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Winning Website Tip #1 From PERQ

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Slow times in furniture and appliance showrooms used to strike at a predictable pace. Weekends always bustled with shoppers and certain shifts consistently struggled. Advertising campaigns reliably increased store traffic, with local promotions undiluted by a deluge of online ads and endless marketing channels.

 

That was all before consumers could research and buy anything 24/7. People worked simple 9 to 5 shifts, and everyone wasn’t so crunched for time.

 

“I wish [store traffic] was as predictable as it once was,” says Joey Gunn, vice president of Knight Furniture & Mattress in Texas. “Advertising is less predictable and there are a million radio and tv channels. We just have to be prepared at all times.”

 

At Knight’s two locations, Gunn says weekday foot traffic has increased over the years, but weekends still draw the biggest crowds on average. “Twelve years ago when I started, there were many Saturdays you didn’t dare take off work,” Gunn says. “Now, I’m noticing we still have good Saturdays, but we’re more often having better weekdays.”

 

Faced with erratic consumer shopping behaviors, home furnishing stores not only need to prepare for the busy times, but also plan for the inevitable lulls in the showroom. Help your sales team make the most of its down time by tapping into the already-engaged audience visiting the store’s website. 

 

Win the Website Experience to Attract Shoppers

To drive more showroom traffic, retailers must first stand out among the competition by engaging consumers on its website. Shoppers do almost all of their research online before deciding which one or two stores to visit.

 

“You have to consistently have a website that’s better than anyone else’s in the market so you earn that business,” Gunn says. “A consumer visits 1.6 stores on average before making a purchase, which means if they’re in front of you it’s yours to lose.”

Add interactive tools like a design style quiz or sofa assessment to capture a website visitor’s attention and increase the time spent on the site. Marketing research shows the more web experiences a consumer engages with on a retailer’s website, the likelihood they’ll buy from that store goes up exponentially.

 

“Deliver unique, direct value to consumers to differentiate your store from the competition,” says Doug Stump, National Sales Director at PERQ, an Indianapolis technology marketing company that partners with home furnishing stores across the country. “Give shoppers research tools and some guidance on what products might be a good fit for them.” 

 

Personalize CTAs and Incentives to Drive Foot Traffic

Once they’re done researching, give each website visitor a specific reason to visit the showroom in person. Serve up smart calls to action that move the consumer closer to purchase, such as scheduling a design consultation or getting pre-approved for financing.

 

Entice online consumers further with personalized incentives based upon each shopper’s behavior on the store website. After they complete a sofa assessment to find the best style for their home, deliver the results and then a coupon for $100 off their in-store purchase.

 

Whenever the showroom is slow, ask the sales team to spend time poking around on the store website. Verify all online promotions are current and evaluate each portion of the website to decide if the store should tweak its approach. Consistently review and track the store’s website analytics to learn what works best and what doesn’t convert customers for your particular market and target audience.

 

“Home furnishing retailers can gain valuable information and insights into how consumers are shopping on their website,” says Jay Kinney, a PERQ client success manager. “From there, they can use this data to reach out to individual consumers to answer any follow-up questions or provide in-store expertise.”

Dive into Consumer Profile Data

 

Interactive features and tools collect useful details about each potential customer like what products they’re interested in, when they plan to buy, contact information and how they prefer to communicate. Capturing as much information as possible from every consumer who engages with the website drastically increases the number of viable leads your salespeople can chase when business slows down.

“If we give our sales team people to talk to, they’ll turn them and form those relationships,” Gunn says. “If you’re paying attention, consumer profiles read like a book. We can see what style they prefer, all the questions they answered online, and all of our website pages they visited. Follow their journey. No one else is going to do that. That’s how we’re going to be better and stand out.”

 

Knight Furniture sales representatives follow up on every single website lead, but that approach isn’t feasible for every furniture and appliance store. Gunn admits they struggled at first and had to decide how to best respond to the influx of detailed website leads they received after making the site interactive.

 

“Quite a few stores only follow up with ‘hot leads’ who are in the market to buy now,” Kinney says. “If the store is in a slow period, reach out to some of the leads that are higher in the sales funnel and offer some help or advice.”

 

Convert Website Traffic with Quality Leads

Gunn recommends capitalizing on consumer profile data to personalize your store’s lead follow-up approach. Don’t aggressively approach shoppers who say they’re still in the research phase, but instead thank them for visiting the site and offer assistance. For consumers who are ready to buy now, send them a couple of options that are similar to what they looked at online. Alert them if a relevant item goes on sale or send them a customized promotion to invite them to visit the store.

 

Quality lead information makes converting website traffic to in-store sales much easier, if the salesperson takes the time to dive into the data and delivers the proper response at the right time. It’s the most productive way to spend downtime at the store.

 

“We had to write a new manual on how to respond,” Gunn says. “We have a few people who spend a few hours of their day in a new way, but it works. We used to train our salespeople for the masses, but now we train to serve the individual customer, which is a way better way.”



More about PERQ: PERQ (www.perq.com), boosts website conversion through its online guided shopping solution which leverages artificial intelligence to dynamically change existing websites to deliver the next best step in each buyer’s shopping journey. As experts in online consumer engagement and behavior, PERQ leverages over 10 million consumer data points, along with real-time visitor behavior.

Founded in 2001, PERQ solutions are used by more than 1,000 businesses in the home furnishing, auto retailing and multifamily industries. Its brands have been named to the Inc. “500 Fastest Growing Companies in America” list on three separate occasions. In 2017, PERQ won the Gold Stevie® Award for lead generation software and Product of the Year in the Big Business Awards.

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