Winning Website Tip #11 From PERQ: 5 Tips to Create a Better Digital Sales Process for your Home Furniture Store
In the age of large online retailers, many home furnishing stores are turning their attention toward the website and are feeling the pressure to enter the world of e-commerce. Focusing on your website is an absolute must. E-commerce, on the other hand, is both expensive and can distract from your brick and mortar operations – the main characteristic that sets you apart from large online retailers.
Your website will be key to your success in helping to drive more visitors to your actual doors. Did you know that 80% of transactions that take place in a furniture store also included online research? The key difference here is that the customer shopped online, but didn’t buy online. They searched online for what they wanted and then decided which stores to visit. What if you could use this to your advantage and get more of those online researchers to actually come into your store?
These digital sales help you capitalize on the opportunity to provide a great customer experience starting on the website, all the way up to the time shoppers come into the store and purchase —- producing more revenue for your store and giving the customer a great item for their home.
When considering your digital sales process, here are 5 tips to keep in mind:
1. Have a clear vision for digital sales for your home furniture store
Setting a good vision helps you understand where you are going and what it is you’re trying to achieve. It will help you and your team move in the same direction toward a common goal.
When it comes to setting a vision for digital sales, think about why you are doing this in the first place. It’s likely that you have an opportunity available to improve and grow your revenue. Shoppers want to be online, and you must keep up. But how can you make that actionable? Let’s break down an example.
The Vision: Treat Every Digital Up as the same opportunity as an in-store up.
In this example, the vision is clear because the furniture retailer described it as something the sales team is already familiar with: the in-store experience. Providing this kind of clarity to your team will greatly improve your ability to get buy-in and enable them to be more effective, and even creative. Imagine someone asking you to get on a bus to go out of town, but they’re not sure which direction the bus is traveling. You feel a little bit nervous right? Everyone feels more at ease and is able to do their best work when it’s clear where they’re going.
2. Find a champion to lead your furniture store in digital sales
Now that you have a vision, it’s time to put it to work and find your digital sales champion. Having a champion is almost as important as your vision. Your champion is committed to achieving what you’ve set out to accomplish and will drive your team to see it through.
Your champion probably won’t be the CEO of your company. They may not even have an official leadership role. This person leads through their own actions and attitude, and has the time and willingness to take ownership over this initiative.
Think about that employee who is respected by the team as a leader. Do they adapt to change well? And, are they excited about improving sales?
3. Assemble a furniture digital sales team
In addition to your champion, you’re going to need a supportive team. Whether your team is very large or a few people, it is crucial to select these people carefully. When creating a furniture digital sales team, it is important not to take away processes that are already working well for each individual. Instead, you want to enhance their roles so they’re given more opportunity to close online to in-store sales.
On your digital sales team you’ll have 3 roles to fill, the first of which we already discussed. Your champion. In addition to your champion, you’ll have a team of Lead Specialists and Digital-Ups Specialists who will work together to follow-up, answer questions, and set in-store appointments.
Individuals who will succeed as a specialist are those who are open to change and are willing to try something new. In this case, starting something new involves starting new conversations with shoppers, before they’ve ever stepped foot in your store.
Your digital sales team will rely heavily on technology to facilitate these digital conversations in the CRM with text messaging, so it is essential that you’ve selected a team of people who will be comfortable and enjoy using technology every day.
4. Implement a digital sales process that works for your home furnishings store (and stick to it)
You have your vision, and you have your team. While you’ve done a great job helping align your team to the vision, once leads start to come in and conversations start to get going, it’s easy to get distracted. Providing your team with a specific process will help them stay on-track toward your ultimate vision and better enable them to handle more volume as you continue on this journey.
As with any process, it’s important that the process fits for your team. It might feel difficult at first — after all, all change has challenges. After some time, the process you choose should start becoming natural to your team. If it’s not, then it’s ok to re-evaluate and make improvements.
5. Define what it means for your home furnishings store to succeed with digital sales
What does success look like for your team? Digital sales success is not going to look the same for every team, and that’s ok. The important thing is that you can identify if you’re successful or not — just as you would with a brick and mortar location. You wouldn’t open a store with the mindset that it would be nice to make a few sales. You’d set specific goals for your team and incentivize them to achieve. The same is true with digital sales. Setting metrics to measure your team’s progress and success will help you in a number of ways.
First and foremost, you’ll have a way to measure the return of your efforts. Adopting digital sales isn’t easy and we want you to see that the work you’re doing is making an impact.
Second, metrics motivate teams. As I’ve mentioned before, your sales people in-store are measured. If your online team is working towards the same goal of generating more ups, be-backs, and sales, shouldn’t we measure and reward them for doing good work as well?
Finally, metrics tell you when you need to change. Knowing when something is or is not working will enable you to make changes that maximize your opportunity with digital sales. For example, if you notice in PERQ CRM that less than 75% of your leads are being followed up on, that can indicate to you that there’s an inefficiency and your specialists need help. Other key metrics to keep an eye out for are: lead to sale, speed to lead (how quickly leads are followed up on), % of leads turned into digital ups and appointments.
The digital sales process is not a one-size fits all solution. Getting a team together and executing on each of these five tips is the first step. After that comes the improvements to your process. For example, perhaps your team is too small, or the specialist roles need to be more clearly defined. Whatever it is, you’ll find it out just by getting started and then making adjustments over time to make this process better and better.
Furniture Industry News and in depth magazine articles for the furniture retail, furniture manufacturers, and furniture distributors.
Read other articles by Maria Rummel