It might be surprising for retail furniture store owners to learn most people still prefer to shop inside an actual store. Given the growth in online sales, this may even seem like a fantasy. But customers choose to shop online simply because it’s a lot easier. Maybe they’re tired of pushy salespeople. Maybe they’re disappointed with the in-store selection. Maybe they’ve forgotten how nice it can be to discuss what they want with someone who can actually help.
But there are ways for retailers to give their customers the best retail store experience and have their customers give them another shot. Once a retailer knows why a consumer chooses Amazon or Wayfair over an in-store experience, they do more to bring their customers back indoors.
Bricks and Clicks
Furniture retailers aren’t universally known for their commitment to technology. Customers may find their websites to be clunky or just plain unhelpful. ‘Bricks and clicks’ is the idea of merging both online and in-store shopping together. Customers get a multi-channel experience that covers exactly what they need from all angles.
For example, if you know a customer is looking for an armchair, you can send a text message about an upcoming sale. You can also send an email that gives more details about the sale. The email allows a customer to click through to the website to find out more about the selection. Finally, they select a chair and then make their way to the store to buy it.
People want to know that they can integrate their virtual experience with their physical one. They want to be able to reserve furniture online, so they can rest assured it won’t sell out. Stores can learn how people relate to technology by keeping up with new trends and technologies.
As more options become available, stores will find the new technology easier to implement and cheaper to use. Customers will be able to pick out, pay for, and check-out seamlessly without the hassle.
Go BIG on Data
Big Data has been a buzzword for retailers for many years now, but not many realize the true power of it. Despite its promise, it’s difficult to wrestle with the numbers to determine a clear path ahead. But people who harness the power of analytics can narrow down what their customers are looking for.
The more you understand the motivations of a customer, the more likely it is they’ll find what they want. Working with third-party companies can make it easy for smaller outlets to get the compiled data they need. This data establishes buyer patterns and gives retailers a way to track their key performance indicators.
Fast data tracks data in motion, which means that retailers get the information they need when they need it. Retailers get fast feedback from sources such as email, mobile activity, and databases so that they can make decisions quickly. Once you know an idea isn’t improving the in-store experience, you can scrap it immediately.
The end result is that retailers have a more streamlined understanding of the desired buyer experience vs. the one they’re getting now, so that everyone gets the best retail store experience possible. They know what’s bringing a customer in, what they want, and how well the store is meeting a customer’s expectations. Retailers see which products are tracking well, which sales strategies are hitting home, and why customers accept or reject certain messages.
Invest in Digital Customer Experiences
Retailers can’t discount just how important a customer’s digital experience is to their in-store experience. A good digital experience on a company or social media site can be enough to tempt a customer to the store! Retailers need to excite rather than overwhelm a digital user when showcasing their selection.
Retailers should meet their customer’s expectations head-on and go above and beyond whenever possible. Websites, social media campaigns, digital marketing correspondence — calibrate it all to fit your company’s brand. Whether the message is fun, practical, or economical, it’s all about consistency. It can make it more likely that people will actually engage.
For example, one thing you might want to think about is including 3D representations of your products. This type of visualization can help your customers:
- Plan the layout for the room
- Double check the color scheme before buying
- Open their eyes to more of your products
- Create their own custom designs
- Merge the digital experience to their physical location
it may sound odd, but investing in the digital experience is a way to show in-store shoppers that brick-and-mortar stores are still relevant. The more a furniture retailer keeps up with the changing landscape, the more likely it is they’ll be able to weather the storms that come their way.
Sell with Social Media
Social media is often overlooked as a selling tool because it can be difficult to track the efforts through direct profits. But social media works in much subtler ways, which is why retailers have to think of it differently. Create a presence that customers can look to for to both have fun a learn something about decorating.
Furniture sparks opinions and retailers can take advantage of this on social media. Try asking people to post photos of their rooms or to comment on color and form. This encourages discussion and helps visitors connect with the company on a different level.
The best retail store experience for a customer is one where they feel like their needs are met. Social media is a good way to figure out what those needs are without seeming overly pushy. Customers get tired of constantly filling out surveys. However, a spirited (hopefully respectful) debate on Facebook can be just what they need to push themselves to make a change.
Retailers who understand social media will use it as just one tool of many in their arsenal to bring people inside. The tone of the website and social media sites can be enough to convince people that if they’re looking for the >best retail store experience, they won’t find it at one of your competitors.
It’s not easy to create an incredible in-store experience for a customer, but it may not be as difficult as you’re making it either. There are plenty of ways to harness the power of digital media to get people out of their homes and into the bright lights of your furniture store. If you want to learn more about how you can get the right digital marketing. there are resources available! To bring your business to the next level, contact MicroD to find out more about how we can help!