The methods of marketing are constantly evolving, but the premise behind it has always been about relationships. We’re connecting with people to find out what they need and how we can best deliver it to them.
In 2022, the main focus to implement within your furniture marketing strategy is the customer experience. As Marketing Insider Group wrote, “Marketing has moved beyond branding and advertising; marketers must work together with other departments to focus on building great customer experiences and engaging them for long-term relationships.”
Here are four areas to focus on when improving your customer experience:
Marketing Trends To Focus on in 2022
Over the last year, we’ve seen retailers need to adapt. They have become flexible in unexpected ways, from creating new contactless pick-up and delivery methods, to implementing new digital tools that allow them to connect with their customers in real-time. Now that customers have seen those capabilities, it’s important to utilize them moving forward.
In 2022, it’s going to be crucial for brands to stay flexible and adapt, which includes meeting the customer where they are, whether virtually or in-store. Adapting a hybrid model, staying flexible, and focusing on the omnichannel shopping experience will be more important than ever.
How can you maintain flexibility?
Communicate With Your Customers
While some customers are ready to get back in the store, some will have permanently shifted to shopping all or mostly all online. Stay flexible by enabling live chat, appointment scheduling, and video appointments.
By providing them options, they’ll be able to create the experience that’s most comfortable and effective for them.
A Mobile-First Shopping Experience
Optimizing the mobile shopping experience continues to be an important priority for marketers in 2022. The number of shoppers using mobile devices as their primary tool for online shopping is expected to continue to grow into 2022.
Forbes reported that “in 2021, mobile will make up about 73% of all e-commerce sales” which means that retailers need to ensure that their ecommerce website features functionality and content that are optimized for mobile and for a seamless shopping experience.
How can you create a mobile-first shopping experience?
Enhance Your Website Experience
In order to focus on your customer’s experience, you need to have a website that is captivating, easy to shop, and reflects your furniture brand, whether your customers plan to visit a store to see your product in person or start and complete their purchase entirely online.
In particular, it’s crucial that your website is designed to work seamlessly on a mobile device.
If you have not already, 2022 is a great opportunity to implement and utilize tools such as live chat and appointment scheduling to stay in contact with your customers, high-quality content, product information, and reviews to help your customers learn about your product, and beautifully curated custom content to tell your brand's story that you can also share on social media.
While eye-catching content has always been important, it’s becoming crucial for your audience.
By using graphics and other visual formats, you’ll have a better chance of creating a real connection with your audience. Additionally, Forbes reported that “90% of consumers surveyed said that user-generated content influences their buying decisions”
Further, 88% of customers “specifically look for visuals submitted by other consumers prior to making a purchase,” according to Power Reviews. This makes it crucial to not only prompt your customers to submit reviews but to provide details and visuals along with them.
How can you enhance your brand’s content?
Use Social Media to Your Advantage
Is your brand utilizing social media to its full potential? In your 2022 furniture marketing strategy, it’s time to increase your social media presence and engage with your customers.
To get started, you need to understand your audience — this is key to a successful marketing strategy overall. Once you know who your target audience is, it’s easier to find out how they prefer to shop.
Depending on your target audience’s age, location, and other demographic information, they may be on different social media platforms. Younger generations, for example, are more likely to be on TikTok and Instagram, while older audiences often use Facebook more frequently.
It’s important to check a number of different platforms, including:
You may also want to engage in other communities such as Houzz, where your audience may be looking for home design inspiration.
While you’ll want to examine each of these platforms to see where your audience is, you’ll also want to get an understanding of the platforms and begin to consider which platforms you want your brand to utilize.
During this process, don’t be afraid to check out your competitors' social media accounts. You can learn what’s working for them, what aspects of their profiles you don’t want to utilize, and more.
Once you know your audience and know which social media platforms they’re using, it’s time to connect with them. You can use marketing tools to advertise to them, create and share content that’s useful for them, and otherwise engage in discussions with them. This is a great opportunity to showcase your flexibility to your audience.
Ultimately, it is important for you to grow your brand and stay relevant with your consumers.
Obtain and Use Customer Reviews
Customer feedback helps us choose trusted businesses based on others’ honest experiences and many customers look at reviews before they even visit your site — that’s why helpful customer reviews are so important to your business.
When your customers are deciding what to purchase, they’re likely doing thorough research. While this is true for any product or service, it’s particularly important for a large purchase they may not see in-person prior to purchasing.
According to Power Reviews, the importance of reviews is even increasing. “Today, more than 99.9% of consumers say they read reviews when shopping online at least sometimes. In 2018, this number was 97%.”
So, it’s important to ask for and utilize customer feedback. You can request feedback and reviews through:
- Asking at the end of your customer’s purchase experience.
- Following up with email or text communication after their purchase.
- Requesting they fill out a survey following the delivery of their product(s).
Once you have the feedback, it’s important to set up a consistent schedule to go through and organize the feedback. You’ll want to respond to negative feedback, thank customers for positive feedback, and provide solutions to problems that customers leave during this time.
By ensuring you have an overall positive digital reputation, you’ll be able to bring in more customers while they’re doing their online research.
Employee engagement is crucial for your brand, especially as we move into 2022. Your customers want employees who are knowledgeable, helpful, and go the extra step to help them. Keep your team up to date with any new promotional, product, or content changes so they can be a resource to your customers.
How can you ensure your employees are engaged with your brand?
Implement Employee Engagement Programs
Engaged and passionate employees are often one of the most critical parts of customer satisfaction.
PWC found that bad employee attitudes, unfriendly service, and unknowledgeable employees were three of the main reasons people avoided a company. So what can you do to ensure that doesn’t happen?
- Utilize thorough and consistent training. One-time training isn’t enough to keep employees engaged. Through enjoyable continued education and training, your employees can remain knowledgeable and passionate.
- Promote a positive work environment. Your employees are only as good as the environment they work in — so you want to make sure you’re creating an incredible environment.
- Ensure your entire company works together as a team. While it might seem obvious to ensure your marketing, merchandising, and sales teams are aligned, this step can often get overlooked.
By ensuring all of your employees are happy, passionate, and engaged, you’ll be able to create an incredible customer experience every time.
Create Your 2022 Furniture Marketing Strategy
If you haven’t already started, it’s time to create your 2022 marketing plan for your furniture business.
Part of this may be to modernize your website altogether to ensure you’re meeting your customers’ needs with a mobile-first approach.
Branding and marketing tools, including the ability to create content based on personas, landing pages based on search criteria, and more are only the beginning when it comes to the features our platform has to offer.
To learn more, check out our furniture ecommerce punch list to ensure you know exactly what you should be getting out of your platform.