I have written about this before, but I think it bears repeating. There are so many marketing opportunities available that are absolutely free or very inexpensive to any furniture retailing business aimed at engaging potential customers to visit the showroom; in my observation most are just not being exploited. In these next few posts I would like to toss out a few ideas.
Some retailers seem to think that the only way to employ effective marketing is to have to pay for it. How often, does a retail manager or owner venture out to the selling floor to find sales associates lounging on the merchandise or joking and laughing amongst themselves? While I am certainly a proponent of enjoying what one does for a living, I have to believe that their time could be put to much more productive use.
It is easy and common for managers to fall into the paradigm that first you place ads in the newspaper or other local publications or buy spots on TV or radio, and then the customers will surely arrive. While I am not denigrating the approach (obviously it is a significant part of every retailer's effort to draw customers to the store) it is not the only tactic. One might consider it this way. If all that is done is to anniversary last year's promotions, one can only expect to enjoy equal, slightly reduced or slightly better sales than last year. If on the other hand, management does anniversary last year's promotions and duplicates last year's sales and also layers on other marketing efforts that are free or nearly so, might not this be where significant volume increases and profits come from?
Here is one idea: Be proactive with information that is readily available on-line or in your local newspapers or newspaper archives. Sales people can sit and wait for their next "UP" or cut up with their colleagues or they can work to bring some business into the store. Have employees already on the payroll armed with pre-developed marketing programs. The newspapers are replete with leads to contact potential customers. These are just a few:
Engagement Announcements. Why not add a wedding registry to the stores services. Department stores, china and giftware shops, etc. do it; why not furniture stores.
Wedding Announcements. Again, these lovebirds are probably in the market for some new furniture.
Birth Announcements. Obviously, baby will need a new crib and furniture.
Archival Birth Announcements. Go back to archives 3 to 5 years for Birth announcements. Those babies are now little boys and girls in need of kids' furniture
Real Estate Purchases and Closings. New home sales and permits for home building means the owner will need furniture.
Management Promotions. With promotions come higher salaries.
How about creating relationships and programs with wedding planners, tuxedo sales and rental firms, wedding gown retailers, florists and other marriage related businesses, real estate firms, builders, etc. to provide leads for consideration. This may cost a little but talk about targeting potential customers.
There are so many different free or inexpensive marketing avenues. It just takes a little effort and imagination.