Holiday shopping can feel overwhelming as a home furnishings retail store owner. Black Friday and Cyber Monday holiday ecommerce shopping isn’t traditionally a home furnishings holiday shopping boom. But over time, retailers have adopted the season of shopping. It’s the last chance before floor sales and clearance promotions close out the year. This means retailers have to adopt complicated and competitive methods to bring online holiday shoppers to the retail store. There’s so much noise about what you should do online and shouldn’t do offline. That’s why we’re going to break down the holiday ecommerce strategies you can apply for this and every holiday shopping season. Plus we’ll explore how the O2O model builds more success this season.
Are you wondering how to compete with other online stores like Amazon? Focus on what’s important to your customers and what sets you apart. Focus on why your customers are coming to you for a big-ticket item like furniture. Differentiate yourself, and find ways to entice your customers to come into your store this holiday instead of shopping at Amazon or other online retailers.
How You Beat Amazon with Holiday Ecommerce
But of course, when you’re competing with the Cyber Monday giant, you have to adopt some of their online methods in your online to offline strategy.
Of course, your customers know that Amazon offers furniture. Listen to our podcast episode about Amazon selling home furnishings.
Amazon is the world’s largest online retailer. It has consistently captured an ever-greater share in the furniture market, with a growth of 51% in one year to reach $4 billion in 2017 and similar increases in 2018. Let’s discuss why Amazon has been able to make such huge gains year-over-year, and the strategies you can use to be more competitive:
Amazon’s customer purchase criteria (CPC) includes reliable service, price, and fast delivery. The company managed to make a name for itself because it focuses on fulfilling the CPC better than its competitors. Amazon’s success is an inspiration for our retail business. It’s a reminder of how important it is to focus on those factors that are important to your customers.
New revenue streams
Amazon started selling books in 1995, but it has grown and developed revenue streams until it’s now one of the largest and most diversified eCommerce companies. Diversification should be a primary goal of every retail business. It’s important to expand into new markets and product categories particularly in time for the holidays.
Optimize Your Website
If you take Amazon as an example, it’s a successful holiday ecommerce retail portal that’s designed to be eye-catching, easy to navigate, with features designed to generate leads, capture and drive traffic around the site, and convert sales.
Show More Products Online
Your furniture eCommerce website works for you 24/7, just like Amazon. So, you can’t just rely on product descriptions and compelling testimonials. You need to show your products, and demonstrate how your products will improve the lives of your customers. You can also take your online show-and-tell to a whole new level, with custom features that take your holiday content to the next level.
Better product photography
While Amazon features stock photography, you have a competitive advantage by offering unique photography targeted to your customers. Feature photography that features compelling and immersive spaces, with input from your team of expert interior designers. With the customized photography as such a focal point for your website, you can add a holiday spin.
Better product visualization
Amazon offers lots of products, but they don’t yet offer the level of product visualization that MicroD supports for holiday ecommerce. Your customers are able to see your products in their homes. Instead of the game of guess-and-return, your customers can see and experience products in a way that’s virtually immersed in their familiar space. For the holidays, it’s also important for your customers to experience how your solution(s) will look-and-feel for the holidays.
Make it interactive
The level of an interactive functionality that MicroD supports for your website is unique, unlike what you’ll experience on Amazon on any other eCommerce site. You can incorporate style quizzes, contests online, and guided shopping based on the customer’s browsing history. All of that interactive content can also revolve around targeted holiday themes and content, with sync between holiday ecommerce to offline shopping.
While Amazon is limited as to how far they can go to support custom and interactive design functionality and features. Amazon also does not have a team of interior designers who can offer that extra layer of personalized customer engagement content like the online room planning tool for designers. With iNGAGE, you’re able to support precisely targeted custom promotions and messaging that engages with your customers and also supports higher levels of conversion. The custom design capabilities are particularly important for holiday shopping.
Make Your Marketing Stand Out
You have the local spin. You’re hyper-focused marketing on your geographical area, so you’ll see the greatest ROI on those efforts. While you’re focused on your holiday content and products, you’re also promoting the local town, store, location, community. Amazon can’t do that.
So, while you can learn a great deal by studying holiday ecommerce stores like Amazon, remember that you have a great deal to offer your customer base. The idea here is not to throw out all the very powerful and effective work that you’ve been doing. You just need to add additional marketing strategies and channels to make sure that you’re taking advantage of the true power of your brand, your local audience, and the power of the stellar products and services that you offer.
Focus on geotargeting your ads and social media posts for specific zip codes, your local city, your state, or even your neighborhood. The idea is to target proximity. You can also focus your website content on your local sphere of influence as well. By targeting your onsite keywords for your local customers’ needs, you’re also able to offer holiday content that’s specifically targeted to your local demographic.
Reinforce customer service
One of the critical pieces of your local competitive advantage is the level of personalized customer service that you’re able to offer to your customers. That’s a level of service that many nationally focused companies just aren’t able to support. It’s a focus that allows you to invite your customers down to the store for a consult. You can encourage our customers to take advantage of the hands-on consultation and immersive experience just in time for the holidays.
It’s important to target your local audience, but that also holds true to more than just your online and social media spheres of influence. One of the most powerful ways to target your local market is via segmented lists. By carefully targeting your local content to the most appropriate local lists, you’re able to offer different promotions for each demographic or group. Instead of blasting generic emails to customers, you’re able to specifically address their needs, which will get you a better ROI. Email segmentation and distribution is particularly important in online to offline shopping for holiday content and promotional activities.
How to Entice Your Online Customers to Come to the Store
There can be a disconnect between the holiday ecommerce shoppers to your offline shoppers, particularly when it relates to holiday promotions. While your online property is designed to answer questions, offer descriptions, and show your customers the solutions they need, many of your customers will still benefit from the in-store experience. Particularly when it comes to the holidays, your customers may find that they need that next level of interaction and consulting to determine which of your products will best meet their needs.
Make it an experience
Experiential shopping can combine and link the online space with your brick-and-mortar store. No single element of your retail experience can or should be considered alone. All the pieces can and should work together in unison. You can read about, research, and make comparisons between products online. But many customers really will benefit from an in-store experience. Try to encourage and entice that in-store experience. You can host events, special promotions, and consultations as ways for your customers to deepen their connection with you. And they’ll learn more about what you have to offer. You can also ask your customers to come down to your retail store, so they’ll be sure to be prepared for the holidays.
Create a Treasure Hunt
One way to entice your holiday ecommerce customers to come into the store is to create a sense of anticipation with a treasure hunt. You can link together the online to offline shopping spheres by posting and promoting special deals that capture and drive traffic between your various platforms while continuing to include action-oriented directives that lead to conversions and sales. Interactive, multi-level contents and promos are the perfect excuse to entice your customers into your store in time for the holidays.
Find real products
There will always be those product solutions that will capture the attention of your audience, particularly with the MicroD product visualization tools. The depth of your online content and the immersive virtual experience will drive your customers to take the next step of visiting you in your store. You want to offer as much information as possible, with images and 3D interactivity, but you also want it to be an easy decision for your customers to come down to your store and experience the real deal. Give them a reason, an excuse, or an event where they can learn more and connect with your staff and immersive in-store solutions, bridging the gap between online to offline shopping. With the holidays imminent, that’s always a powerful reason to suggest a visit to your brick-and-mortar space.
Offer real products and services, while continually evolving the focus of your promotions. Never forget that you are here to meet the needs of your customers, so remember to ask for referrals and reviews. By listening to the feedback from customers and prospects, you have an opportunity to improve your online to offline shopping customer experience. You also have the ongoing opportunity of developing a relationship with your customers. Even if they don’t buy today, how you respond to customer concerns and feedback can help to build trust. And trust will facilitate a long-term relationship with the customer. The next interaction could just mean a conversion.
Holiday Ecommerce Strategy in the Store
The holidays are both challenging and rewarding. You may feel like you’re juggling the multi-faceted decisions. Bring your customers into your store. Educate them about your products. Then convert them into sales. You’re not alone in your efforts though. MicroD is rooted in the home furnishings industry and it has been for 25 years.
MicroD helps you to personalize and target a level of interactive experience that crosses from online to offline shopping sphere. Evidence suggests that your customers will buy 40% more based on personalized content. You’ll also see more conversions and a higher ROI.
Yet, 74% of your customers will get frustrated if you deliver content that is generalized. As part of the wave of the future, you deliver the customer experience. It’s what your audience is looking for. They really don’t want the same old content or recommendations they’ve always seen before.
They want the package deal, but also to feel like what you’re delivering has already taken into account all the home furnishings brand catalogs, styles, products, and collections and you’ve honed it all down based on what you know about your customer. Your customers want to feel like you care what they need and want. But they also want to feel like you understand where they’re coming from. They want to be on the same page with you. And to prepare your store for holiday ecommerce, particularly with the holidays on the horizon.