A lot has changed rapidly in the past six-plus months and left many retailers feeling unsure about what to do to keep momentum for their businesses. The answer is actually quite simple – focus on digital!
According to the Global Web Index, social media usage in the U.S. has increased by 36 percent, with Facebook alone reaching more than 190 million U.S. users. In that time, we have also seen online shopping usage increase by 41 percent.
Now, more than ever, it is important to make sure your digital presence is buttoned up, and that you are utilizing available tools to engage with your shoppers. Here is the best part: You can do a lot of it for free! Below you will find a handful of ideas that you can implement today to grow your audience and your sales.
The best place to start is your website. It is essential that you have a clean, mobile-friendly site that people want to engage with. Two important things to address in this particular economy are safety and choices. We recommend updating content with messaging along the lines of:
- Safety is our first concern! We practice cleaning and sanitation measures as recommended by the CDC in order to take care of our customers and our staff.
- Delivery and curbside pickup are available. Call us to learn more about your options.
- Virtual sales are available! Set up an appointment with a member of our sales team and we will show you inventory live.
- Online design sessions: Our team will set up a video call and help you plan your dream room.
Update your presence on all digital channels
This messaging can be shared across all digital platforms. Make sure to also update Google My Business, Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, YouTube and anywhere else you are online.
The next best place to work on is Facebook. There are many no- or low-cost options for you to get in front of shoppers. The goal of any Facebook post should be to get people to engage. The more engagement you get, the better your posts rank in newsfeeds. Engagement from shoppers also gives you the opportunity to appear in front of their contacts. Here are a few ideas to get some traction:
- Share videos. All you need is a smartphone with a video camera. Walk around the store, show what is new, what is on sale or just something you love. Give people the feeling of being in the store and what is available to them.
- Start a contest! Challenge people to show what they have done with something they have purchased from you. Don’t be afraid to offer something like a $25 gift certificate to the winner. Make sure to comment on the posts you get.
- Partner with a local pizza place or restaurant. Buy a meal for the group of your choice (first responders, medical staff, animal shelter team) and advertise it on both your page AND the restaurant page! They may even be willing to split the cost with you as it creates exposure with a whole new audience.
- Do a giveaway. With Labor Day coming up, it is perfect timing to offer a piece of furniture that may not be moving from your inventory. We have seen some stores do this and get significant engagement.
Create and promote successful events
A tool on Facebook that deserves its own mention is Events. There are many different types of events that you can run. When you set these up, you can invite anyone to join. It can be closed or public, depending on the audience you would like to target. These events can be virtual or in-person, depending on your preference. Events may include a design class, a showroom tour, meet the staff, VIP sale or a holiday sale (Labor Day is on its way!). See the list below for best practices on running events on Facebook:
- Make others at your store “co-hosts.” The event will then be visible to their entire FB network as well.
- Have employees share the event on their social media outlets to expand reach.
- Share through your other store outlets like GMB, LinkedIn, Website, etc.
- Run event for 14 days. The first seven days should promote what the event is for, the last seven days should be a countdown to the actual event.
- Make sure to post about and promote your event at least once a day leading up to the actual event.
Of course, the list does not end there but these are good places to start. The thing to remember is that you want to create an online persona that encourages people to engage with you. Think about your most positive online experiences and what creates trust for you as a customer.
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