Editor’s Letter – April 2017

Editors Letter

April, 2017—

Here’s to extending the customer experience

Marcia and I spent our honeymoon in the Abacos, a string of islands in the Bahamas known for their Windex-blue waters and empty beaches. In January, we made the decision to celebrate our 20th anniversary by returning to where it all started, so this month we’ll be in paradise.

A lot has happened in 20 years. For starters, this time we’ll be taking our kids, Riley and Kate, with us. And this time we’ll be relaxing on the Abaco Sea for three months, not a week.

OK, technically our toes will be in the sand for a week, but in a sense, we’re already there. Ever since we rented our home online, Paul, our cottage’s owner, has sent us weekly updates on things to do, places to see and, most important in my book, where to find the best conch fritters. The emails are filled with gorgeous photographs and lyrical writing that has me wearing flip flops to work. Nobody enjoys the anticipation of a trip more than Marcia, who can’t wait to see our cottage—and its owner—in person! These past three months have been heaven for her.

All of this begs the question: Why should the purchase of a sofa be any less fulfilling? Think about it: There are a lot of cottages in the Abacos. But from the moment we inquired about Paul’s cottage, he’s sent us all sorts of information about the islands that have nothing to do with his cottage. Talk about differentiating from the crowd! When we finally decided to pull the trigger, Paul went out of his way to send us his weekly updates. Talk about extending the customer experience!

We all know the consumer’s buying journey is a progressive one spanning research, buying, owning and advocating. If your store offers the right message in those first three stages, you will more than earn No. 4, the customer’s advocacy.

That means it’s more important than ever to have a social media campaign that’s rich and relevant not just to what your consumers want, but need. That means it’s more important than ever to have a website offering more than pretty pictures of sofas and dining tables. Shoppers want blogs packed with information and the ability to chat with someone at the store. And your store environment needs to match the website experience with helpful, knowledgeable staff. We hope this issue of RetailerNOW inspires you in many creative ways to extend the customer experience.

About the Author

Robert Bell
Robert Bell is Content Editor for the Home Furnishings Association. Email or call him with any news about your store, including expansion, personnel, successful initiatives—anything of interest to HFA members. He can be reached at rbell@myhfa.org or 916-757-1169.