For traditional furniture stores, millennials are hard to attract, primarily because they are “digital natives.” They do everything online. And, when it comes to furniture shopping, the internet is where they begin their research.
Around 83 million Millennials, the largest generation in America, have begun to enter their careers. Some are becoming first-time homeowners, while others are looking to furnish their apartments. They represent about $600 billion in purchasing power and are the biggest reason for our online economy.
Online Shopping Versus Online Buying
It’s true that millennials will do all of their research online. But, when it comes to big purchases, they still want that in-store experience. They want to have that touch-and-feel of each piece before they commit to buying them.
The in-store experience allows them to envision each piece and where it will fit in their living spaces. This is where understanding their online behavior will help furniture stores attract more attention from the largest consumer segment. So, furniture retailers must develop an integrated marketing strategy to drive more millennials to their stores.
Immersive Visual Experiences
Two social media platforms thrive on immersive visual experiences: Instagram and Pinterest. They present conceptual experiences through an interactive display of products and services. Both platforms offer different ways for viewers to see furniture being used outside of the showroom.
Instagram is projected to have more than 110 million users and more than 70% will be millennials. This platform is a smart investment when trying to reach new customers. Retailers can engage directly with Instagram users and offer quick feedback on pricing and styles.
Pinterest works in a different way than Instagram. It’s a discover and save tool, so users can go back to view saved items when they have time. Best of all, millennials use Pinterest to plan for life’s biggest moments.
Retailers can create online experiences that are immersive and socially shareable. By using these platforms, they can present conceptual experiences that inspire people to explore further and learn more about products.
The key to millennials is to engage with them every step of the way, so they’ll be more than just a customer, they’ll become an advocate. Social media platforms, online reviews and Pay-Per-Click (PPC) advertising merge the digital channels with physical interactions. Friendly recommendations on Facebook can turn into quick decisions for people who have a hard time choosing or just don’t know their options. Online reviews give potential shoppers piece of mind about their expectations because it’s been tested. And, PPC is the most targeted and effective advertising—dollar for dollar—than any other online advertising platform. Another big take away for each of these is that they gather some great data to refine or redesign any marketing plan.
Make the Buying Process Easy
Millennials don’t trust traditional advertising. They are very aware of exploitive sales practices, which makes them less trusting of any message that doesn’t hold water. So, retailers need to be authentic and genuine with their messaging.
During the buying process, millennials don’t have a lot of patience for waiting in checkout. They want to be able to purchase their furniture and have it delivered. A strong point of sale should be able to handle these issues, as well as present financing options. Long, protracted checkout times will make the process more painful than it needs to be, leading to poor review online and fewer recommendations.
Millennials are used to buying most of their things online, so a lot of what retailers do need to resemble that process. It’s why furniture stores really need to invest more than simply marketing online to bring in one of the hottest market segments around.