Similar to the trajectory of the digital marketing industry, the millennial generation’s culture, values and behaviors are constantly evolving. Furniture retailers have to constantly align their marketing strategies with the shifts in technology, culture and society as it pertains to the target (mostly millennial) generation they are after, which requires thoughtful consideration of strategy, solutions and channels.
Baby Boomers still account for the largest percentage of dollars spent, but millennials have surpassed all generations in the number of households engaging in a furniture purchase.
The US furniture sector has been steadily growing since 2009, indexing 146.9 in August 2016. Supported by a macroeconomic environment, furniture sales are projected to rise as home sales and home furnishing expenditures increase. As disposable income has increased, the furniture and home furnishings industry has enjoyed considerable growth. Furniture Today, a leading online furniture news source, reported that US furniture sales will reach $122 billion by 2020 over the next five years, a 3% compound annual growth rate.
Our executive team speaks at several retail conferences annually, and we are constantly asked to divulge tips that could be implemented without any extraneous effort or budget allocation in order to quickly boost a brick-and-mortar store’s sales efforts. As experts in the furniture retail industry, I asked Katana’s senior media team to highlight their top 7 digital marketing tips for augmenting our clients’ retail furniture campaigns, and here is a higher level summary of their responses:
TIP #1: Set up and measure your paid search campaigns by buckets
Most furniture marketers are still amazed with how incredible the performance of paid search advertising is in relation to other ad channels. The search network is undoubtedly the primary conduit for online users to actively search and receive an answer for their quest of the perfect furniture piece. However, most retail furniture marketers ignore the concept that each keyword does perform to an equivalent level.
We approach paid search campaigns by constructing four major keyword buckets:
- Branded keywords
- Specific product keywords (ex: grey modern ottoman)
- Generalized furniture keywords (ex: living room furniture)
- Relevant furniture related keywords (ex: home improvement, interior redecorating)
Once you have these set up and conduct thorough analysis on each campaign’s performance, you’ll quickly realize that each bucket has its own dynamic and subsequent CPCs, conversion rates, etc.
For each bucket, measure all metrics independently and set up individual performance goals. If you want to make an impact, you can take this data and develop unique bidding, messaging, landing pages and other unique strategies for each keyword bucket.
TIP #2: Identify GPS patterns from your customer base
A simple way to optimize your media budget is to target the geographical location where your most valuable customers reside. Create a report of your most attractive customer base and query it against the geographical location of where they are from. As a brick-and-mortar furniture retailer case, we advise you to overlay POS data, such as purchasing frequency or average basket size when conducting this analysis.
This tip is applicable to the full spectrum of furniture retailers, ranging from national to regional because you are able to target specific parts of a city by leveraging the latest precision targeting technologies. In summary, begin by geo-targeting your ad campaigns against the top five location hotspots of your customer base.
TIP #3: Integrate Google Analytics into your campaign performance data
Furniture marketers treat digital campaigns data separate from their website data, which is detrimental to tracking overall campaign performance. Marketers commonly only set up website analytics data to track online conversions, meaning only tracking when a user purchases an item online, conducts a store location search or fills out a “request for information” form.
If the user doesn’t convert on their first website visit, the tracking implemented thinks that they never purchased an item, even if they convert somewhere down the road.
So does this make all other visitors (with varied engagement levels) not important or valuable? Not at all. For example, if a user views a video ad on YouTube, clicks on the ad and then views 10 pages on the corresponding website, we deem this engagement as a valuable touchpoint because they might convert later on. At Katana, we understand the importance of analyzing media at this granular level in order to drive campaign performance and especially the volume of customers.
To accomplish this level of understanding, website analytics need to be integrated with ad tracking data solutions. Once combined, we encourage marketers to establish success parameters on secondary KPI’s (outside of sales or store lockup) that are based on softer website user behaviors, such as the minimum time spent on a page or pages visited.
TIP #4: Create a mobile-specific approach
The purpose of your website is to nurture the user experience, enticing them to purchase or find your store location.
However, 56% of online users will conduct research on their mobile devices, so it’s important to not lose valuable conversions from an unresponsive website. In order to optimize for mobile, keep the body text brief and the location finder simple to find.
With the explosion of mobile usage, it is important to be strategic around this user group. It’s common practice to optimize responsive mobile websites, but this is just the starting point. I have seen campaigns improve by more than 30% in conversion when a comprehensive mobile approach has been implemented.
What is a comprehensive mobile approach? It includes the following.
- Separate and track for each channel. For example, segment your Google ad campaigns into mobile-specific user data.
- Create and implement mobile specific ad messages to include different attributes, such as a call extension so users don’t have to actually click through to a website.
- If you include call extensions, be sure to have call tracking set up since the larger majority of people will have a higher propensity to call rather than visit your website.
TIP #5 Implement audience segmented retargeting campaigns
It’s essential to track user behavior (including how they are interacting on your site and what they’re searching for on Google) in order to segment their propensities into audience categories relevant to certain styles, brands or decor your store offers. If a user has expressed interest in a white living room set – either by clicking on a couch ad or visiting your website’s living room page – it would be counterproductive to serve ads for a new mattress or dresser.
Take a page from how Amazon implements audience segmented retargeting campaigns.
If you’re an avid Amazon user, you’re certainly been exposed to Amazon’s retargeting ads that seamlessly follow you around the internet, but this strategy works because it creates product relevance for each user. It’s fascinating to me that this simple strategy and logic hasn’t been implemented by furniture retailers globally.
Although an oversimplification, this approach can be set up by attaching a pixel to a furniture retailer’s website in order to identify which department or furniture style an online visitor has spent the most time looking. Once identified, instead of sending a generic retargeting message to this user, you can enhance campaign performance by making it specific to the department, and guess what? Click-through rates will jump beyond the 1% mark.
TIP #6: Use the power of day of week (DoW) data
Another simple way to optimize a media campaign is to analyze and understand the performance of a media channel based on DoW data. Typically, you see significant variances in lead performance, traffic conversion rates and ultimately cost per sale by the day of the week.
A typical best practice is that Friday through Sunday are normal touchpoint days (aka the prospecting portion of your media campaign) while earlier weekdays generally perform at peak for customer acquisition.
Based on your campaign’s objective, you can use this data to allocate budgets against the DoW time patterns.
As you become more proficient in this knowledge path, you can implement unique messaging and accountability metrics that allow you to fully harness this opportunity throughout the entire week.
I hope you’ve found value in these top 7 tips to boost retail furniture digital marketing campaigns. While there is a plethora of opportunities beyond this list, beginning with the aforementioned items will make you feel more empowered and cultivate a successful path that leads to more advanced executions.
It’s important to stay current with general retail furniture marketing trends by forging alliances with other marketers in the furniture industry or with marketing organizations like Katana who have access to a larger set of of retail furniture clients to continuously establish benchmarks that your specific campaigns can be measured against.
Our founding team has a combined 55 years of agency experience with a specialized focus in retail furniture. Here are some aggregate findings that our team has accomplished in the past year for all of our retail furniture clients:
- Branded keyword search volume increase indexed 116 in January 2017 over the previous 11 months.
- Meanwhile, non-branded keyword search volume increase indexed 138 in January 2017 over the previous 11 months.
- Lastly, quality of click through traffic from search increased by 11% during the same time evaluation ((quality visitor is defined as a visitor that stays on a landing page or website page for longer than 30 seconds).
Katana is a leading digital marketing partner for household retailer digital marketing. We take advantage of large data sets and real-time advertising inventory, and have been providing sales impact for over 15 years to retailers in the household and furniture industries nationwide. For more information, please visit katana.media.