How local retailers can fight back against big-budget mega-brands

Walking in my neighborhood the other day, I saw a large box on my neighbor’s porch with outdoor chairs printed on the outside. The brand? Better Homes & Gardens.

The magazine has reached such a level of popularity that it can launch products and essentially set the trends for its readers. And it’s just one of many brands that has expanded into the outdoor category and used its built-in audience of subscribers as the prime targets. 

Few can deny it is a smart strategy, but when a brand has that kind of popularity and reach, how can a furniture store with higher-quality product compete? 

There’s no one answer to this complicated question, especially as more and more outdoor products enter the market. But by focusing on their strengths, there are a few ways retailers can compete. 

  1. Visual content. Use high-quality images and videos on your website to showcase your furniture products — this may sound simple but there are still websites out there with low-quality images. Take this a step further and create engaging content for your website, social media platforms and email newsletters. For example, a 360-degree virtual view of your showroom that consumers can start to browse at home. Give them a taste of what your store has and they may be more likely to come in.
  2. Social media campaigns. Social media has become ingrained in the way we work, so it’s important to remember that smart, targeted social media campaigns on platforms like Instagram, Facebook and Pinterest can work wonders. Ask customers to share photos of your furniture in real-life settings, offer behind-the-scenes glimpses of your store or even videos of how the furniture is manufactured.
  3. Local influencer partnerships. Big brands aren’t the only ones that can take advantage of influencers. But for your store, think local. Are there any well-known people in your area that would make sense to partner with? Everyone needs furniture, so appeal to that idea with the right partner and message. Collaborate with local influencers or interior design bloggers who resonate with your target audience. Invite them to showcase your furniture in their homes or write reviews on their platforms. Their endorsement can help increase visibility and credibility for your brand.
  1. Email marketing. This can be a tough tactic to get right. You don’t want to send too many emails, but you also want to stay in touch with customers who have bought before or shown interest in buying. Build email lists of customers, and prospects, or break it down however it makes sense for your store. Regularly send them newsletters with updates on new arrivals, promotions and design tips and personalize your emails based on customer preferences and purchase history to increase engagement and conversions.
  1. Local events and workshops: Hosting local events, workshops or seminars related to home decor and furniture design can work, but it’s easier said than done. Some ideas could include DIY workshops, interior design consultations or talks by guest speakers. However, you can also relate to the community on a person-to-person level. Have a lot of kids in your area? Host an outdoor movie night and let everyone sit on the outdoor furniture to show how it’s comfortable and kid-safe. These events can drive foot traffic to your store and foster a sense of community.

By implementing a combination of these marketing ideas, furniture retailers can fight back against large brands with big budgets and effectively reach their target audience, drive sales and build a loyal customer base. 

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