For businesses selling products involving a design consultation like kitchens, fitted furniture, staircases, bathrooms, blinds and conservatories, lead generation for appointments is an essential part of the sales pipeline. Here, we explore the latest behaviours of consumers looking for products like these and give a glimpse into how you can use insight to inform your acquisition, content and UX strategies to generate sales revenue.

Putting data at the heart of your strategy

For most people in- market, search engines are a popular place to start. On average each month there are over 11m searches with ‘kitchen’ in the search term, more than 5m including bathroom and over 620,000 containing conservatory. In our experience having worked for many years with retailers including Hammonds Furniture and Anglian Home Improvements you can tell a lot about a consumer’s mindset and where they are in the purchase journey based on what they’ve searched for. For example, the 275,000 looking for ‘kitchen ideas’ each month needs a different content approach in your ads and website user experience to someone looking for ‘kitchen design service’.

Spotting trends

Understanding data like this and emerging trends to identify consumer needs, motivations and behaviours can help brands attract new consumers and make sure they’re spending their marketing budget most effectively. According to insight from one of our data partners Hitwise, people who have upsized their home are 3.6x more likely than the rest of the UK to be searching for built-in wardrobes and 1.2x more likely to be searching for laminate flooring. There’s also a trend towards furniture items that make a statement. Searches for ‘velvet sofa’ are up 32% compared with this time last year, exotic fabric colours like ‘umber’ are 22% more popular compared with last year and ‘scandi style’ searches have increased by 30%.

Understanding the consumer journey

Search isn’t the only place people go looking for ideas. The 4.2m posts for #kitchendesign on Instagram and the hundreds of boards on Pinterest for bathrooms tell you there’s no shortage of inspiration online for people who want to piece together thoughts, let alone have a somewhere to store and share their favourites with partners, friends and families. There are plenty of influencers out there, but it’s key to find the right ones to help you reach the right audience and match your brand values.

Online reviews can play a make-or-break role within the purchase journey and generating positive ones from those who have experienced your products and service can go long way to generating leads, new customers and sales revenue. 65% of people who have bought a kitchen, flooring or furniture for their home in the past 12 months say they like to read other people’s opinions online. Crucially, 62% say other people’s opinions online help them to make decisions about major purchases, while 42% say they trust advice from other people more than those from brands or companies.

E-commerce may have streamlined the retail experience but ultimately the majority of consumers buying considered purchases still want to touch the texture, feel the quality and see what they could be buying up-close in-store rather than what’s in their mind’s eye. Where your stores are and their proximity to the potential consumers you want to reach can define very targeted acquisition, content and UX strategies. Not that long ago direct mail was one of the very few ways to reach people in very specific locations. Today, there’s plenty of very smart, technology-led ways to do this through different channels including TV, mobile devices, social, online display as well as paid search.

I was in a furniture store recently and having noticed I was ‘just browsing’ I was impressed with how they managed to convince me to share my email address so I could get access to a personal portal allowing me to “customise options online and get a better idea of prices”. Once activated, I realised the content was the same as the website. It left me underwhelmed and they never did follow up with future emails which was a missed opportunity.

Measurement is key

Measurement is pivotal to success enabling you to continuously calibrate marketing spend across paid, earned and owned channels to maximise lead volume and sales value. An essential part to this is ROI attribution, not only measuring the channels or keywords and content that motivated your audience to be your next business lead but understanding the role that channels or keywords and content had on influencing this.

Analysing your own customer data can also unlock new business. Being able to pinpoint future customers shaped by an understanding of the locations, behaviours, needs and motivations of those who have already bought can lead to future success and focused targeting.

In conclusion

Consider putting data at the heart of your planning and strategy, including your own about customers who have bought from you, keep an eye on trends, and understand your consumer’s motivations, behaviours and influences as they change throughout the customer journey to define your channel and content strategies. Last but definitely not least, measure everything, end-to-end, to evaluate performance, achieve marginal gains and optimise lead generation.

Click here for more information about how we tackled these challenges with Hammonds Furniture.