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Traffic & Ways To Get More

Furniture World Magazine


Convince shoppers who are already in the market to buy, to visit your store. Here are seven traffic sources and 10 ways to boost your numbers.

In busy and slow times, there are serious consumers who are in the market to purchase home furnishings. These prospects are the main source of digital and in-store traffic. However, any retailer’s traffic numbers will vary depending on the state of their regional economy. During housing booms, all other things being more or less equal, those numbers will increase. Right now, fewer people are in the market to buy due to high interest rates, inflation and the end of the multi-year COVID-related furniture demand.

My article in the May/June edition of Furniture World (https://www.furninfo.com/furniture-world-articles/4056) focused on increasing SPG (sales per guest) and how retailers can do more with the traffic they already get. Here, the focus will be on bringing in more traffic.

First, let’s consider seven sources that generate buyer traffic.

“No matter how much traffic is down from the ‘COVID bubble,’ THERE IS STILL TRAFFIC! Keep in mind that shoppers who do not buy today, will likely buy soon.”
  1. Location Traffic. Every retailer knows that higher traffic levels are driven by “A” type locations that are highly visible to passersby, especially from major roads with easy access near other high traffic-generating stores. When more people are already in the market to buy, a greater portion will notice your store and decide to visit. Location is one of those factors that cannot easily be changed to maximize exposure. However, improving signage, building exteriors, and any other attention attracting elements can help generate traffic.

  2. Past Traffic. Traffic is generated by past customers who will think of you first—when they are in the market to buy—if they’ve had previous satisfying buying experiences with your store. These customers already know how to find you, so your location is not usually a factor. Those who have had an average experience may visit you again. People who were unimpressed or who had sub-par experiences will likely visit a competitor.

  3. Referrals and Reviews. Traffic is generated by customers’ referrals to neighbors, friends and family. Positive reviews published in traditional media and online will, as well, cause new customers to seek out your store. Word of mouth marketing has always been a powerful influencer of traffic.

  4. “Smart retailers are continually getting better at using private events to generate traffic that results in sales.”
  5. Mass Marketing. Traffic generated from mass marketing messages such as email blasts, TV and direct mail give potential buyers a reason to visit. Unfortunately, many home furnishings retailers continue to allocate most of their advertising budget to marketing “sales” promotions to attract customers without regard to local market conditions. It may be unwise. When there is a housing boom and a healthy economy in an area, there will naturally be more consumers in the market for home furnishings. Thus, general marketing, digital and traditional, will produce better results. Conversely, in a slower economy, a flexible budget and a more targeted approach may be better since the same investment for mass campaigns will produce less traffic.

  6. Personal Relationships. Traffic is generated by personal relationships and communications of value. People prefer to buy from companies they know, like and have personal relationships with. Retailers whose teams focus on cultivating these long-term relationships and keep in touch with their customers with the right messaging at the right time produce more traffic.

  7. Digital Presence. Traffic is generated by having a robust digital presence on websites and social media.

  8. Competitive Stores. Strong and aggressive competitors will reduce your market share and lure away past customers who might have visited you first. Weak competitors can create traffic for your operation if they make a lot of noise that convinces people that they need to shop for home furnishings.

“Make use of personalized digital technology to survey your customers about their next purchase timeline. This will allow marketing software to send reminders to customers and help salespeople.”

10 Ways To More Traffic

Keeping in mind the seven reasons for traffic, here are 10 ways to generate additional traffic from consumers who are already in the market to purchase.

  1. Community Relationships. Most furniture and mattress stores get the highest percentage of sales from seating, mattresses, beds, and tables. High-performing organizations do a better job of selling add-on items such as protection, adjustable bases, rugs, pillows, lighting, accents, and accessories. Their average ticket per customer is higher as is their SPG. And, although not true for all organizations, businesses that offer financing terms typically produce higher average tickets and close rates as well.

  2. Charity Partnerships. Getting behind one or more charities is almost always a win-win-win. Giving away or matching a portion of proceeds to worthy causes helps the recipient, generates press coverage, builds your brand image and makes customers feel good about doing business with your organization.

  3. Complementary Partnerships. Partnerships and cross marketing with realtors, mortgage brokers, contractors, and apartment/condo rental businesses need to be constantly managed and cultivated. Consistent dialogue and communication are the keys to success. Dollar matching programs with partner businesses work well for many retailers. The idea is to give a credit amount for gift certificates they purchase to give away. Retailers that are the most successful with these types of pro-grams create a separate communication list within their marketing database to send automatic thank you emails and routine communications. And, to get the consumers’ information, you should require digital registration: this way, you can communicate directly with those that have the gift certificate.

  4. Managing Open Sales. The process of following up on and delivering open sales is a headache for many furniture retailers, but it can also be an opportunity. Post-sale delivery communications, for example, are an opportunity to let customers know how they can make their purchases even better. Suggest that they add an adjustable base to their mattress purchase, a rug for a living room furniture purchase, and peace of mind (protection) for unprotected products. Communicate this extra value with a combination of digital-triggered automation and a personal touch.

  5. Next-Purchase Customers. Communicating with your best customers—the ones who purchase multiple times, or who spend the most—is another key to building store traffic. That’s why it’s important to install a next-purchase traffic generating system. The old-school method used before the introduction of advanced digital technology was to have individual salespeople ask their clients about their room improvement projects, then write down that information. Although this is still a necessary first step, it’s not always dependable to rely on salespeople to follow up at the right time, every time. Make use of personalized digital technology to survey your customers about their next-purchase timeline. This will allow marketing software to send reminders to customers and help salespeople. Automated suggestions can aid and improve the customer’s continued shopping experience.

  6. Past Purchases. Similar to next-purchase communication, salespeople should follow up with customers regarding their past purchases. In addition to making sure that they are satisfied with their delivered items, review pictures taken by delivery or design staff of customers’ rooms post-delivery. Also, communicate (via email, sms, voice) with customers at scheduled times—perhaps at one month, six months and one year after delivery. Past-purchase automated follow up communication is made more effective by adding personalized details.

    Create different messages that depend on what was purchased. For example:

    • Notify customers who purchased a “no use, no lose protection plan” five years ago that they can apply the full amount toward 50% off any new bedding or furniture purchase.

    • If a customer made a previous purchase from a well-known vendor, and that vendor has an important new introduction, you may want to communicate that. If you have a loyalty program, include that customer’s point balance with this message.

    • If your marketing database contains additional useful information such as customers’ birthdays, likes and dislikes, children living at home and any other relevant lifestyle profiling, use that information to create highly targeted communications.

  7. Private Events. VIP events have been around since I joined the industry many years ago. However, smart retailers are continually getting better at using private events to generate traffic that results in sales. Here are some best practices:

    • Schedule events on Thursdays or Fridays. Avoid weekends (as these are already busy days).
    • Require buy-in from your entire organization.
    • Ask each salesperson to make a specified number of generally scripted telephone calls that explain the offer and the value of attending the event.
    • Require each of these sales associates to schedule a specified number of appointments.
    • Right before an event, send a final text or e-mail to a targeted audience of past customers.
  8. Provide Value Content. Review your websites and social media platforms regularly to make sure they include complete and timely information that will attract prospects and past customers. Most furniture websites are static with respect to non-inventory content. To shoppers, many retailers’ sites look virtually identical to one another. Retailers who want to set their operation apart should put effort and creativity into their platforms. Consider dedicating a portion of your website to dynamic content, traditionally known as blogging. You can post pictures, write about design trends, highlight room plans, showcase products and discuss lifestyle trends. If you do this consistently, you will generate a tighter following as time goes by.

  9. Use QR Codes. QR codes are an excellent way to provide convenient and necessary information to lead your audience down a desired path. Once scanned, the QR redirects to a specific predetermined place of purpose, captures information, and provides value. Here are some examples:

    • Scan for a free prize.
    • Scan for product service.
    • Scan for order update.
    • Scan to protect your product.
    • Scan to register for the private event.
    • Scan for extra savings.


    As a practical example, scan the QR code below to get a free gift that will help you make more sales from the traffic you get:

  10. Grow Digital Traffic. Your current digital traffic is a solid predictor of future physical traffic. There have been volumes written on this topic so I will summarize with the following best practices:

    • Hire an experienced digital marketing expert, either on staff or with a marketing agency, to measure, interpret and adjust your online platforms.
    • Track traffic and the sources of traffic to your websites.
    • Continually improve your paid search campaigns and keyword mix.
    • Grow organic traffic with dynamic content.
    • Develop innovative messaging to stand out from your competitors in your market areas.
    • Tell stories with words, videos, and pictures.
    • Have multiple ways and online incentives for prospects to give you their contact information.
    • Connect your website to your digital marketing system and/or CRM.


There are many ways to generate traffic to increase sales. Understanding the reasons why potential buyers in your market area visit is a great first step. Apply practices such as following up on open sales, fostering relationships with past customers, hosting private events, providing value with content and using available technology. These are all essential to effective traffic building.

Taking these actions will help you get more traffic from prospective customers who are in the market for home furnishings. Put a plan into action, re-allocate resources to whichever techniques you decide on, establish KPIs, and track the results. Continuously improve upon ways to reach prospective buyers and strengthen your existing relationships.


See all of David McMahon’s articles here. He can be reached with questions about this or other retail operations topics at david@performnow.com.


About David McMahon 
David McMahon is founder of PerformNOW Inc.  PerformNOW has three main products that help home furnishings businesses improve and innovate: Performance Groups (Owners, Sales managers, Operations), PerformNOW CXM (Customer eXperience Management systems and processes), Furniture business consulting.  Your can reach David at david@performnow.com.