With the summer doldrums a little more pronounced, I had more time to spend with my grand kids at Lake Okoboji for a long weekend as well as I got to peruse industry publications. A couple of articles caught my attention, as they were in-depth studies on retail advertising and customer survey results.
The first article , by a couple of retail furniture consultants in Furniture World, discussed the plusses and minuses of digital vs. other standard media. Author talks about Ad Blocker and other ways digital is thwarted. Also, the number of people who block ads on Facebook, and blame the retailer are mam-moth. His pitch on direct mail is that in surveys over 90% of consumers (mainly women) want to peruse direct mail. 77% of people sort through their mail as soon as they get it! A little personal experience Fran gets out of her car and rushes to PO Box to gather 40 pieces of mail: 22 are political causes, 16 are charities and 2 are of interest!!
One thing that sticks in my mind is what used to be. The best sale twice a year was the preferred customer event by direct mail. In my days of selling, the promoters doing G.O.B’s their opening letter to customers of the store, going out of business sometimes did as much in 2 weeks of mailing that the account did the previous year!! Now I seldom see any retailer mining the rich ore of old, satisfied customers.
Print is still one of the main influencers when it comes to consumer purchase decisions. None of us really know how effective retail advertising is. Every moment of every working day, executives of major furniture companies strive to bring the best values to their customers. By circulars, direct mail, TV spots or social media, they are touting the benefits of shopping with them.
There is no silver bullet so a mix of all of the above will continue to be the blueprint of major furniture stores.
My second article was featured in HFN. An article about the millennials preferences in shopping for furniture. When I saw the opening page showing young buyers choice of favorite retailers in each region, I was immediately hooked! In all 4 regions: West, south, Midwest, and Northeast, IKEA was #1 and Target was #2 in 3 of the regions. Only in the South was a real furniture retailer ranked at #3, Ashley! Most millennials said they wanted to touch, feel, and see the furniture “before” buying, yet the internet is still the first choice of most buyers under 35.
One of the statistics which caught my attention about purchases of this group was the amount they spent last year: $600 and plans for next year $500. WOW, maybe you need to spend more effort on the baby boomers who actually have money! The Millennials will spend more on a new Apple IPhone in fourth quarter than they will spend the whole year on furniture.
Events that make it more likely, for millennials, are sales and special promotions! Next in their preference were delivery and carrying affordable products. All other fluff like celebrity appearances, design workshops, and open houses are only listed in 10th percentile. Interestingly in store sales, by millennials, for both men and women are 2/3 in store to 1/3 online. The survey indicates that only about a half of the younger buyers use store apps or websites.
The last bit of trivia from the survey is that overwhelmingly most young couples host dinner parties or cocktails as op-posed to brunch, lunch, or parties. I’m not sure how that sells furniture!
I only bore you with this survey to show that young buyers are POTENTIAL customers, but maybe your effort needs to be up the line where there is more disposable income, life changes, and multiple housing opportunities. What do I know! There isn’t even a category old enough to cover me!