Wednesday, October 9, 2013

Furniture Dealers: How and Why You Should Get Started on Pinterest

While Pinterest doesn’t have the brand equity of Facebook or Twitter, this site is an ideal fit for independent furniture dealers looking to expand their social media footprint. Pinterest is one of the fastest growing networks in the social media universe, growing from just under 50 million users in February of 2013 to over 70 million in July 2013. As opposed to Facebook’s social leanings and Twitter’s orientation toward news-related events, this growing network is basically built for businesses, with a catalogue-style format that visitors peruse in search of product images, pricing, and to learn where items can be purchased. In fact, Pinterest is considered to be on the leading edge of the next wave in social media; social shopping.

Here are three easy steps any furniture dealer can take now to get started:

1) Set up a business account – A basic account will likely suffice but building a business page will separate your offerings from individual sellers and hobbyists by displaying a professional interface that can be tailored to work with the style of your business’ website.
2) Allow “pinning” on your website – Image centric, furniture-based websites are ideal for “pinning”, which is basically a sharing utility that embeds pictures from your website on the boards of Pinterest users. Each image that is pinned to a Pinterest board will have a link back to your website.
3) Start building your Pinterest following – The fastest way to build an audience on any network, including Pinterest, is to actively engage with other community members. These engagements can be in the form of comments, pins, and sharing on other social media networks.
Pinterest may not get talked about as much as some of the other massive social networks, but for independent furniture dealers it could be the most profitable social media site. Additionally, the site’s focus on shopping makes for a more direct path to sales, as opposed to navigating the social protocols of the larger networks.

Friday, October 4, 2013

CRM for Electronics Dealers: 3 Benefits of an Optimized CRM System

Many electronics dealers, when strategizing on growing their revenues, will focus almost entirely on bringing new people into the store while spending little time and effort in the retention of their existing customer base. This concentration of resources on client acquisition, according to a variety of studies and statistics, ignores the value of the customers who have already made purchases from the store as well as the benefits of retaining them as repeat customers via the implementation of an optimized customer relationship management (CRM) system. These benefits include:
  • A holistic view of each customer’s interactions with the business – Having a system that aggregates information on each customer can reveal product and brand preferences, which can provide opportunities to communicate with customers in a more specific manner. For example, a customer who has a history of upgrading TVs offered by a specific brand can be advised of the next upgrade and when it will be available in the store.
  • More efficient marketing – A CRM system can be used to develop sub-categories of customers with similar purchasing histories, thus allowing the business to market specific products to groups who have already demonstrated an affinity for them. This is a far more efficient practice than marketing to untargeted groups where individuals have already signaled their preference for different brands or are unfamiliar with the products in the campaign.
  • The building of a loyal customer base – Customers who receive communications that are tailored to their interests, rather than generic advertisements, will develop a perception that the business “gets” them, and will hold that business in higher regard than one that is focused on just selling them something.
An optimized customer relationship management system can deliver a variety of benefits for electronic dealers with perhaps the most important one being the opportunity to know what their customers want. This knowledge can then lead to efficient marketing campaigns, higher conversion ratios, and brand building.