“Cookies, or popcorn?” the woman asked to my excitement. No, I was not at some carnival, or even a movie theatre. My 6-year-old self was with my mother at the local Kensington Furniture, notorious for showering their patrons with home-y treats during each visit. I dashed between dozens of bedroom sets, curiously opening drawers, examining fabrics, and bouncing on beds before choosing my perfect dresser.
Although my strategy is a bit more tame nowadays, I still recognize the value of an in-store experience when purchasing home goods and furnishings. Consumers can research almost any product online, but often true purchasing decisions aren’t made until one can see, feel, or test a home-bound item in real life. How will that couch really look in your home? According to a recent study by Accenture, “88 percent of consumers admit to ‘webrooming’ – browsing online and then buying in a store”. This trend continues to grow as “28 percent of shoppers surveyed globally planning to shop more in-store in the future.” With such an importance on the in-store shopping experience, some retailers go to great lengths to ensure that their customers feel at-home and relaxed while browsing for products (just check out Jordan’s Furniture, complete with IMAX theater). With in-store visits here to stay, what are the best digital marketing strategies to help your retailers drive traffic to their store while also promoting your brand?
Although visits to retail locations are still important to home goods purchasers, the main difference between my nostalgic trips to Kensington and current excursions is the wealth of digital resources to support my buying decisions. Data gathered by Deloitte show home furnishings and appliances as the top two digitally influenced industries among many, (table below). The study further showed “that conversion rates rise when consumers use digital devices before or during the shopping process.” As a brand, focus on improving this digital experience by providing marketing materials and services to retailers that aim to elevate their store websites and social channels. This could include web banners, Facebook cover photos, campaign landing pages, or approved campaign photos. Above all, consumers crave a seamless shopping experience from website, to mobile, to store. Provide marketing resources for various channels and shoppers will notice. General Electric Appliances uses Promoboxx to not only help dealers optimize their websites and profiles, but also provide a consistent marketing message across all channels (below: GE retailer Facebook share, Facebook cover photo, and website banner).
If most consumers are flocking to brick and mortar before purchasing, help your retailers optimize this experience while creating a platform to highlight your brand. Give your retailers what they need to host and digitally promote in-store events that generate buzz and excitement. Consumers, especially millennials, are looking for a fun and stress-free environment where they can touch and feel the products that they have researched. The popular kitchenware retailer, Sur La Table hosts regular in-store events and services that allow customers to take any gadget, from coffee makers to food processors, for a spin. Cooking classes and other offers are regularly marketed on their website and social media.
Similarly, leading industry brand Mohawk Flooring used Promoboxx to help retailers promote their in-store “SmartStrand Unleashed” events that demonstrated the pet-friendly benefits of the SmartStrand carpet line. This promotion cleverly aligned with the brand’s annual Animal Planet Puppy Bowl sponsorship.
What differentiates your brand from others? What is it about your products that outweighs other options? Consumers today are flooded with a wealth of choices for home goods, some of which even include purchasing second-hand products or repairing current ones. When developing marketing campaigns for your retailers, focus on showcasing the unique specs that make your product line a worthy and lasting investment. These could include fabric/material durability, stain and odor resistant technology, eco-friendly materials, or a special warranty. As a busy pet owner myself, for example, I immediately am drawn to anything that is easy to clean and can withstand years of unexpected feline wear and tear. Electrolux helps their retailers draw in consumers with benefits such as smudge-proof stainless steel and energy saving features for the environmentally conscious.
Despite the rise of “webrooming,” showrooming is still an active problem for many retailers. The act of showrooming consists of consumers testing or viewing a product in-store with the intent of making an online purchase. While the in-store experience is important for many customers, many still base decisions on price and other conveniences that larger online retailers may be able to offer. Brands can work to combat this phenomenon by establishing marketing campaigns that reward home-goods buyers with exclusive offers or rebates for purchases made at independent retail locations. As I was Christmas shopping this past season I was impressed to come across the following campaign from Nespresso, which offered up to $100 cash-back for local retailer-made purchases.
Cookies and IMAX theaters are great for entertaining curious customers, but do they do anything to promote your brand? With these strategies you’ll be helping your retailers adapt to the modern age of marketing while both sides reap the benefit of digital co-branding!