Why Every Furniture Dealer Needs a Transactional Website

Last of a four-part series

By Anastasia Stefanova, AVB Marketing

In Part I of this series, we stressed the essential role that websites now play in furniture retail.

In Part II we showed the importance of transparent pricing, while in Part III we addressed dealer fears over e-commerce cannibalism.

In this final installment, we explore member concerns over the cost, in time and money, of maintaining a transactional website.

Take Stock

Let’s start by asking a few questions:

  • What if you discovered that one of your physical stores was getting over 900 visitors a month but was unattended, had no pricing on the floor and wasn’t set up to take orders or accept payment?
  • How quickly would you drop everything and race over there?
  • How much would you pay for at least one person to handle the sales floor?
  • How much attention would you give to the pricing strategy and to building maintenance?
  • Would you wish the browsing customers just went to your other location instead, which is already set up with all of the above?

Well, I’ve got news for you: your website is another store location. It’s the one with the widest inventory, greatest traffic and it’s open 24 hours a day. For many shoppers it’s their first interaction with your store and they want to browse it and shop it. And like a physical location, it requires maintenance, pricing and its own strategy — except you can implement all those functions for a fraction of the time and cost of running a brick-and-mortar store.

See the Value of your Online Store

Some retailers view their website as a marketing expense, but in reality it’s more like a rent payment on a physical store. When compared to the expense of renting and operating a physical location, the investment to keep and maintain your website is significantly lower. Given the lift a transactional site would give to your foot traffic, sales team, digital marketing efforts and overall bottom line, even a small investment of time or resources to run your most heavily trafficked store would pay for itself tenfold.

BrandSource members who are unable to operate a transactional site themselves use a variety of strategies to maintain them:

Internal Resources: Leverage your in-house staff to manage the website. Spending a couple hours to train and delegate will allow you to make the most of your time.

New Entry-Level Hires: From interns to part-time staff, you can get a dedicated resource to work on your website for minimal investment.

AVB Support: AVB Marketing has resources available to help with any merchandising and website needs.

All of these options are still significantly less costly than what would be spent in accomplishing the same in a physical location. More important, they are well worth the cost when considering the sales potential your website provides online and in-store.

And remember, not pricing your website is actually contributing to the complete opposite of what we wish to accomplish! Rather than driving people to your store, we are driving them right into the arms of your competitors.

If you’re curious about how pricing your website or adding a payment gateway might supercharge your business, contact me or your dedicated AVB account representative.

Anastasia Stefanova is director of marketing/home furnishings at AVB Marketing, the advertising, e-commerce and digital marketing arm of YSN publisher AVB BrandSource. Contact Ana at Anastasia.Stefanova@avb.net.

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