Your website isn’t a brochure. Use it to build relationships with shoppers.

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Furniture retailers miss sales opportunities if they don’t turn anonymous website visitors into people they know, says Scott Hill, executive chairman and co-founder of PERQ

When many consumers never walk into a furniture store until they’re ready to buy, it’s critical to start the selling process online, says Hill, who will lead a seminar in the Home Furnishings Association’s Resource Center at the High Point Market. 

“The consumer is no longer coming to shop in your store,” Hill says. So, the question is: “How are you helping them like you were helping them when they showed up in your store.” 

He’s not talking about buying. They’ll do that in the store, but they’re more likely to buy after they’ve engaged online with the store’s designers and sales staff. 

The retailer’s biggest mistake, Hill says, is thinking of his website as a brochure or “a shopping cart full of hope.” Instead, it offers the means to begin a relationship with customers. 

PERQ built its expertise in online consumer engagement through more than a decade working with the automotive industry, Hill says. In the last couple of years, it’s added 175 retail furniture clients. One of those clients is Big Sandy Superstore, whose president, Bryan Scott, will join Hill to share his company’s success in converting online traffic into in-store buyers. 

The experiences shoppers derive inside the store play a big part in their decision to buy, but Hill warns that will happen less often if online experiences never draw them in. 

His seminar is 1 p.m. to 2 p.m. Saturday, April 6. The association’s Resource Center is on the first floor of Plaza Suites, 222 S. Main St. in High Point.  

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