In furniture retail, launching an ecommerce site is just like opening a new store. There is one exception—this store is your flagship store. Your online store is the place your customers will go to before walking into any of your other stores. But just like your other store openings, building an ecommerce site won’t give you the “Field of Dreams” outcome you might expect. Just because you build it, doesn’t necessarily mean shoppers will come.
Enter: digital marketing. Digital marketing is critical to driving traffic to your online store by creating brand awareness and targeting shoppers that are interested in purchasing your products. Let’s take a look at how furniture retailers should approach digital marketing to target and drive traffic online.
Identifying Your Shoppers in the Digital Marketing Funnel
A smart digital marketing strategy will help you target the right message to shoppers at each stage of the furniture shopping funnel–whether it’s helping them find your brand, narrowing down their selection, or ultimately leading them to a purchase.
To target each of these types of shoppers, you need to understand their mindsets at each stage of the furniture shopping funnel. At Blueport, we target shoppers at three different stages: Awareness, consideration & engagement, and purchase:
- Awareness: These top-of-funnel shoppers are also called “Home Enthusiasts.” They are starting to look at furniture, but may not necessarily be considering a purchase anytime soon.
- Consideration & Engagement: The mid-funnel tier involves “Active Shoppers.” These are shoppers who are looking to buy furniture and are narrowing down the perfect pieces.
- Purchase: Bottom-of-funnel shoppers are “Ready-to-Buy.” They have narrowed down their selection, researched both online and in-store and have all the information they need to make their purchase.
Identifying where shoppers are in the funnel enables you to target and personalize your digital marketing message. This is particularly important in furniture where the lengthy path-to-purchase involves a combination of in-store and online channels.
Digital marketing can help you keep your brand message in front of shoppers. This ensures they engage with your online presence at each stage of the funnel, ultimately encouraging them to purchase. There are a variety of different paid channels you can choose from at each stage of the funnel.
Digital Marketing Channels to Target Active Shoppers
The following four paid channels are a great way to grow shopper visits to furniture ecommerce sites.
Paid search is a way to advertise your brand by putting text within the sponsored section of a search engine listings. Retailers bid on various keywords or queries and pay on a cost-per-click (CPC) basis. This channel puts your brand and site in front of the shopper at each stage of the shopping process. For example, by running a text ad on furniture terms like “brown sofa” or “wood table,” you can target shoppers in the consideration and engagement stage of shopping. By running “branded” paid search ads, or ads that are bidding on queries to your brand, you can drive bottom-of-funnel or “Ready-to-Buy” shoppers who are returning to your site to make a purchase or looking to see a product in your physical store.
On the Blueport Platform alone, shoppers leave an average of $1.5 million in online shopping carts, daily. Display retargeting allows retailers to show ads to shoppers who have been on your site while they are elsewhere online. These ads often showcase specific products that shopper has viewed. Display retargeting is a great way to drive conversion and recoup potential lost sales. Retailers can also target those who may not be as far down the funnel yet.
While there is an organic aspect to social media, the paid options can help retailers get their message to more targeted audiences. Retailers should be taking advantage of the attention given to social media and use it to reach potential shoppers. According to comScore, people spend 20% of their total digital time on social media. With new tools like Facebook Audience Network, Rich Pins and Instagram ads, retailers can natively retarget mid-funnel and bottom-of-funnel shoppers with specific products they’ve viewed, directly in their feeds. If a shopper has viewed a sofa on a site, then scrolls their Instagram feed, they could see an ad that features the same sofa with a link to shop.
“Social media leads all categories in engagement, accounting for 1 out of 5 minutes spent online.” – comScore
Affiliate marketing is a type of performance marketing where retailers promote products through a network of third-party sites. Affiliate marketing is an important channel for furniture retailers, especially those who are offering strong promotions on a regular basis, because it broadens the scope of potential shoppers. This channel can help capture top-of-funnel home enthusiasts with an offer they might not have known about otherwise. Retailers only have to pay when a customer makes a purchase using the third-party coupon code. This gives affiliate marketing a very high Return on Investment (ROI). These third-party companies include RetailMeNot, Ebates, SlickDeals, and FatWallet.
If “Field of Dreams” was about furniture ecommerce sites, the quote would be, “If you build it, and use digital marketing strategies to effectively target shoppers, they will come.” The paid channels we reviewed above are critical components of an effective marketing strategy to reach a broad range of shoppers. These channels drive traffic to your site and ultimately your stores. However, there is also a whole world of unpaid digital marketing that can accelerate the growth of a furniture ecommerce site. Stay tuned to learn how furniture retailers can use unpaid channels to complement their paid digital marketing efforts.