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Digital Consumers Mean Business

Expert shared strategies at the Casual Market Chicago

Published by Erin Berg for Furniture Today | September 2016

CHICAGO — Attendees at the Casual Market Chicago last week had an opportunity to gain insights on today’s digital consumer that impact their business both on and offline.

Erik Qualman

Jennie Gilbert, COO of RWS, told Casual Market Chicago attendees that every consumer is a digital consumer.

Jennie Gilbert, COO of Retailer Web Services (RWS), presented "Every Consumer is a Digital Consumer," which addressed the results of survey of about 1,800 U.S. consumers about how they use the Internet when shopping for furniture.

This is a partial list of Gilbert’s nuggets and strategies for serving the digital consumer:

  • More than 90% of those surveyed said the first step in selecting a store to shop is an Internet search.
  • Buying is an emotional decision. Consumers make all kinds of assumptions about your business based on your website design. A website that looks professional gives the consumer comfort and security.Security is huge today, especially in making online transactions.
  • 97.7% of consumers expect complete and accurate product information on websites.
  • The number one reason retailers don’t want to show price is they are afraid consumers will they think they are too high. If you don’t show price, it’s guaranteed that they will think it’s too high.
  • Adding product info and price is the best use of your time because in 85% of cases, it will help you. That is the percentage of people who said they would leave a website immediately if there is no pricing available.
  • Furniture suppliers have a big opportunity here if they are the first to make it easy for retailers to price their products online.
  • The future health of your business lies in positive business/customer reviews. Google has given more prominence to business reviews because they are listed in the search results for a business.
  • Get reviews on Google, Yelp and Facebook — these are huge winners with the 1,200 surveyed.
  • Reframe how you think about a bad review. When business owners get a bad review, they usually think about the person who wrote it (and feel angry), but the smarter thing to do is think about the audience who is reading the negative review. Doing this may change the way or order in which you respond and act. Reframe from an emotional response into strategic, problem-solving action.
  • Gilbert cited a FedEx study that showed that customers who experienced a problem with FedEx and got it fixed is four times more likely to use the service than a customer who’s never had a problem.
  • Solicit positive reviews in a smart way through email reminders. Use software to make this an easy task that you don’t have to worry about.
  • Share your positive reviews on website and social media.
  • Use the AIM strategy to handle negative reviews: Acknowledge their dissatisfaction. Show Initiative to make it right by stating that you want to make it better (but do not be specific). Move it offline to a private platform.

RWS is a Scottsdale, Ariz.-based company whose mission is to serve independent retailers navigate the digital retail landscape and help them harness technology to improve their businesses. Gilbert is the co-author of RE:THiNK: 11 Surprising things you should do now to win retail customers in the digital age.

You can also read this article on FurnitureToday.com