Established businesses, much like people, often are “creatures of habit.” The same can be said for our canine companions — as in “you can’t teach an old dog new tricks.”
In the case of a mature malamute, or a patriarchal poodle, I suspect the problem is that the owner, believing that cliché, never invested the time or effort to teach Fido to play dead.
Clearly, not the end of the world. But in the dog-eat-dog world of furniture retailing, shying away from new selling strategies can come back to bite that retailer hard enough to draw blood.
Like it or not, we are an events-driven sector. During holidays such as Presidents Day, Memorial Day, the Fourth of July, Labor Day, etc., we throw our best deals at the consumer, and, truth be told, the consumer typically responds in our favor.
In the unlikely event that the consumer is somehow unaware that we are an event-driven business, online publications such as this one called The Spruce, are quick to teach them. You can read the article here.
And there are lots of statistics that support the fact that event marketing certainly has teeth.
Here is just a sample:
Most marketers (31%) believe that event marketing is the single-most effective marketing channel. (Endless Events, 2018)
Eighty percent of businesses that are over-performing in regards to their company goals will increase their live event budgets next year. (Endless Events, 2018)
An overwhelming majority of C-Suite executives (87%) believe in the power of live events and plan on investing in them more in the future. (Endless Events, 2018)
Seventy-nine percent of U.S. marketers generate sales using event marketing. (Statista, 2018)
Seventy percent of users become regular customers after an experiential marketing event. (EMI & Mosaic, 2016)
Eighty-four percent of event attendees say that they have a more positive opinion about the company, brand, product or service being promoted after the event. (EMI & Mosaic, 2016)
Having proven that event marketing has a proven track record — and speculating that after having to shelter in place thanks to Covid-19, consumers are anxious to get out and visit your store — I still want to make a case for adding some new tricks to your marketing tactics.
Specifically, it might be a positive and profitable move to integrate more virtual events into your bag of tricks.
Virtual events are scalable. As a retailer, you don’t have to worry about who may come, who may not and how many people can you safely fit into the store during an event.
A virtual event is very convenient for your customers. They can attend without leaving their homes, an option that saves them money and time.
A virtual event can cost you far less than hosting an in-store event where you typically incur added costs for food, beverages, extra personnel, etc. Virtual events are often a better solution for most companies that are considering hosting a live event.
I’ve seen several suppliers to our segment successfully use Facebook Live to communicate with customers. Not that long ago, Planned Furniture Promotions hosted a raffle and announced the winner from a remote site using Facebook Live.
Earlier, the company had announced the time and date of the drawing and even though this event took place during one of the busier days of the High Point Market, lots of industry players tuned in to watch the drawing.
Retailers, including Gallery Furniture, Knight Furniture, Broad River Retail and others are using podcasts as a way to stay in touch with customers.
Further underscoring the effectiveness of podcasts, La-Z-Boy has an online article that lists what it believes to be the five best furniture podcasts. You can see the list here: https://furnitureacademy.com/best-furniture-podcasts/
Engaging customers often means much more than trying to sell the furniture. Consumers buy from retailers they trust. One great way of establishing that trust is by educating your consumer and a great way to do that is via an online workshop.
Your choice of topics is endless. You could have three or four experts do a deep dive on leather upholstery, have a panel of experts explain the different types of mattresses, or have a session on performance fabrics.
One last idea — become the source of community information by hosting local leaders and elected officials to a virtual town hall meeting to talk about your community — current challenges and what community leaders are doing to make it better.
You might not sell anyone a sofa during that event, but I am willing to bet you will sell them on the idea that you care about your community and those who live there.
I might be barking up the wrong tree, but I don’t think it’s ever too late to embrace new.