Advertising scale | Furniture world magazine

    Interview with Chip West

    sThe research shows that more diversification of media purchases can be beneficial for many furniture retailers.

    For this installment of the Furniture World series on advertising best practices, we interviewed Chip West, director of category strategy for the national sales team at Vericast, a marketing solutions company. Vericast helps companies across many industry sectors, including grocery, consumer packaged goods, restaurants, retail and financial services, connect with consumers through data, analytics, and a wide range of digital, print and payment solutions.

    “Our company started in the printing business,” West explained. “We were and remain the largest co-mail advertiser in the United States. Furniture and furnishings retailers and their ad agencies use our distribution platform to combine messages into co-packages targeting approximately 70 million households per week down to the neighborhood level across the country.

    “This covers most DMA regions across the country, with content that can be customized by neighborhoods, and we have access to massive amounts of first and third party data, often including unique data from our furniture selling partners that helps us develop targeted approaches to reaching their customers.”

    “Over time, the platform has evolved using patented technology, including digital infrastructure, to deliver both offline and online solutions to help customers and shoppers connect.”

    Diversified advertising spend

    When asked to share major advertising shortcomings among today’s furniture retailers, West notes that many retailers are not diversifying their media sufficiently. He said, “Instead, they have chosen to put all their eggs in one basket. This is probably not the right approach in today’s world. Consumers interact with a lot of media throughout the day, absorbing a huge amount of information online, print, and broadcast. This information informs their decisions about which furniture stores to visit. There is a lot of data to suggest that the more media a retailer uses to communicate through multiple media channels, the better the response is likely to be.”

    70% of the purchase impact is driven by print and digital media.

    Consumer spending for 2022

    “Our studies show that 70 percent of consumers agree that spending on home and family will have a higher priority in 2022 than in 2021. Roughly 23 percent said they plan to purchase home decor and furnishings. Therefore, multi-channel approaches are critical to reaching furniture shoppers. .

    He continued, “When making advertising decisions, it is important to consider the difference between interaction and impact. Just because you may consume a lot of a particular medium does not necessarily mean that you are affected by it.

    “Other studies show what influences consumers when they make a purchase. Prosper Insights & Analytics, a well-known data company, reported that 70 percent of the media’s impact on those who plan to purchase furniture and mattresses comes from print and digital components (Source: Prosper Insights & Analytics, 2021).

    This statistic indicates that furniture retailers whose media investments are highly skewed towards broadcasting are likely to sacrifice market share among consumers who are already considering or shopping for furniture.

    We all know that over the years, the number of newspaper readers has decreased. According to research by Nielsen Scarborough, a company that collects local and national consumer reviews, 74 percent of American households have not read a newspaper in the past week. However, nearly half of new furniture buyers say they are spending more time with junk mail than they did before the pandemic. Advertising mail is tangible and has a longer shelf life than other media. It makes a lot of sense because buying furniture is a purchase that requires thought and research. This is reflected in sales data from home furnishings retailers collected over time after a printed mailing letter is issued.

    Source: Vericast Awareness-to-Activation Study, October 2021

    A strategy that always worksThe digital approach combined with print and other media, has proven to be a great way to drive in-store traffic and generate more sales.”

    Postal mail from what it was before the epidemic. Advertising mail is tangible and has a longer shelf life than other media. It makes a lot of sense because buying furniture is a purchase that requires thought and research. This is reflected in sales data from home furnishings retailers collected over time after a printed mailing letter is issued.

    Nearly half of the furniture consumers surveyed say that seeing an ad in both print and online motivates them to buy. Online signals of intent can identify households in the market to purchase furniture. Infusing digital ads is a great way to reach them with an additional point of contact. Therefore, the strategy of taking an always-on approach with digital media along with print and other media has proven to be a great way to drive in-store traffic and generate more sales.”

    Retail Letters

    Turning to advertising messages in light of recent logistical and supply chain challenges, Chip West stated that Vericast is encouraging retailers to reconsider repeating pre-pandemic advertising messages.

    “Retailers with ample inventory and/or lines made in North America will continue to be successful shouting it. Retailers who have merchandise in stock or have slight delays have a distinct advantage worth promoting. On the other hand, unlucky retailers can focus On a more limited set of items in stock or generic messaging that avoids traditional price/item advertising.

    “In 2021 and beyond, we’ve seen advertisers continue to promote in-store events and focused promotions during tax refund season. Not everyone files their taxes at the same time, so the most successful ads ensure offers are delivered to shoppers at the same time they get their money back. Because these dollars are spent very quickly.

    Inflation will make financing offers even more important, especially for millennials who have bought homes or plan to buy in the coming months. They are the largest share of home buyers today at 37 percent. Eighty percent of millennials are likely to make a major purchase in the next six months. This group usually buys older homes that need repair or renovation. Financing offers are an excellent way that retailers can get them into stores to purchase furniture on a fast schedule. Consider offerings featuring home offices, furniture for the family, and multi-use common rooms.

    Also, millennials are the biggest group of new movers, and it’s the biggest motivator for home furnishing purchases. Unfortunately, many furniture retailers still don’t emphasize reaching new operators as often as they should. So, it is a great opportunity to bring in a lot of new business.”

    Other Advertising Considerations

    West also commented on the following advertising considerations:

    • Message the site: Many retailers need to ensure that their websites best reflect the experience that customers will have when they visit their stores. It doesn’t matter what the mismatch is. Consumers want to see these two experiences seamlessly linked together.

    • Recruitment: More furniture retailers should consider leveraging their display ads, as appropriate, for recruitment. This is more important than ever due to the current employment environment.

    • message timing: Another important consideration for advertisers is the timing of ad offerings. When extended delivery times are a concern, retailers should inform shoppers that they need to consider raising their shopping schedule to increase the chance of receiving merchandise intended for seasonal use or just in time for the next life event.

    • Additional timing issuesHistorically, a lot of furniture stores focus their messages to promote big three-day weekends; Presidents Day, Labor Day, Memorial Day, Back to School, Back to College, Thanksgiving, Christmas and Black Friday Weekend. Although October-December traditionally records the strongest sales for home furniture retailers, it’s fairly consistent from month to month when we look at this year’s sales trendline. Frequent messages are especially important now to reach ready-to-buy furniture shoppers as industry sales may be declining.

    There are many life events that create selling opportunities. Moving into a new home is a big deal, but people need furniture when family members move in or out, get married, downsize, or make home improvements. Any of these can lead to the need for new furniture. This is why we see retailers get better returns when they spread their messages and use more frequency to motivate consumers throughout the year.

    Source: Vericast Consumer Studies (New Furniture Buyers)
    Study released 2021, October 2021


    Questions about the topics covered in this interview may be directed to Chip West Care from [email protected].