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furniturewizard.com

Shift To Modern Media

THE POWER OF

e-MARKETING

Four tips to strengthen customer relationships.

Operations by David McMahon

There is a shift that is occurring in the advertising world. Resources from newspaper, yellow pages, TV, cable, and radio advertising are being reallocated to web sites, internet search, email media, and mobile media. This change has just started to occur in the furniture industry. New media is uncharted territory for many furniture retailers, but with a bit of knowledge you can be one of the first in our industry to do it right.

The big guys such as Rooms to Go, IKEA, Thomasville, Ethan Allen, Nebraska Furniture Mart and many independents are aggressively collecting and using customer and prospect email addresses to help build customer loyalty and keep their best cus-

tomers from shopping in other places (like your store).

Some of these companies collect email addresses from shoppers, buyers and on the internet and then they follow-up with various levels of customer contact. Most send a general monthly or semi-monthly email promotion that is totally advertising focused. This is a start, and it is easy to do.

A few provide value driven content-based e-marketing newsletters targeted to their customer's interests. This is even better then emailing a promotional message because it provides value to current customers/prospects and helps to build long term relationships.

I define e-Marketing as permission-based marketing and follow up done through interactive media such as the _ . | internet. It can be done through web pages, search • * i engine optimiza-

Value tion (seo)' mobile short message services (SMS), or email. In this article we will largely focus on using email.

Even as e-Marketing is on the rise, most independent furniture retailers hang on desperately to old guard marketing. They see change as a risk, and decide to stick with what and whom they know. Traditional media has worked in the past for them and they hope that their cus tomers will come back. They hope that just by changing the mix of traditional media, buying smarter and tweaking the message, they will attract more business. To a degree, this strategy can work, especially with retailers that have made poor media buys, neglected to quantify results, and run tired advertising that fails to differentiate their store brand or motivate customers

Those of you who have been following Leslie Carother's excellent FURNITURE WORLD Magazine series that covers e-marketing and social networking (posted to the furninfo.com article archives) have seen that there is an opportunity to connect with customers in a substantial way at low cost by using new media. Furthermore, it can be done in a way that other retailers in your market probably haven't even considered.

New media enables independents to compete on a similar playing ground locally as a national or regional powerhouse! It is far less costly than traditional media as it is driven by brains, creativity, and knowledge of the virtual world. You may not be able to match Ashley Furniture's newspaper insert budget, but you can connect with customers and give them targeted information that supports your brand, boosts retail traffic and sales.

Consider these points:

  • Most stores get the majority of their sales from within a 30 mile radius of where their customers live or own a property.
  • a href="http://www.profitsystems.com">Are you and your inventory ready for

Relationship Counseling?

"Using PtiOtHprovisional, we learned to manage our Inventory and our profitability has Improved substantially. We areabie to nay ahead of our competition,"

Otrffc WiMIUiit McMWiiii ftimirj/n* Ibc.

inventory — Do you love itr hate itr„or a little of both? Selling inventory makes you money — love thatl But, if you arent careful you end up overstocked with a crammed warehouse and littEe to no cash flow — hate that! PROFITprofessforffli has all the tools you need to keep in stock onty those items that make you money, get rid of those not making you money, and recognize trends so that you can keep your floor fresh with merchandise that sells, We will help you manage your inventory and improve your bottom line. You gotta love that!

Interested in more ways to improve your bottom line?

Visit us at:

www.profitsystems.com

800.883.5365

Making ftcQifcri More Prt/rabte

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Ask For Permission

"Don't send unsolicited e-Marketing as it will end up in spam filters or worse yet..."

  • There are usually several shopping choices in that 30 mile area.
  • The majority of your store sales come from the top 20% of customers.
  • Your top customers are also someone else's top customers.
  • Many of your younger customers and virtually all of your future customers demand Modern Media - they grew up with it.

This is your window of opportunity. You will eventually need to embrace modern media, so why not do it before your competition? Change is hard, but playing catch-up is harder. Trying to come from behind has put the nail in many coffins.

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