PERQ, we encourage dealers to focus on catering to consumers who aren’t directly in the purchase phases, but rather, the discovery and research phases, too.[/vc_column_text][vc_empty_space][vc_single_image image=”17484″ img_size=”large” alignment=”center” qode_css_animation=””][vc_empty_space][vc_column_text]With so many consumers conducting the majority of their research online, it only makes sense for retailers and dealerships to offer up online experiences that help consumers receive trade-in offers, calculate their payments and narrow down their decisions regarding the right type of vehicle for them. The shopping experience online should help the car buyer in all phases of the buying funnel.

 

Next week, I’ll discuss the importance of connecting digital retailing tools and the impact they have on the consumer experience. Read our article here.[/vc_column_text][/vc_column][/vc_row][vc_row css_animation=”” row_type=”row” use_row_as_full_screen_section=”no” type=”full_width” angled_section=”no” text_align=”left” background_image_as_pattern=”without_pattern”][vc_column][vc_empty_space][vc_column_text]

Additional Auto Resources

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How to Give the Furniture Showroom Experience Online

How to Give the Furniture Showroom Experience Online

[vc_row css_animation=”” row_type=”row” use_row_as_full_screen_section=”no” type=”full_width” angled_section=”no” text_align=”left” background_image_as_pattern=”without_pattern” css=”.vc_custom_1521226682387{padding-top: 25px !important;padding-bottom: 25px !important;}” z_index=””][vc_column][vc_column_text]To attract more visitors to your furniture showroom, it’s ideal to offer shoppers an online experience that emulates an in-store showroom experience. Even more ideal is an online showroom experience that’s vastly better than a typical in-store experience.

 

As the owner of a furniture store, you shop for the best furniture to provide the best options to customers, but your website looks no different to shoppers than the next furniture retailer. To change consumer perceptions and entice them to visit your store, it’s time to set up a virtual furniture showroom.

 

“If your website isn’t user-friendly, then I’m probably not going to visit [your furniture showroom],” says homeowner Luke Fishero. He bought a dining room set from Ashley Furniture this summer, after shopping around online for about a month.

 

Fishero says when he purchased a recliner earlier this year, he didn’t do much online research and ended up visiting 15 different furniture showrooms to determine the right color, size, style, price and availability. “We were paraded around every showroom,” he says. “It’s not how I like to shop, so I did much more online ahead of time for the dining room table.”

 

Since so many shoppers prefer to look online and gather as much information as possible before visiting a store, how do you make your furniture retail website stand out and compel consumers to step through your doors? Here’s how:[/vc_column_text][/vc_column][/vc_row][vc_row css_animation=”” row_type=”row” use_row_as_full_screen_section=”no” type=”full_width” angled_section=”no” text_align=”left” background_image_as_pattern=”without_pattern” css=”.vc_custom_1521237423302{padding-top: 25px !important;padding-bottom: 15px !important;}” z_index=””][vc_column][vc_column_text css=”.vc_custom_1531343488706{padding-bottom: 25px !important;}”]

Offer the Furniture Showroom Basics

[/vc_column_text][vc_column_text]One reason so many consumers enjoy shopping on sites like Amazon and Wayfair is because they get full transparency right from the comfort of their homes. “Customers demand to know the basics — how much is it and when can they get it?” says Seth Weisblatt, owner of four Sam’s Furniture & Appliances locations in Texas. “We ensure that the availability and pricing is posted for every product on our website.”

 

When a customer walks around a furniture showroom, they can easily see the price of each piece. Weisblatt and other industry experts we interviewed say furniture retailers mistakenly think an online catalog of inventory will suffice and that posting inventory prices gives their competition an edge. It’s an old strategy that no longer holds up in this new age of technology and e-commerce.

 

Ed Tashjian, principal of Tashjian Marketing, points to pricing as the first way furniture retailers can make sure their online furniture showroom trumps the competition’s. “Retailers have to conform to the way people shop on the web,” says Tashjian, who worked at several furniture companies before starting his home furnishings consulting firm.

 

“Without pricing, it’s window shopping and nothing can happen.”

 

There are other effective ways to make sure your online furniture showroom matches the in-store experience. When a consumer steps into a furniture store, a sales representative greets them and helps them narrow down their choices.

 

The same should go for your furniture retailer website. Make consumers feel welcomed with a personalized message and help them do their research in a way that’s convenient and feels personal. If you can track that consumer from a website visit to their actual showroom visit, you’re ahead of the game.[/vc_column_text][/vc_column][/vc_row][vc_row css_animation=”” row_type=”row” use_row_as_full_screen_section=”no” type=”full_width” angled_section=”no” text_align=”left” background_image_as_pattern=”without_pattern” css=”.vc_custom_1521237423302{padding-top: 25px !important;padding-bottom: 15px !important;}” z_index=””][vc_column][vc_column_text css=”.vc_custom_1531343600216{padding-bottom: 25px !important;}”]

Go Beyond the Basics in Your Virtual Furniture Showroom

[/vc_column_text][vc_column_text]Tashjian suggests furniture retailers use their website to offer services not available in-store, such as interactive tools and engaging content that help online shoppers narrow their choices and move them closer to an in-store purchase.

 

“I don’t think retailers can mimic the physical showroom experience, which is much more of a tactile experience. It’s sitting on the furniture. It’s seeing the scale and touching the finish,” Tashjian says. “On the web, it’s a much different task, more informational and educational.”

 

He suggests furniture stores implement virtual tools that add unique value to the online furniture showroom and research process. For example: technology that allows consumers to visualize various furniture colors and fabrics, as well as connected tools that track online visitors to serve up custom suggestions and calls-to-action based on their shopping preferences.

 

Weisblatt says the vision for his website is to enhance the online shopping experience. “Nothing will replace being able to see, touch and feel the products,” he says. “Customers are pre-shopping on the web, and then come into the store to confirm their purchase. Our goal is to be the one or two stores a customer will visit. If we can accomplish this, then our business will succeed.”[/vc_column_text][/vc_column][/vc_row]

How Auto Buyers Prefer to Shop Online

[vc_row css_animation=”” row_type=”row” use_row_as_full_screen_section=”no” type=”full_width” angled_section=”no” text_align=”left” background_image_as_pattern=”without_pattern” css=”.vc_custom_1521224734716{padding-bottom: 25px !important;}” z_index=””][vc_column][vc_column_text]Dealership websites today focus primarily on the transaction and auto buyers who are ready to make a purchase. But are dealers missing out on connecting with other shoppers?[/vc_column_text][/vc_column][/vc_row][vc_row css_animation=”” row_type=”row” use_row_as_full_screen_section=”no” type=”full_width” angled_section=”no” text_align=”left” background_image_as_pattern=”without_pattern” css=”.vc_custom_1521226682387{padding-top: 25px !important;padding-bottom: 25px !important;}” z_index=””][vc_column][vc_column_text]

True or false? Consumers visit your website when they’re ready to buy a vehicle.

 

The answer? FALSE

 

Today’s auto dealership websites focus primarily on the final transaction and shoppers who are ready to make a purchase. However, data from PERQ’s recent Car Buyer’s Insight Report shows 30% of buyers say they’re in the beginning of the car buying process, while 46% say they’re in the middle. You can do the math, but three quarters of consumers who land on your website AREN’T actually ready to buy now!

 

Are you surprised? Did it confirm what you already knew? Sadly, many of today’s dealer websites are optimized only for consumers who are ready to buy. In reality, the majority of consumers visiting your website need YOUR dealership’s help in making a decision on what to buy first.

 

“Dealership websites today focus on the transaction far more than helping those car buyers in the research phase,” says Russ Chandler, Product Marketing Manager for PERQ. “There are two reasons: Dealerships want to optimize their site and get in front of the consumer when they’re ready to buy right now to help close the deal, and many of the vendor tools used on dealership websites only focus on the transaction.”

 

Dealerships need to take a step back, look at their websites more closely and rethink the way they’re using the online experience to help those visitors in the discovery and research phase of the car buying funnel.[/vc_column_text][/vc_column][/vc_row][vc_row css_animation=”” row_type=”row” use_row_as_full_screen_section=”no” type=”full_width” angled_section=”no” text_align=”left” background_image_as_pattern=”without_pattern” css=”.vc_custom_1521237406917{padding-top: 15px !important;padding-bottom: 15px !important;}” z_index=””][vc_column][vc_column_text css=”.vc_custom_1531450784405{padding-bottom: 25px !important;}”]

Modern Car Buyers Like Research

[/vc_column_text][vc_column_text]Today’s shoppers like to make sure they’re making a well informed decision. This is especially true when it comes to a major purchase like buying a car. More than 80% of customers conduct research online before ever making a purchase, according to Forbes Insights.

 

“You can try to sell a car buyer online, but they don’t want to be sold,” says Chandler. “They avoid lead traps at all costs, and you can see it in the poor performance of many digital retail products out there that don’t deliver good leads because they focus only on the transaction, not actually helping the consumer throughout the entire buying process.”

 

It’s up to dealers to help the car buyer through that journey online: moving the consumer from the discovery phase to the research phase to the buying phase, which ultimately gets them to step foot onto the dealership lot. “Optimizing your website to help consumers do the research is your way in,” says Chandler, adding it helps to build trust in your dealership. “You can give consumers a reason to choose you over a competitor.”

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Interactive Experiences Help Auto Buyers with Research

[/vc_column_text][vc_column_text]Dealerships can create a website where auto buyers wants are willing to provide their information in return for something of value: helpful information. When dealers make their website interactive and connect the tools to provide a smooth and easy shopping process, dealers will notice more consumers providing their contact info with hesitation; thus, becoming a new lead.

 

 

To help move that shopper from the discovery phase all the way to the buy phase, dealerships can try out different types of interactive experiences to help attract consumers in all phases of the buying funnel:

 

Discovery Phase

  • Welcome Guide
  • New or Used Assessment
  • Special Offer Unlock
  • Get Pre-Qualified

 

Research Phase

  • Model Match Assessment
  • Estimate My Trade-In Value
  • Lease or Finance Assessment
  • Market Price Comparison Reporting
  • Incentive Qualifier
  • Check for Price Updates
  • Check for Special Offers

 

Buy Phase

  • Chat With Live Representative
  • Check Availability
  • Make An Offer
  • Get Trade Offer
  • Request More Info
  • Schedule Test Drive
  • Apply For Financing
  • Deal Arrangement/Structure

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Get Auto Buyers to Spend More Time on Site

[/vc_column_text][vc_column_text]By creating an enjoyable and interactive experience online, dealerships are not only building trust, but helping to improve engagement and time on their website. With the above interactive experiences, auto buyers have the tools they need to get valuable information that helps them with their research.

 

Here are some example assessment questions dealers can use to help buyers decide the make and model of the vehicle they want to purchase:

 

How big is your household?

Answer selection: Just me, Me and a lot of stuff, A couple, A small family, A big family

 

What do you use your vehicle for?

Answer selection: Kids to practice, Commute to work, Camping, Hauling heavy things, Drive around town

 

What’s most important to you?

Answer selection: Fuel economy, Performance, Space, Technology

 

What type of roads do you typically drive?

Answer selection: All kinds of roads, Neighborhoods, Highway/Interstate, Country roads, City Roads

 

How important is four-wheel and/or all-wheel drive?

Answer selection: Top priority, Pretty important, Slightly important, Don’t care

 

Once a visitor answers the questions, they receive a vehicle recommendation that would work for their needs. After getting a recommendation, an interactive experience can offer up suggestions for best next steps in order to help them further their research.

 

Your auto dealership website is now engaging visitors because they feel like they’re being helped just like they would be in your dealership’s showroom. All of the interactive experiences you can provide online helps to create two-way communication.

 

The key to success is to make sure all of the tools on your site are connected, so that it remembers visitor information and never asks for the same information twice. If a visitor tells you they’re interested in new vehicles, you shouldn’t show them used vehicles, for example.

 

As we’ve discussed before, today’s shopper expects a personalized experience. You can thank big brand retailers and even OEMs for quickly realizing that the research phase for buyers is so critical in helping to build brand identity. Building trust can ultimately turn into a sale.

 

Let’s face it: auto buyers want to help themselves and they don’t want to spend any more time in your dealership than they have to. As consumers interact with your newly optimized site, you’re helping them the same way you’d help them if they were looking at cars on your dealership lot. By leveraging connected interactive experiences, you’re now helping move auto shoppers through the buying funnel.[/vc_column_text][/vc_column][/vc_row][vc_row css_animation=”” row_type=”row” use_row_as_full_screen_section=”no” type=”full_width” angled_section=”no” text_align=”left” background_image_as_pattern=”without_pattern”][vc_column][vc_empty_space][vc_column_text]

Additional Auto Resources

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