Speaker: Success lies in focusing on A.R.T. of retail

WeisblattAUSTIN, Texas — Seth Weisblatt, owner of Sam’s Furniture in Fort Worth, Texas, said focusing on the “A.R.T.” of retail — attention, relevancy and trust — is the secret to his company’s success.

“Advertising drives awareness to your brand, while marketing tells your story and gives reasons for a customer to buy,” Weisblatt told attendees of Progressive Business Media’s 2018 NEXT Conference during a session on Retail Beyond the Transaction.

“The product needs to be relevant and appealing, and you also need the trust factor through the entire cycle, from the customer’s first contact through to purchase and after,” he said.

Using this formula, Weisblatt turned Sam’s Furniture into a destination store. He then created a new business called Click2Store.com to act as a resource for other retailers and manufacturers.

“One of the areas where a retailer can truly stand out creating both trust and relevancy is with reviews. The word-of-mouth factor both on the website and in-store is exceptionally important,” Weisblatt said. “The search function is also key relevancy factor. At least four items need to appear with each product search.”

Weisblatt outlined four additional strategies he suggests to create relevancy on the Internet:

Social media matters: If you are not actively posting content that meets consumer desires, they deem you as irrelevant.

Constantly list how many people are currently shopping the website to generate a sense of urgency.

Showcase products together on the website similar to the way you would in-store. Weisblatt recommends Shoptelligence as a great partner for integrating the website and catalog.

Identify site visitors, and follow up with them.

“We have often had contact with customers six or seven times before they come into the store,” said Weisblatt. “Perq, which offers online guided shopping solutions, is our partner for identifying potential customers on the site and reaching out to them to find out what they are looking for and any additional questions we can answer.”

Creating a dashboard for the sales team is also a necessity, according to Weisblatt. He recommended changing the compensation structure away from the multi-tiered reward and discretionary bonus to more of a pass/fail system where the sales force is rewarded for meeting set metrics. The dashboard method for creating easy to follow metrics can be used with Microsoft Power VI, Tableau and Google Data Studio.

“Having a report is an example of real data. You can show the salesperson if they passed the base metrics or not,” said Weisblatt. “It’s important to set these metrics in order to hold your organization accountable.”

Sam’s Furniture has iPads for its sales force and uses Google mail and Google chat, which enable it to catalog all customer conversations with salespeople so someone else on the team can reference the conversation if the initial sales contact is not available.

“We started with the customer experience and then worked back to the technology as Steve Jobs recommended,” Weisblatt said. “If you can fill the need of a customer better than anyone else, you win.”

The issue of trust is much more imprecise, Weisblatt said, citing the examples of Ashley HomeStores and Facebook.

“Ashley sold Durablend blended leather, and it started to peel,” said Weisblatt. “They accepted all returns without question, and it built trust for both the consumer and the retailer. Whereas, Facebook broke every rule of trust recently regarding privacy, and no one cared. I believe we are willing to give up our privacy as long as we enjoy the benefits of the experience.”

Weisblatt said it’s important to set up the proper tools for attention, relevancy and trust, so the entire organization, including sales, can take advantage of the data and customer information. This gives the whole team the ability to quickly take care of every customer.

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