Google, AVB Cap Webinar Series with Holiday Season Preview

AVB Marketing’s Brian Wattier and Google’s Kristen Fox forecasted a digital-heavy holiday season.  

By Alan Wolf, YSN

Furniture dealers should plan for a digital-heavy holiday and shouldn’t wait until Black Friday to begin their Q4 promotions, as consumers have already started their seasonal shopping.

Those were the main takeaways from the third and final day of “2020 Fall Home Furnishings Insights,” a complimentary 30-minute webinar series presented this week by Google and AVB Marketing.

Throughout the presentation, co-host Kristen Fox, a Strategic Partner Manager for Google Customer Solutions and YSN guest columnist, echoed what AVB CEO Jim Ristow has long implored: consumers are shifting to shopping online at an unprecedented pace. Fueled by the outbreak of the coronavirus, e-commerce has grown more in the last two months than in the last 10 years, she said, with online shopping behavior up 188 percent since March, and Memorial Day weekend conversions up 97 percent over all of Holiday 2019 for AVB members.

“At least 75 percent of consumers are planning to shop online” this holiday season, Fox told an industrywide audience of home furnishings retailers and vendors, meaning dealers must adopt a “digital-first” strategy to effectively compete. Her advice:

  • Invest a minimum 50 percent of your marketing budget in digital;
  • Double down on the digital channels that are delivering the most conversions;
  • Pursue repeat customers, as they’re already pre-sold on your business; and
  • Lean into “hyper-local” marketing that targets your delivery radius and trading area.

See a replay of Day 3 here.

With the first holiday skirmishes already underway, and Amazon’s annual Prime Day promotion set for next week (Oct. 13-14), co-host Brian Wattier, AVB’s VP of Marketing, said the time is now for dealers to plan and implement their digital strategies.

“It won’t be a Black Friday or a Cyber Monday,” agreed Fox. “All signs point to a Black November and a Cyber November. It’s going to be a really long holiday season.”

To that end, dealers should get their promotional plans up and running now, she said, and keep some marketing funds in reserve for “when the wave hits.”

As to where to invest those digital dollars, both Fox and Wattier recommended a comprehensive marketing plan that variously includes email, search and display ads, a free Google My Business listing, and video content on YouTube, the No. 2 search engine after Google and the subject of Day 2 in the series.

See a replay of Day 2 here.

In addition to the invaluable strategic advice, one lucky retailer who attended all three sessions will be randomly selected to win a best-in-class, custom-designed e-commerce site from AVB Marketing valued at $20,000, plus $2,000 in Google Ad Spend.

The “2020 Fall Home Furnishings Insights” series was the latest collaboration between Google and AVB Marketing, one of a select group of Premier Google Partners worldwide. Together they help independent retailers take market share and grow their businesses by sharing industry insights, best marketing practices, and by encouraging consumers to shop local.

All three webinar segments, covering the pandemic’s impact on shopping habits; the power of video content; and creating a fourth-quarter playbook, are available for replay here.

BrandSource, a unit of YSN publisher AVB Inc., is a nationwide buying group for independent appliance, mattress, furniture and CE dealers.