Home furnishings retailers know that their customer base consists of different segments. Younger adults – singles and young marrieds – buy different things than, say, couples in their 40s with pre-teens or teens at home. Our furniture needs change at different stages of life.
At the same time, though, many furniture retailers advertise as if their customers were all the same. Listen to their radio spots, and you’ll hear the same spot on every station they buy, even though station formats attract different audiences. A soft rock station primarily reaches women age 35+, but a Top 40 station appeals to young adults, 18 to 34. And news/talk tends to reach men who are 50+.
So why does a home furnishings retailer advertise with the same radio spot, as if one-size-fits-all? Shouldn’t they target their ad messages to people in specific life stages so shoppers will know the store has got what they’re looking for?
In radio, it’s hard to do, but in today’s digital world, it’s not hard at all. We can identify the demos of online users, and target consumers in specific life stages. And that could really help furniture retailers, since their shoppers increasingly go online, according to a new Tribune Publishing survey.

  • Half of all furniture shoppers start their shopping in a store, but half start their shopping online – on a website like Amazon or a furniture store website, or by using a search engine.
  • On average, shoppers visit just 3.6 websites (is yours one of them?).
  • 80% of shoppers conduct research online at some point on their “path to purchase.”
  • But half of all shoppers said visiting a furniture store is the most important activity they do in helping them make a purchase. (Second is talking to friends or family at 34%.)

In other words, people research online, but they buy in stores, where they can see it, touch it, and get it right away.

What does all this mean for furniture retailers?


  • It’s time to shift part of your budget from mass marketing to targeted marketing – to reach people when they’re doing research online.
  • Recognize that your website IS your store – till shoppers walk in your door. You’ve got to get people to visit your website on their path to purchase – by helping search engines find you and by helping online shoppers find you.
  • If you can identify your best customer segments, programmatic advertising can reach them. With programmatic, you’re not buying specific sites, but you’re buying the target audience, on whatever sites they visit. Your ad runs on many sites, but it’s only displayed when the right visitors show up – say, parents of teens or pre-teen children.
  • Since you can target people, you can make offers relevant to your target group. Why show older shoppers the kinds of products that normally sell to younger ones? Why not show them what others like them are buying?
  • And here’s the best part: you can measure your results online and see which messages bring your target consumers to your website, and which messages convert shoppers to buyers. With our help, you can optimize your ad spend to get the audiences and use the messages that give you the best response.

Want more information about how you can strengthen your digital advertising and your digital results? Contact us, and we’ll share key findings from our furniture study, and suggest how to use those findings to increase your sales.