Following a promising turnaround for footfall so far in 2019 according to sales reports, it is an optimistic time for home retailers globally.
However, competition remains fierce and the cost of acquiring new customers has reached an all-time high. Attracting a new customer costs five times more than to keep an existing one, according to a report by Invesp.
It is a common tactic for brands to invest heavily in advertising and marketing to attract prospective new customers. Increasing the visibility of the brand drives the volume of shoppers through the door and the number of online sales. In the United Arab Emirates, Swedish retail conglomerate, IKEA, recently recreated an online campaign showcasing iconic TV living rooms such as the Simpsons. It provided the creative inspiration for home improvements, while providing links to all the products on their website.
While campaigns like this are important to attract new customers, such as the emerging market for Gen Z or millennials, the focus also needs to be on customer retention. Put simply, the probability of selling to an existing customer is 60 – 70%, versus 5-20% for a new prospect. This demonstrates the value that an existing customer base can provide in terms of opportunities to upsell goods and increase the value per customer for home retail brands.
For large home retailers exploring new ways to engage with consumers and accelerate the sales cycle at scale, solutions like 3D planning are invaluable, offering a number of key benefits.
- Time is money
The more time that shoppers spend online or in-store, the greater their likelihood of buying: even for larger purchases that require more research. Also, time spent with one brand, means time spent away from competitor brands, which is especially important in the competitive furniture retail environment.
Encouraging shoppers to spend more time with one brand is no small achievement. There needs to be a value exchange between the shopper and the brand, and 3D planning achieves just that. Customers can derive value in their design and purchase journey by creating aspirational room designs and provide custom measurements piece-by-piece and item by item. Because the brand has been integral to create their vision, it is natural to select and buy the items from the retailer used in the design phase.
3D planning also supports in-store purchases. Increasingly, retailers report uptake for the clicks and mortar experience. Customers who have spent time on online research with a retailer are much more prepared to come into stores with their design ideas and convert them to sales. This is particularly valuable as it reduces the amount of time customer service staff spend to convert each purchase. It elevates their interactions with the customer to be more consultative, overlaying their expert advice to the designs presented to them.
- Engaged customers spend more
The more engaged that a customer is with your brand, the more likely they will spend, recommend products to their friends and keep coming back for more. Gallup research shows that a fully engaged customer represents 23% more revenue than the average. To encourage engagement, retailers must create an emotional connection with that customer that is one step higher than a standard transactional relationship.
3D planning provides interactive engagement that is crucial for building emotional connections with customers and their design creations. Through the HomeByMe solution, for instance, users can generate HD renderings of their design projects and share them on social media platforms. It keeps the solution, and the brand, at the heart of their conversations. This provides added value to both the customer and retailer, enabling validation of designs through peer feedback. This leads to higher visibility to a wider audience, and stronger resonance with the brand by the customer.
What’s more, peer-to-peer reviews cost the retailer nothing. It’s a way to increase their market share for no extra cost.
- Brand advocates are key to growth
User generated content is an effective way for brands to tap into the community aspect of social media platforms, showcasing customer successes. Ultimately however, this is a way of generating third-party peer reviews that provide far more credibility than ‘owned’ content. 3D planning is highly visual and the high-resolution designs, together with photo-realistic rendering, portray the brand in a positive light that differentiates it from the competition.
Customers that evangelize a brand to peers are often highly satisfied with its products and services. They become brand champions and are aligned with the brand’s core values and messaging. This makes 3D planning valuable, not only from a customer success perspective, but also financially. A true brand advocate is not receptive to competitor activity. When it comes to future purchase decisions, they will look to build on their initial success with further complementary products, all housed in the same holistic design solution.
4. Tailored recommendations boost sales
Large e-tailers such as Amazon have popularized the tactic of matching complementary product lines based on customers’ buying habits. They can also analyze customer behaviors to predict that if a customer has purchased a table, for example, they may be interested in a lamp or rug to match. This triggers buyers to make impulse purchases of add-on items due to the personalization, timeliness and relevance of the recommendations.
3D planning takes this one step further; a user can input their key measurements for room dimensions, sketch out the room shape and then the 3D planning solution can recommend product sets that fulfil the requirements. This feature is practical in terms of reassuring the customer that the items chosen fit the room, but also provides inspiration for products that cohesively work together and create stunning room layouts.
Retailers can pre-populate the platform with product sets that will then present as recommendations that provide helpful inspiration to the shopper, but also result in an ‘up sell’ for the retailer. A study by MyBuys reported that ‘recommending products in the shopping cart based on a user’s purchasing or browsing behavior resulted in a 915% increase in conversion rate’, a true indication of the financial return that can be achieved.
Times will likely continue to be challenging yet optimistic for the home retail industry. Retailers need to give themselves a competitive edge with creative solutions to attract and keep customers engaged and spending money. Technology such as 3D planning will be crucial over the coming years, as brands begin to look towards investments into easily integrable white labelled solutions that can provide additional value to their new and existing customers and enhance the overall omnichannel experience.
To further explore on how you can increase the value per customer through an effective omnichannel approach using 3D planning, visit our website built specifically to serve home retailers where you can organize a demonstration of the platform with a member of our team of experts.