The internet is filled with high-quality, content-rich websites that are designed to attract new customers and keep them there. How? With elements such as consumer reviews, easily navigable menus, extensive catalogs full of pictures and information and interactive chat boxes that let visitors get their questions answered immediately. Features such as these have become essential for retailers to stay competitive in the e-commerce age. But they’re really just the starting point. So, how do you take those consumers you’ve attracted to your website and drive them to your store?
More and more, today’s consumers want to feel like they are a part of something. They want to feel like they are buying into an idea or a lifestyle. Relying solely on discounts and special financing – even on the internet – is part of the same worn–out blueprint that has been used on television, on radio and in print for decades. It’s just delivering it in a slightly different format.
When advertising on the internet, and especially social media, creating a reason to buy from you will separate you from the rest of the pack. And that reason should not be lower prices and better customer service. Instead, differentiate yourself by appealing to your customers’ interests and lifestyle.
Think about it. Why do people buy from certain companies over others? Whether it’s automobiles, clothing, accessories or jewelry, one of the main reasons that customers choose certain brands and buy from certain retailers is the culture that is created within that industry. These preferred salespeople know how to attract consumers by appealing to the hot topics their customers are interested in. They make it seem hip and cool to buy from them. Buying from them is the “it” thing to do. Almost like being part of a club, you feel like you have some kind of status by being a patron at that specific retailer.
OK, so how do you translate that argument into action? Let’s say you live in an area where the updated farmhouse look is a hot trend. Maybe you’d start off by including content on your website around that type of lifestyle. Then, you’d take it a step further by using social media to promote ideas based around your target audience. For example, you could frequently share ideas on how to repurpose existing parts of a house during a remodel or make a video tutorial on how to grow a tomato planter garden on your back deck. Or, if you’re in a coastal area, you might want to share stories about how your company is contributing to wetland conservation. The whole idea here is to create a culture and idea that your customer can rally behind so that they are inspired to go to your store and buy from you.
Once the consumer is in your store, make sure your store theme and décor match the image you project online. As stated earlier, the customer will then feel like they are a part of a club or even a special group. They will proudly tell people that they bought from you and will be more likely to buy from you again because you “get them” and they “get you.”
To recap, whether you’re advertising, updating your website or posting on social media, make sure your theme and message are genuine. If they’re not, consumers will be able to see right through you. And don’t just make it about product and price. Centering your message around something other than furniture will be the key to drawing customers in. Finally, make sure the in-store buying experience matches your online presence. If you can do this, you’ll have not just a loyal customer but a vocal advocate for both your store and your brand.
This article was first published in the October 2019 issue of The Retail Observer.
Johnny Lamp is director of furniture for Nationwide Marketing Group