“Omnichannel” has become somewhat of a buzzword in the home furnishings industry—and for good reason.
These days, most retailers would fair better with a strategy that integrates different methods of shopping, but it may seem intimidating if you’ve never done it before.
The FAM reached out to several furniture and mattress retailers to talk about their omnichannel strategies and what’s working, and we found something surprising—omnichannel doesn’t have to be as complex as it seems.
While most stores we spoke to are selling through a combination of channels, they rely on a combination of things—from who they sell to and what region they are in—to create a cohesive selling environment.
Keith Moneymaker, owner of Sweet Dreams Mattresses and More, does not think our industry does very well when it comes to omnichannel strategies.
He may not be an expert in omnichannel, but having been in his family business for 20 years, he’s seen how “misleading” bigger retailers have been online.
“A consumer shopping online isn’t going to question a sale,” he says. “But if they’re in a store, they’re going to question the integrity of a salesperson. And I can understand that given the stigma we’ve gotten in our industry when it comes to sales. You see the 50% off all these crazy sales and you don’t question it. But with mattresses, they’re such personal items that we’re dealing with, for us to constantly market as like just a simple commodity is false.”
He adds that it’s great to sell commodities, but when you genuinely care about customers and can portray that in your advertising and marketing message, it’s much more impactful.
“We talk too much about the money,” Moneymaker says. “So what do you think our consumer base is going to talk about when they come in? We’re not directing people in the right way.”
He says retailers focusing on price are doing it wrong and are trying to sell a mattress when they should be selling sleep.
And for Sweet Dreams, a consistent website and social media are their secret weapons to getting people into the store to address the important issue of sleep.
“First of all, our website doesn’t have 50% off everywhere when you go through it,” he says. “It’s got a direct message about what’s going on in the industry and a very subtle message about hundreds of mattresses in stock ready to deliver.”
That message explains that the company has hundreds of mattresses in stock, and that they understand delays are happening in the industry, but they have same-day or next-day delivery available on most models.
“I’m building my business the right way,” Moneymaker says. “And if I’m losing a little business here and there, it’s fine. I’m building it to last, not just for a good time.
Also on the website? A picture of the store’s staff, showing that the store is people-oriented.
“It’s not a random advertised model laying on the bed showing how cushy it is with their puppy,” he says. “It’s real. You see me on the website, and now you see me in the store. It’s a real streamlined process, and I try to make my staff just as much a part of my social media as I am.”
Showing off your staff on social media and your website was something Moneymaker couldn’t recommend enough.
In fact, when you go to sweetdreamsnc.com, the first thing you see if a picture of the store’s staff with a logo that says “meet our team.” When you click the photo, it brings you to a page where it shows each person of the team as well as two or three hobbies or interests they have.
“So if somebody is shopping with us can look to see who they’re talking to and what they like and connect that way,” Moneymaker says. “They even share business cards for their personal businesses. I’ve got a couple of artists, a couple of computer programmers. I let people be themselves and I’ve had great success. It all goes back to investing in people.”
Moneymaker also feels it’s important to establish your store as a brand and separate it from the brands you’re selling.
“I think we focus too much on representing other brands, and it’s actually our brand that we’re not representing enough,” he says. “Our brand is at the top of our website, set as my social media logos plastered on the back wall of my stores.”