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Three Fundamental Retailing Tools For 2018

Furniture World Magazine
Volume 148 NO.1 January/February


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Three tools, that used together will amplify your message, capture prospect contact information and supercharge your online advertising spend.


As we begin the New Year it makes sense to focus on three key tools that provide the biggest opportunity for furniture and bedding retailers to succeed on Main Street.

1. Market to your strengths & unique selling position.

Simply put, your marketing messages should be able to answer why your retail operation, out of all other options available to consumers is the best choice.

Remember, your unique selling position or positions, depending on the types of additional services you offer, MUST include unique, exclusive to you reasons why consumers you target should buy from you.
As an example, in my stores, our core marketing message and statement is, "At Gardner’s we help you wake up happy. Sleep is powerful and a new sleep system from Gardner’s helps you to be a better 'you'. Our 7 Step Wake Up Happy Promise is a simple step-by -step process to help you find the perfect mattress and your happiness is guaranteed with our 120 Night Wake Up Happy Comfort Guarantee. If you’re not the best you after sleeping on a Gardner’s Mattress & More sleep system we will happily exchange it with absolutely no fee to you.”

Check out (on the following page) Gardner's "7 Step Wake Up Happy Promise", a document that not only communicates our unique selling position but also governs our advertising and selling processes.
Now let’s suppose you also had a solid marketing message. How is that being amplified by your advertising? Does your advertising support the marketing message you’ve defined? Or, does it un-glue all the hard work and effort you’ve invested over the years?

If our advertising only spoke of deep discounts, pictured simple photos of white rectangles and a buy today message, and pay later financing offers, the foundation of our marketing and the reason why we exist in the market place would be completely undone.

Nothing about this style of advertising would support our marketing message. I’m not saying these tactics don’t work, but this type of advertising (price, product pictures and discounts), would dilute our marketing messages and would actually slow the growth and success of our store. It’s possible this is what is happening in your business.

In a market where most everyone's advertising looks more or less the same, featuring price, sales and holiday blow outs, your opportunity for improvement in 2018 is to define your marketing message so it is truly unique to you. Only then can your marketing message truly connect with your customers.

2. Do more with less in your retail operation.

Let’s face it, the Internet is here to stay. That said, we should remember that all online commerce right now only represents one in 10 purchases according to the National Federation of Retailers. It would seem as though in our industry some days, this number is closer to nine in 10! It also seems some days that our showrooms only exist to support online business.

More Offers

I once heard a well-known high-profile marketing consultant say, “the success of your business directly correlates to the number of offers you make in your business.”

With that profound statement in mind, how many offers can you truly make to prospects? You might be thinking that the only time you get to make an offer and sell something is when there is a customer in your store, but that is incorrect thinking.

You invest dollars to drive eyeballs to your website. If you don't make offers to those prospective customers who visit your website, automatically using CRM technologies, you are leaving lots of money on the table. These technologies ask for and collect the names and emails of those folks who visit your site. From there, those leads need to be followed-up via email to drive them into your store.
Smart retailers are seeing upwards of six percent of visitors being added to their prospect lists via smart website experiences. That's names and emails folks! These same retailers who use the collected names and emails systematically and automatically to generate in-store visits, can generate upwards of 12 percent conversion to paid customers. Here's an example of what is possible.

  • 5,000 monthly visitors

  • 5 percent opt in for email offers

  • 250 leads begin receiving offers to visit your store

  • 17 of those leads become paying customers each month

  • 233 leads remain for ongoing marketing efforts

Now apply this same kind of thinking to those who have visited but have yet to buy. Are you solely eating what you kill today in your stores? Isn’t it time to embrace the customer experience and implement steps along their buying journey in which your store sends offers to these prospects to visit your store again and complete their purchase? Another example,

  • 500 monthly store visitors

  • 30 percent closing rate

  • 150 customers

  • 350 prospects remain which most stores simply ignore e.g. eat today what we kill today

  • 20 percent of those prospects come back to buy again, resulting in 70 new customers

  • Raising the effective closing rate to nearly 50 percent

What would these offers and having this kind of impact on your closing ratio do for your business in 2018? Remember as store traffic continues to dwindle year-over-year there will be a point in time in which you simply have no choice but to adapt and make more offers to potential customers in every way possible.

3. Seek to understand how digital advertising can be a blessing and a curse.

It's true that the ways in which people engage with digital media is different than how they once engaged with traditional offline media.

The very first thing to understand is that digital advertising is not digital marketing. Just like Yellow Book advertising, radio advertising, TV or billboard advertising - digital advertising is exactly that, an advertising medium. The rules HAVE NOT changed simply because the medium has changed. No matter what the gurus, experts and snake oil salespeople tell you, it is just advertising! As such, at a minimum, digital advertising should incorporate the following core elements.

  • A compelling attention grabbing headline: It should snap the neck and stop readers in their tracks!

  • An offer: Lately, “buy this, get that” offers seem to be working very well. Consider offers like cell phone service, free streaming TV services or free smart home devices with a purchase.

  • A call to action: What’s next? Click this, give an email here, call us now!

  • A deadline: If you do not give a deadline, there will be no reason for your prospective customer to respond now.

Beyond these core elements of effective advertising, when it comes to understanding digital media you need to be sure the media you are buying is congruent with your goals.
If you have a website set up to collect names and emails, it is perfectly fine to buy digital media that simply drives eyeballs to your website.

But, if you do not have such a website, you are wasting precious ad dollars because eyeballs alone do not pay the bills, at least not systematically.

Conclusion

A compelling and unique selling proposition, combined with a lead generating website supported by smart digital advertising are three fundamental retailing tools. Each can be useful alone, but used together they can create a measurable and profitable path to a successful 2018.

About Jeff Giagnocavo: Jeff Giagnocavo is co-owner of the retailer Gardner’s Mattress & More and the co-creator of Mattress Retailer Weekly. Mattress Retailer Weekly is shared with you every week so you can get new customers, stay ahead of your competition and increase your sales tickets. Get your FREE subscription by visiting www.RenegadeMattressRetailer.com or text MRW to 484-303-4300.
Read other articles by Jeff Giagnocavo