Embrace four successful strategies to promote your furniture business online.
How do you build adaptability into your business? It’s a top-of-mind question for business owners across industries during this time of ongoing change and unpredictability. For furniture retailers also dealing with major shifts in what buyers are looking for and how they want to buy, the need to adapt is critical to staying competitive in a hyper-competitive industry.
Large, single-use investment pieces have given way to smaller, multi-purpose pieces. Showrooms where people can test and touch furniture are less important, as shoppers opt to make their furniture purchases online — especially during the pandemic. In this new reality, furniture companies have to prioritize digital marketing or risk being left behind.
If you’re not sure how to begin marketing furniture products for online sales, Postmedia has identified four proven industry best practices to set you up for success.
How can I promote my furniture business online?
Know your customers: what they want, their pain points and their buying journey
Think about your marketing strategy as a way to help customers move through each stage of the buying journey: awareness, consideration and decision. With that mindset, build a buyer persona for your ideal customer.
A buyer persona is a research-based fictionalized version of your target shopper. It describes who they are, what they want, their challenges, their interests and how they make decisions. The buyer personas will inform and allow you to personalize all of your marketing and advertising campaigns. This is critical as 66 per cent of customers expect companies to understand their needs and expectations.
Tip: Conduct in-store and online surveys to learn more about your customers/ideal buyers, including demographics, what they do, average income, hobbies and likes.
Show up where your customers are
Use a combination of traditional advertising and social platforms. Radio, television and print ads are still effective ways to market furniture. Use this type of advertising to build brand awareness. Put your ideal customer’s characteristics to work to determine the outlets that will best help you reach these buyers and to develop ads that resonate with them.
Tip: Encourage people to come to your store or visit your website by offering coupons, exclusive items or some other form of a lead magnet.
Direct the bulk of your ad budget to digital campaigns across the social channels your customers use.
Instagram is all about striking visuals, which makes it a natural fit for furniture retailers. Ask customers/followers to share photos of your furniture in their homes and to tag you. Repost these images.
Facebook is the first social platform and offers strong ad targeting tools. It inserts paid ads that look like regular posts into users’ feeds, capturing their attention in a natural way.
YouTube and video are fast-growing social media marketing tools. Look at the numbers: 86 per cent of businesses use video to market their products and services — up 41 per cent since 2016. Ninety-three per cent of marketers who use video say it’s integral to their overall marketing strategy.
Creating shoppable videos that allow users to click on products and be directed to where they can buy them is an effective way for furniture retailers to promote their business and increase sales. Training and education videos on furniture placement or how to clean and restore wood surfaces, for example, can help drive traffic to your site. Product reviews and demonstration videos help people experience products and visualize them in their homes, and encourage them to buy.
Fast fact: 92 per cent of consumers read at least one review before making a purchase.
Pinterest is a popular destination for people to share and find design and decorating inspiration. Link customer photos of rooms with your furniture to your site.
Snapchat is emerging as a way to market to younger audiences. Get ahead of your competition and develop a following now.
A few tips for social:
- Post beautiful photos and relevant videos people will want to share on your social media channels.
- Ask customers/social media followers to share photos of your furniture in their homes.
- Use your social platforms to promote online and in-store sales and promotions.
- Evite existing customers and people who have shown interest in your products on your website and social media channels to register for a regular newsletter and product updates.
Leverage paid digital advertising
Paid search involves promoting your products by placing text or shopping ads on search engine results pages and works on a pay-per-click (PPC) model. Since you only pay when someone click on your ad, it’s easy to measure and many paid search ad campaigns. The biggest benefits of paid search advertising is it allows you to target people with intent to research or buy what you’re selling. Keyword targeting can help you find new customers at the start of their buying journey.
Paid social and social media ads. Unlike organic posts, these ads are sponsored and can take the form of PPC advertising, branded content and display ads. They can help you reach targeted audiences based on demographics, products shoppers have already viewed or other parameters that will take you to your ideal buyer.
Affiliate marketing can help you expand your reach to new customers by linking to another site. RetailMeNot, Rakuten and SlickDeals are popular third-party affiliate sites for furniture retailers.
Transform your website into a great customer experience
As e-commerce continues to grow across industries, it’s important to prioritize your website as the face of your brand and core of your marketing strategy. It’s where shoppers will go to do their research. Increasingly, it’s where they want to make a purchase.
If you haven’t already, enable your site for online shopping. Be sure to use multiple high-quality product images and video so people can mimic the experience of walking through your showroom. Showcase rooms, specific pieces and interior design themes — just as your do in your physical location.
Tip: Use 3D, and augmented and virtual reality to make shoppers feel like they’re in your showroom.
Ensure your web design is easy to navigate and optimized for mobile. From aspirational rooms to specific furniture pieces to check-out, users should be able to quickly find what they’re after. It should also work as seamlessly on mobile devices as it does on a desktop. Keep it fresh by regularly updating it with new products and content.
Tip: Share the personal stories of satisfied customers on your website. These stories will serve as recommendations to new, potential customers.
It’s a new day for furniture retailers as buyers’ shopping behaviours shift to embrace digital. The best way to promote your furniture business is to market online.