Loyalty is a powerful word. It invokes images of knights slaying dragons in the name of their king and dogs standing guard faithfully beside their owners. But what does loyalty mean in terms of consumer behavior? When a customer has brand loyalty, does that mean that they will stand behind a product or company to the bitter end, come what may? According to Charles Duhigg, author of The Power of Habit, not always.
In his book, Duhigg describes how habits are formed for good or bad. He uses a case study for Target to show how a company can use advertising to change their customers’ purchase patterns and habits in their favor. Here’s how it worked:
Target recognized that women with newborns changed their shopping behavior to prioritize convenience. So instead of making shopping trips to the grocery store for food, mall for clothes, and beauty store for hair and makeup products, they preferred to go to a single store for all of their needs. Since Target already carries all of those items, albeit with fewer choices than each store individually, they wanted to create brand loyalty while a mom-to-be was in her early stages of pregnancy. By sending specific coupons to a pregnant woman that targeted her new needs, they would increase the likelihood that she would choose Target for all of her shopping trips after her baby arrived.
So, what does that mean to a furniture retailer?
Although we’ll never be able to convince Mrs. Jones to come to your store for all of her needs, after all, you’re not in the business of stocking milk and eggs next to your mattress department, we can target customers who are entering new stages of life and make it their habit to shop at your store every time they need furniture.
That’s brand loyalty.
How to Target Customers by Life Stages
In order to capture the business of a young professional who is looking to furnish their apartment one piece at a time, you need to send them the message that your store is a better option than an ecommerce site. That means offering them more convenience on the backend of the purchase to convince them to come to your store in the first place instead of shopping on their phone. Use social media and digital ads to spread the message about your next day delivery and set-up… and you can even mention that you’ll take away their old furniture or mattress too! That may seem like a lot to offer for a single sofa purchase, but this is one way you can truly set yourself apart from Amazon and Wayfair. And don’t forget to mention your low-price guarantee!
Next we focus on new home buyers… which means setting up contacts in the real estate business! R&A helps furniture retailers foster relationships with real estate agents with a program called Realtor Rewards. This allows agents to sign up and receive free gift cards that they can give to their clients who close on a new home. The amount on the gift card grows as the purchase price of the home increases. And to give the realtors an added benefit, they receive rewards points every time their client makes a purchase at your store. They can use these points towards furniture purchases for their own home or office, making them brand advocates for your company.
Finally, we’re going to follow your customer as she downsizes her home to a condo or retirement home. And to sell your point here, we’re going to show, not tell! Visit condo developments and retirement communities in your city and see if they would be interested in having your store furnish their model homes or apartments. You can select pieces that perfectly fit the space to make them seem as inviting as possible, then create packages by piece, room, or whole home and have them available for customization and purchase. The more they buy, the more they save. Not only will the empty nester love their new furniture perfectly tailored to their lifestyle, but their families will love the convenience and knowledge that their loved one is taken care of.
Just like brushing your teeth, shopping at a specific store is a habit that is reinforced every time you do it. So by targeting and retargeting the same customers again and again, you are creating a loyal customer who consistently chooses your store. But since the buying cycle of furniture and mattresses is so long, we need to focus on big life events to draw her in. Do this by tailoring your advertising messages and incentives to each life stage, and make sure that your staff knows which selling points to use to close on their sale. After all, your store isn’t cookie-cutter, and your selling points shouldn’t be either.
Want to learn more about creating a wholistic marketing strategy with digital advertising and Realtor Rewards? Get a free proposal here and learn how R&A would target your customers with messaging that appeals to their unique needs.