How Lighting Showrooms Stand Out, Draw Foot Traffic and Win Loyal Customers with Best Practices
Your showroom is important to us. Our success depends on your success. On this page, we’ve compiled some best practices and strategies recommended by successful showrooms and a number of trusted, credible sources into a collection of tips and ideas—small steps you can implement immediately to help strengthen business.
YOUR SHOWROOM’S DIGITAL & SOCIAL PRESENCE
Facebook. Instagram. Pinterest. Twitter. YouTube. Daunted by digital marketing? There’s no need to be. Online marketing can feel overwhelming if you try to do everything at once. We suggest you start slow, start small, experiment with one platform at a time and scale up at your own pace. Pursue what works for your lighting showroom for there’s no one-size-fits-all digital marketing strategy. Not sure what to include in your strategy? Here are some suggestions:
Be Found with Local Listings (Nextdoor, Google)
The fastest way to your door is through your customers’ phones. Take advantage of these targeted, free online listings. As you fill out your listings, ensure that the company and contact information you provide is up-to-date, as detailed as possible and includes an appealing, high-res photo of your business, wherever possible.
Nextdoor – Listing your business on Nextdoor offers an excellent opportunity to generate verified, high-quality, local leads. Nextdoor is the free and private social network for neighborhoods. It’s where people go to seek out recommendations for local restaurants, services and stores. If your business is listed on Nextdoor, they can tag it in their posts and comments and provide recommendations. You can respond to relevant posts with a recommendation to visit your showroom. If you have not already done so, claim your Nextdoor business page and be seen by potential customers in your neighborhood.
Google – Getting a free My Business Google listing is one of the easiest ways to ensure your business shows up when people search for your category, especially since the listing feeds into Google Maps. Besides listing your showroom’s location and contact information, you can use the free service to encourage customer reviews, respond to them, interact with and engage your customers.
A note about voice search: An estimated 420 million yearly Google searches are done through voice, according to this article from Lighting and Decor, January 2018.
Optimizing your Google My Business listing and your website for commonly searched keywords and ensuring your lighting showroom’s name and contact information are listed accurately increases the chances of it showing up on people’s voice searches.
Targeted Facebook Marketing
Facebook allows you the ability to create ads and determine who gets to see those ads. You can target your audience by demographics, interests and location. Your customers can use Facebook Messenger to reach you. Denise Duncan of Lighting Etc uses targeted Facebook marketing to reach potential customers living within in a 35-mile radius of her store. Read her success story here. The key is to identify your targeted audience and to stay consistent with your marketing efforts for a period of time so you can track and measure results and perhaps make adjustments to your strategy as needed.
Online Review Sites
- Online reviews are like word of mouth on steroids. Online reviews impact how high your website is ranked by Google’s search algorithm since it’s their goal to show customers the most relevant responses to their queries.
- Customers rely on online business reviews when they’re comparison shopping and looking for highly recommended places to shop at.
- Having your showroom’s customers post reviews online about your service, selection and value additions is a great way to set yourself apart in the eyes of the well-informed customer in your neighborhood as well as to boost your search ranking.
- Reviews also tell you what your customers value most and what keywords, attributes, benefits they’re looking for, which helps you tailor your marketing communications.
- Once you’ve listed your business on review sites, make sure your customers are in fact posting their reviews of your showroom. Often, it comes to something as simple as asking them if they’re willing to do a quick review while they wait to check out and/or follow up with a quick email not too long after their purchase.
While Google’s My Business offers the highest ranked review service and Facebook reviews are almost as popular, there are other specialized review sites that could be critical to boosting your reach and online reputation. Reviews are an excellent channel of communication to help you understand your customers’ needs better, to address their concerns and questions and also to give potential customers a reason to trust you and choose your business.
Inspire with Instagram, Pinterest, Video
In a visually driven industry like ours is, it’s critical to have an inspiring social media presence with attention-grabbing images that tell a beautiful story.
- Ensure that the images and content you post present products in the best light (pun unintended!) and reflect your showroom’s personality.
- Put a social media posting calendar in place and schedule your posts in advance.
- Always respond to comments and questions on social media in a prompt, positive, courteous manner.
- Take advantage of our digital asset library [ email] to find gorgeous lifestyle and product beauty shots for your marketing efforts.
- Engage with video. If you’ve always wanted to post cool videos but didn’t know where to start, this is an excellent guide to video marketing.
- Have fun!
Wow Them with Your Website
Even if you’re not in the ecommerce business, it’s critical you have a visually appealing, fast-loading and easy-to-use website. Every business and website is different. But there are some key factors you can’t afford to overlook.
- Navigation is key. Make it easy to find what customers want. Have a few customers and friends or family not familiar with the industry, who could be potential customers, test drive your website and record their observations.
- Ensure the website is mobile ready.
- Ensure your contact information is prominently visible and easy to find, preferably on every page. Make sure it’s clickable so it can be easily mapped on your customers’ phones.
- Include customer reviews.
- Include prominent links to your preferred social media outlets with a clear and specific call to action (CTA). Do you want them to Like your page on Facebook? Follow you and tag you on Instagram? Pin a certain image?
If you’re not ready to build out a multi-page website, look at starting small with a simple one-page website. All the most important information about your showroom should be on this page. For example:
- A photo of your showroom or a beautiful lifestyle image that clearly shows what your showroom sells/provides.
- Your address, phone number, email address and hours of operation.
- An explanation of both your SERVICES and your PRODUCTS.
- Introduce your team.
- Links to your social media.
Or just buy a domain and redirect it to your most active and accurate social media account and skip the website altogether.
BRICK and MORTAR
Ecommerce may be here to stay, but, brick-and-mortar stores still account for nearly 90% of total retail sales. One of the best strategies when competing against ecommerce is to focus on the most amazing, tangible brick-and-mortar experience you can provide in your showroom, inviting customers to touch and feel the products and envision them in their home settings. Aim to deliver an exceptional shopping experience every time. Here are some tips we’ve compiled from talking to showroom managers and reps and industry publications.
MAKE THE BEST FIRST IMPRESSION
Stay in the loop. Know what’s trending in furniture, rugs, wall decor and other areas of design outside of lighting. Ask your design-savvy customers about the style and mood of the space they’re designing, what kind of furniture, fabrics, wall colors and rugs they prefer and what kind of activities they envision happening in that space so you can recommend appropriate layered lighting.
Show, and tell. Curate visually appealing vignettes that pull together concepts based on colors, trends, textures, materials and more. Visit our Inspire Me section for ideas and trending topics.
Pay attention to curb appeal. Attractive signage, ample parking space, well-maintained exteriors, an inviting window display and an inspiring ambience are crucial to the shopping experience.
Show them possibilities, not products! “People buy from people.”- Bob Stolzberg of Stolzberg Associates. Every member of your showroom floor staff needs to be knowledgeable, friendly and a good listener. Not only should he or she know your products and applications well, but also be able to understand and translate the customer’s tastes.
Put inspiration on display. Lay out well-designed catalogs, style guides and magazines on counters, opened to pages with lifestyle photography.
Put your showroom on their desks. Ensure your interior designer customers have the catalogs from your best manufacturers in their hands so they can easily see and compare options any time.
OFFER EXPERIENTIAL GOODIES
“Offer services geared towards designers to entice them to visit your showroom even when they’re not in the market for lighting.” – Celeste Schumacher, Muska Lighting
Ensure a comfortable shopping experience. Pay attention to detail when it comes to designing the floor plan and flow of your showroom, make it easy to navigate through the space, incorporate the right amount of natural, task and ambient lighting.
Sensory marketing or atmosphere branding. Have you ever lingered longer in a certain aisle or a certain store without really knowing why? It may have been because of the way it…smelled or sounded. Some reports suggesting up to an 80% increase in “intent to purchase” when effective scent marketing was used. Different kinds of scents and various types of music have different effects on our moods and emotions. The science of using scents and music to create the right atmosphere can enhance your customers’ shopping experience, translating to increased showroom visits and sales. Check out resources on retail scent and music marketing.
Value-added extras. Offer designers meeting spaces, Wi-Fi access, a well-stocked library of latest magazines, catalogs and style guides in your showroom. Even if they’re not shopping for lighting.
Create a family-friendly ambience. Consider designating a child-friendly space, play area, WI-FI-enabled café or reading lounge.
Go beyond 9-5. One of the key reasons many people prefer shopping at big-box stores when compared to showrooms is because of the hours of operation. It’s a challenge for many customers to squeeze in shopping during the day when they’re at work. Consider staying open longer on certain days of the week and be sure to communicate that fact via Nextdoor, on your website and other means.
Think outside the box. In the book “Why She Buys”, author Bridget Brennan argues that women are the engine of the global economy, driving 80 percent of consumer spending in the United States alone. Among other strategies, she recommends tailoring the shopping experience around the customer rather than making the product the focus of attention. In her book she also suggests that women respond better to life’s milestone references rather than age references. So, little details like children’s ages, graduations around the corner, a home’s age and upcoming milestone anniversary will likely shape her remodeling requirements and shopping style.
Don’t be afraid to explore and experiment with innovative ideas you can implement in your showroom. A mini-spa area where customers can get pedicures and foot massages, photography workshops for before-after pictures, complimentary design consultations for your most loyal customers are a few examples, with the caveat that, these and other differentiating ideas have any chance of working only if your service and product offering are excellent to begin with. In a nutshell, think “What value additions might make the customer’s shopping experience a pleasant, comfortable and memorable one and why would she want to return?”
ENGAGE with EVENTS
Give interior designers an opportunity and a reason to visit your showroom. Some ideas:
- Social mixers
- Designer workshops
- New product demonstrations
- Before-after makeover critique sessions
- Book launch and celebrity author readings
- Community project. For example, collaborate with a area designers on a complimentary home makeover for a deserving recipient in your neighborhood.
- Viewing parties. Organize a viewing party for a popular design show.
- Offer your showroom space as a shared working space for industry pros like designers and builders. Offer free Wi-Fi and coffee and give your prime repeat customer audience an excuse to be in your space as often as possible, and they’ll keep you and your products top of mind when it’s time to shop.
GO DIRECT. BE UNIQUE.
When done strategically, direct mail can help increase revenue for local businesses like showrooms.
- Explore direct marketing with postcards, brochures and larger-sized collateral with targeted lists.
- Prioritize maintaining an updated customer database and building a list of potential customers.
- Take advantage of manufacturers’ marketing collateral, such as our Designer’s Choice Style Guide. Brand it with your own showroom label and mail it to select area designers and homeowners.
- What works for one showroom may not work for another, because of location, demographics and various other reasons. Invest time and resources to understand the direct marketing strategies and tactics that work well for you.
WE’RE HERE TO SUPPORT YOU ALL THE WAY.
As your manufacturing partner, we’re committed to not just delivering superior products and exceptional service, but also to providing you helpful marketing tools and actionable tips to support your showroom’s growth. Our goal is to go the extra mile to support the showroom industry as a whole and also individual partners with your specific marketing efforts. We’re constantly learning, exploring and experimenting with ideas, trying to ensure that we offer you consistently high-quality marketing support to complement our products and service. This page has several resources and tips and will be updated from time to time. Stop by whenever you’re in need of some marketing inspiration.
If there are strategies and tactics that have worked well for you, we would love to hear about them and with your permission, feature your tips here with due credit to you.
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