Furniture Marketing & eCommerce

Furniture Marketing

Furniture marketing has seen more quick adaptation to modernized advertising methods than many industries. We’ve seen a recent eCommerce boom with the furniture industry, and have discussed laggard approaches in re-tooling for modern consumers. One area where most brands have had little issue with is in their marketing endeavors. Modern businesses operated much in the way that media companies used to—their image is as important as ever.

Getting Social

When reaching consumers on social media platforms such as Facebook, Instagram, and Snapchat businesses have to cater to the native format. As the internet grows even more quickly, and smart devices become more powerful—videos and imagery are more vital to modern business than ever. The furniture industry has always held a strong favor towards the visually impactful approaches and can be compared to the fashion industry in this regard.

Big billboards, full-page spreads with nothing more than a picture—not to mention the entire furniture industry is heavily related to design’s thoroughfare to consumers. The best furniture brands have quickly adapted, while others have not, and old romantic views of business in the market have dragged them down. Furniture brands offer an illuminating sense of how many other modern businesses should approach their ad campaigns, although furniture may have only been successful by coincidence.

Modern Media Companies

If you are looking for a plumber, how do you imagine to find one? Written reviews, word of mouth, maybe just a simple local Google search with a handful of reviews—these are how most people search. However, those plumbers that show a dedication to their audience’s problems are typically the ones that get found the most easily. Maybe a local plumber has a blog about kitchen remodeling, where all they talk about is non-plumbing related topics. People that are renovating their kitchens would likely want to read it and find value in it. These same people will likely need a plumber, and if they’ve just finished an article on kitchen design that brought them value, then see your number on the site, you might just get a call. Now compare that plumber to a listing of a local guy who only pokes at advertising was to place his number in the Yellow Pages.

Waning Roles

Who the hell uses the Yellow Pages anymore? Mailmen across American are looked upon with disdain on the days they drop of these piles of soon-to-be fire starter. The point is, the first plumber is involved in his audiences perspective, while the second is simply holding an open for business sign. There’s a million plumber’s out there, and the one that’s already got your attention is more likely to get your business, all things being equal. To get a better idea of some of the best furniture brands, that all are exhibiting excellent demonstrations of modern marketing and social media presence, read this article. It does well, to sum up, most of the largest furniture manufacturers in the marketplace right now, and a quick peek at their social media pages can offer a lot of insight.

Universal Concepts

Plumbing may seem a bit tangential to Furniture, and even more so to marketing, but the same approaches can help any business succeed. First, know your customer, and know their perspective. If you’re a furniture company, the traditional perspective of the buyers have been those looking for something aesthetically pleasing, and within their budget; pretty simple right? Today anyone with a design idea and some capital can start a furniture company that contracts every aspect of its business model from factory to finish, and produce some sharp looking furniture. The best furniture manufacturers in the world utilize methods similar to this, though they’ve spent the last 100 years perfecting their supply chains and manufacturing processes.

Finding A Way In

You wouldn’t be competing well with them, but you’d be nimble and could hit the holes where they aren’t able to meet their customers. The point it—entry into nearly any market has gotten dramatically less costly since the modernization of international supply chains recent technologies. What separates success from simply having 50 dressers sitting in a warehouse is the marketing and meeting your customers demand. Furniture brands have been sensationalizing their designs for countless decades, much in the same way cosmetics and fashion have.

Furniture advertising is visual and very dramatic—often leaving you with a sense of emotion but no clear knowledge of what was being advertised. Maybe the room? Maybe the Lights? Maybe the bed? Either way, the pictures are pretty and they garner much attention from anyone passing them by. While this has been effective in the past, it has become tremendously effective now. Modern marketers stand to learn a ton from the approaches taken by the furniture brands on social media sites like Instagram, SnapChat, and even Facebook.

Respect the Platform

Nothing is more easily-dismissed than a social media page that has nothing but coupon resembling ‘ads’ from a local business trying to push their products. With the dawn of social media, businesses simply thought that by showing up to the party—they’d get all the attention. They couldn’t have been more wrong (except maybe the early adopters in some cases) and many of them never figured out they still had to dance and be merry. Furniture brands came out swinging hard, in all the right ways.

Know Your Format

Furniture manufacturers don’t typically sell furniture directly to consumers, so they had no qualms about just showing off the product. Another part of their business model over the past 50 years has to sell a lifestyle, not just furniture. Furniture’s workflow already consisted of creating elaborate interiors and design scenes for product photography, so using those pictures on social media sites was a no-brainer. Thus, their coincidental magnificence was born—little commercial vibe with a ton visual style.

People got to see pretty things and were bothered by annoying ads while they did it. That’s the secret formula—providing unadulterated value—and it comes so hard for most businesses. It’s hard to measure the effect, and if you can’t put a dollar ROI amount to it, most larger businesses won’t even consider it. For a great example, check out Bernhardt Furniture’s Instagram profile—it’s beautiful. It’s nothing but pretty pictures (that’s Instagram’s native format) and the only commercial intent seems to be to give away free furniture in contests.

Enrich User Experience, Don’t Interrupt It

The takeaway on this is that modern business has the opportunity to reach an incredibly large audience, at virtually no cost in many cases. Traditional advertising has relied on people being shown ads when the expected to see them, such as TV, Magazines, and Billboards. When people are cruising through the news feed on Facebook—they don’t expect a 3 minute sponsored interruption. Facebook knows this, and their marketing platform simply shows native post-formatted ads to users, who often don’t realize they are ads. When’s the last time you watched a TV commercial?

When’s the last time you even let one play all the way through? 80+ BILLION dollars are still spent every year on television marketing, and NO ONE is paying attention to them. When’s the last time you saw a TV ad for Bernhardt furniture though? Furniture has made no huge shift in their approach, it’s just the market that’s shifted to them. If you run a business and you aren’t  on social media right now, you are so late to the party it’s embarrassing to remind you one’s even going on.

You need to be there, you have to be there if you want to compete these days, but you have to respect the format of the platform. Rather than simply drilling out ads hoping some poor soul get sucked in, just join in conversations and help people solve problems. Make it clear on your profiles that you are a business and what you specialize in, and people will figure the rest out. If you’ve got a sale going on one day, let people know. Don’t let them know about a sale every day though—because that’s not really a sale at all is it? That’s just the goddamn price.

Closing Thoughts

Social media and furniture have come to get along famously, and any business can learn a valuable lesson. The biggest names in furniture are blasting their markets with beautiful arrays of images and lifestyle shots to help satiate their followers’ appetite for media. By providing value, they earn the respect of their followers and hopefully a note in their memory. If someone stopped to help you change your tire on the side of the road, and right when they left they handed you a business card and said: “Hey, I’m a carpenter; if you ever need help with a project just give me a shout!”—who do you think that person is going to call to help them renovate their kitchen.

The tire-changing, good-hearted, highway hero—even if he charges more than his competition. It’s not because he’s a better carpenter, it’s because he seems like a better person. If you want someone to pay more attention to your business on social media, they have to think that you provide more value to them than your competition—period. Don’ worry about selling them anything, just meet them where they already are and talk about what they want to hear about. If you’ve got something for sell at that point, and they’re interested in buying, you’re already 80% of the way towards closing the deal.