Promotions are a fundamental part of any successful furniture retail strategy to help generate traffic and drive sales. But, bringing big ticket promotions online can be challenging, especially where there are added layers of complexity with financing, exclusions, qualifying terms, and a unique shopping experience for a category that’s unlike any other.
A promotional strategy that has its roots in a furniture retailers’ brick-and-mortar legacy may work time and time again in stores, but may be more difficult to replicate online. Creating a simple and consistent path to purchase for shoppers is critically important to avoid confusion and promote conversion. Leveraging insights on promotional strategy across some of the largest furniture retailers in the country, my Ecommerce Team and I have pulled together top tips for creating a seamless omnichannel promotional strategy.
#1 Run the same offers online and in stores.
This tip goes without saying, if you’re running a promotional offer in stores, make sure you’re also offering it online. The furniture category is fundamentally omnichannel in that shoppers have multiple touchpoints across various channels in their path to purchase. However, keep in mind, shoppers see your brand as one entity; they do not see “channels.” Whether they come into your physical showroom, visit your website, or interact with a paid social ad, they expect consistency across all these experiences.
Across the Blueport Platform, over 90% of shoppers research products online before visiting a store. Your website should be seen as the epicenter of information—especially current promotional information—reaffirming the information they’ve seen in your other channels. On the flipside, customers visiting a store prior to visiting your website, may choose to finish the purchase online. As such, promotional messaging must be consistent cross channels to avoid shopper confusion and frustration.
#2 Promote your offers clearly and consistently and throughout the site (not just the homepage)
Contrary to your brick-and-mortar locations, shoppers arrive to your website in many different ways; not just through the “front door” aka homepage. In fact, well over half (55-60%) of site visitors enter our furniture retailers’ sites on a page other than the homepage. They may come in on a category landing page from an organic search result for a term like “sofa,” a blog post link promoted on social media, or directly onto a product detail page if they know exactly what they’re looking for. If you’re only promoting your sale and offers on the homepage, there is a strong chance more than half of your shoppers are missing the memo!
Advertise your promotions clearly and consistently through the site; on product detail pages, search result pages, landing pages, banner ads, etc. to ensure your great deals and current sale info are in front of customers no matter their site entry point. Not only does this guarantee your customers will see the promotions, it may also give you the edge as shoppers are often comparative shopping simultaneously.
Showcase your promotional offers throughout the site, including category landing pages.
Act as the central source of information while shoppers refer to your site before, after & during store visits.
#3 Use urgency messaging to drive conversion
Clear messaging isn’t the only tactic to boost success of your promotions online. Urgency messaging is incredibly impactful in encouraging customers to take advantage of a promotion and close a sale.
Across our retailers’ sites, the last two days of a sale are the best performing due to our use of urgency messaging, such as “Final Weekend!” or “Ends Today!” Urgency messaging doesn’t only apply to promotions. According to a report published on L2 Inc, 58% of shoppers say inventory transparency is important when shopping online. The article also suggests brands use inventory visibility to their advantage creating a sense of urgency by showcasing low inventory availability. Highlighting your offers as limited time only with urgency messaging on banners and other assets will drive customers to convert now. Go on and close those sales!
Prominently display offers throughout your site and utilize urgency messaging to encourage shoppers to buy now before the sales end.
Urgency messaging on product detail pages reminds shoppers of approached sale end date.
#4 Don’t overcomplicate it. Make promotions simple and easy to redeem.
One challenge to running promotions online is the lack of store associate presence to help explain offers, financing and upsell customers (a chat service can help). Therefore, it’s critical to make promotions as simple and easy to understand – and redeem – as possible. If a promotional offer is difficult for a sale associates to explain to a customer in a store, it’s going to be even harder for the customer to make sense of it online.
When creating your promotional strategy, be sure to take into consideration, “how will this render online? Is it easy enough for customers to understand and redeem without human intervention?” That goes for all the informational detail you should have readily accessible, i.e. start and end dates, price thresholds, disclaimers, exclusions, and combinability rules. Blueport has ecommerce experts to help translate your brick-and-mortar promotions to a seamless omnichannel experience, in stores and online.
#5 Take advantage of your 24/7 store
Remember that your online store is open 24/7, which makes it a great vehicle to boost sales when stores are closed. When your showrooms are closed for holidays or renovations, try testing out an online-only promotion to boost sales in the meantime. Retailers across our platform have seen success with online-only offers after dinner and later into the evenings or during holidays like Thanksgiving or Christmas. Let your website work for you even when you staff is off duty to relax and enjoy holidays.
Promotions are an important, strategic tool for any retailer, especially big-ticket retail like furniture. Planning and executing promotions is a bit different nowadays for ecommerce-enabled retailers than traditional brick-and-mortars. Fortunately, with careful consideration of the holistic omnichannel experience, running promotions online can be done and successfully. Leveraging a platform built for considered purchases like furniture is the first step in translating your in store promotional strategy online. Call us today to talk to one of our in-house ecommerce experts about your online promotional strategy and more.