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Internet Is Key to Influencing Home Furnishings Shoppers to Buy

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The Internet captures just over 5 percent of the total home furnishings market, according to the latest study of the home furnishings market from Unity Marketing. So some home furnishings marketers might assume they don't need to put much emphasis on their websites and other Internet marketing strategies. That would be a big mistake, it turns out. "Even if it accounts for less than 10 percent share of this $264 billion market, the Internet is an important distribution channel for home marketers,'" says Pam Danziger, president of Unity Marketing and author of the new report, The Home Furnishings and Decor Report 2008, which includes a special investigation into the role of the Internet in home furnishings buying and decorating decisions. "But the real power of the Internet comes from its ability to influence the shopper," Danziger shares. "Home shoppers turned to the Internet first when they wanted to learn about new items to buy to decorate or remodel their home. The Internet ranked ahead of in-store displays and sales associates, word-of-mouth and magazine ads in terms of influencing the shopper. So the Internet plays a much larger role than many marketers may suspect simply from looking at raw online sales data alone." Danziger continues, "When it comes to making purchasing decisions, shoppers want facts and figures that they can use to compare brands and offerings. Today's shopper expects the highest quality product possible along with exceptional value, especially when so many brands are vying for scarce discretionary dollars, and it takes information to determine quality and value," Danziger explains. "This is just the kind of data the Internet provides so well. The Internet moves beyond the traditional marketing communications role of increasing brand awareness into being a significant means of influencing consumer behavior. After all, influencing the shopper is every marketer's ultimate goal. When used properly and strategically, the Internet is proven to be the most powerful influencer available to home marketers and retailers." "The big take-away? Home furnishings and decor marketers must offer a robust online presence, packed with data that includes price, product details, brand information, and customer reviews and feedback. These elements are part of the 'new customer service' that the Internet offers and which truly influence purchase," says Danziger. Unity Marketing's Home Furnishings and Decor Report 2008 helps marketers take action In order to bridge the gap between research findings and actionable marketing strategies, the Home Furnishings & Decor Report 2008 is packed full of advice and recommendations for marketers. Rather that leave the reader guessing, it shows marketers how to put the research-based insights to work in building their businesses and their connection with the target consumer. To review sample pages of the report, click this link. The report analyzes the results of a survey among 1,360 consumers (average income $123,900; 65 percent female; average age 44.3 years) and 1,026 affluent consumers (average income $204,800; 64 percent female; average age 45 years). The two surveys combined provide perspectives on both the mass and the luxury market for home furnishings marketers and retailers. Details are provided in the report about : - Demographics that characterize the prime home furnishings consumer - What consumers have and what they own, including size of house and lot, indoor and outdoor features of their home; luxuries they own including second homes - How they define luxury in their lifestyle and in terms of their home furnishings purchases - Recent home changes and planned changes, including rooms involved, features changed Purchase detail, including type of product, amount spent, where bought and whether the items bought were on sale; a luxury or mass brand; and/or a necessity or a desire-driven purchase. Further the key attributes that influenced the most recent purchase are analyzed in four product categories: * Linens, home decorating fabrics, window and wall coverings * Furniture, mattresses and foundations, lamps and lighting, floor coverings and rugs * Outdoor lawn, patio, garden products * Kitchen and/or laundry major appliances, kitchen and bath fixtures, cabinetry, countertops and other building products. - Where consumers gather decorating advice and their favorite decorating styles - Special investigation into use of home decorators and how the Internet influences home consumers - In-depth study of the shopping behavior of home consumers, including favorite stores, where they regularly and occasionally turn for home needs, what service features influence them in the places they like to shop. - Attitudes about home furnishings and home decorating, including the identification of five distinct personalities that make up the home consumer marketplace. For more information on the new Home Furnishings & Decor Report 2008 and how marketers can use the information in support of their marketing strategies and tactics, call Pam Danziger at 717-336-1600 or visit http://www.unitymarketingonline.com/cms_home/homedecor.php

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