PRACTICAL KNOWLEDGE FOR APPLIANCE, ELECTRONICS, FURNITURE AND MATTRESS RETAILERS
WebFronts Go: ®
Driving consumer buying power online PAGE 8
Veteran RWS Team Members Promoted to Executive Leadership PAGE 4
Convert More Digital Consumers with AdRocket™ Ignite PAGE 6
FROM THE NETWORK
Black Friday Was Dethroned in 2020, Ranked No. 2 in Online Orders PAGE 15
Our Promise: Your Digital Powerhouse
If 2020 taught us anything, the act of slowing down somehow speeds everything up. Nowhere is this more true than in the acceleration of U.S. retail e-commerce growth: The increase we saw in 2020 from 2019 was staggering. By some estimates, upwards of $600 billion— levels that experts didn’t expect we’d reach until 2024. (See this issue’s “WebFronts Go” cover story on page 8.) Here at Retailer Web Services, 2020 reenforced the importance of a strong (and smart!) online presence. We’ve never been more proud to stand by the independent retailers we serve, helping them to not only succeed, but also grow—exponentially—in the midst of crisis. Just one example, the Famous Tate case study on page 11 cites a tremendous 419% YOY surge in sales this retailer experienced across a four-month period during the early days of the pandemic. What’s more, across the RWS network, the volume that retailers sold online was far greater than in years past: an unprecedented 266% increase over 2019.. All signs point to this trend continuing. On behalf of our new executive leadership team, which began transitioning into and operating in their new roles in January 2020, our “promise of technology” to retailers remains steadfast: We are delighted to continue to advance our products, bringing you new features to further improve the user experience and align with evolving consumer expectations. The expansion of AdRocket’s smart, digital advertising has created a powerhouse of new capabilities that reach beyond text and display ads. (See the “Ignite” feature on page 5.) As “apply and buy” instant financing solutions have taken hold in the world of e-commerce, and consumers have come to expect seamless checkout processes that offer a variety of payment options, look no further than our WebFronts Go set of technologies to evolve your WebFront like never before. As we continue to leverage data and artificial intelligence, you can expect 2021 to deliver on the RWS promise, being everywhere online your consumers are searching and making the most of every WebFront visit. Onward with promise,
GENNA MAJUTA, CEO JAMES KANE, JR., FOUNDER March 2021
Retailer Web Services
Sierra Creative Group
MANAGING EDITOR CONTRIBUTORS
Kim Cecere Jennie Gilbert Jim Kane Genna Majuta Patrick McAvoy Jodie Pierce All images sourced from Retailer Web Services or stock.adobe.com unless otherwise identified.
Our Promise: Your Digital Powerhouse
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Veteran RWS Team Members Promoted to Executive Leadership F E AT U R E
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Driving consumer buying power online
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In the Face of a Global Pandemic, Historic Appliance Retailer Relies on Online Presence
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FROM THE NETWORK
Black Friday Was Dethroned in 2020, Ranked No. 2 in Online Orders
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Veteran RWS Team Members Promoted to Executive Leadership Creating ‘opportunity for others to lead’ t the end of 2020, Retailer Web Services (RWS) announced a new executive leadership team in which all members were promoted from within the organization to lead RWS on its growth trajectory and uphold its mission: to serve independent retailers, helping them realize their dreams through the promise of technology.
The team began transitioning into and operating in their new roles in January of last year. As COVID-19 began to unfold as a public health crisis and ensuing global pandemic, the new executives were running the day-to-day operations at RWS with founders James Kane Jr. and Jennie Gilbert working alongside them to provide support. Genna Majuta was named chief executive officer, overseeing strategy for the company and transitioning the role from Kane, founder and CEO. Kane continues to be actively involved in the business, functioning in a board level capacity, coaching and providing accountability to the RWS executive team. Majuta has served RWS for 10 years in leadership roles, including chief customer officer most recently, director of customer service and brand manager.
Gilbert added: “For Jim and me, our job has been to create a company that attracts great people and inspires them to work together to solve difficult problems. When that goes well, great products for our customers and new opportunities for bright stars to rise are both created. “We are so proud that over the last several years, every new or vacant role in leadership at RWS was filled via promotions of existing team members,” she continued. “We are confident
Jodie Pierce serves as RWS’ chief operating officer, transitioning the position from Gilbert who has held the role since the company’s inception in 2006. Like Kane, she remains actively involved, serving in a board level capacity to mentor and advise the executive team. Pierce has served at RWS for seven years, having held positions in marketing, as scrum master, and as director of project execution and deployment. Rounding out the executive team are: Chief Technology Officer Jeff Dezso, a 10-year veteran of RWS; Chief Financial Officer Kristen Pietragallo, who has been with the company for seven years; and Chief Growth Officer Adam Gilbert, who has been with RWS for nine years.
the new executive team will take RWS to new heights and the transitions will be seamless for our customers.” RWS customers can expect the same great service and innovative products that help their businesses succeed. The homegrown leadership team emulates the values of RWS founders, who will continue to support them every step of the way; a commitment to high standards remains at the heart of RWS as was shown over the past year. In the first quarter 2021, RWS has delivered enhancements across WebFronts® Level 4, AdRocket™ and the WebFronts Go set of technologies.
“We’ve had the privilege of leading RWS for a long time,” said Kane. “For me, since pre-inception over 15 years ago and Jennie, over 14 years ago as the first team member. It’s time for us to step back and create opportunity for others to lead.”
RWS Executive Leadership Team (L to R): Jodie Pierce, chief operating officer; Jeff Dezso, chief technology officer; Adam Gilbert, chief growth officer; Kristen Pietragallo, chief financial officer; and Genna Majuta, chief executive officer.
Meet Genna Majuta, New RWS CEO Chief Executive Officer Genna Majuta has an accomplished, 10-year track record with Retailer Web Services (RWS). Along the way, she has led RWS team members with humility and been instrumental in delivering unparalleled digital solutions to independent appliance, electronics, furniture and mattress retailers. Upon receiving a Bachelor of Science degree in Business Administration from the University of Arizona in Tucson, Majuta moved to Phoenix in 2010 with the intent of attending law school. For the “short-term,” she accepted an executive assistant position at All Your Retail, a reseller of RWS. Once there, she quickly developed a passion for helping independent retailers succeed through the use of effective technology. That’s when she decided law school could wait.
Here, RWS CEO Genna Majuta shares her thoughts on leadership, further advancements to RWS’ integrated digital suite and how retailer-customers can build on success in the new environment:
Q. What does leadership mean to you? A. Leadership to me means serving those around you and creating opportunities for them to succeed. I’ve been privileged to have leaders that allowed me to try my hand at new things while providing the support and empowerment I needed to grow. My goal is to create the same space for others to thrive through hard work, collaboration and belief in themselves. Q. What do you feel is the greatest strength for RWS retailers in 2021?
When All Your Retail was acquired by RWS in 2012, Majuta remained at the company and has steadily risen through the ranks, giving her a unique and holistic perspective of the organization. As the brand manager of All Your Retail, she aided with the transition of the team and customers to the RWS family. Later, she was promoted to director of customer experience where she scaled the team through vital periods of growth in both the RWS product suite and retailer customer base.
A. We offer a complete digital solution that integrates seamlessly together, and we are poised to build on integration in 2021. The end result will be a website and digital marketing strategy that leverages artificial intelligence to deliver the most captivating advertising assets to consumers on advertising platforms, and to traffic that arrives to the website outside of the paid ad channel.
Prior to being named CEO, Majuta served in the RWS C-suite as chief customer officer. In her role, she oversaw 54 people, spanning across four teams: Account Management, AdRocket™ Digital Advertising, Design and Promotions.
According to RWS founder James Kane, Jr., “Genna contributes whole heartedly to every task, inspiring us all to work harder and do better right beside her. The effort, value and professionalism she brings to everything she touches is unparalleled.” Kane went on to say: “Genna is unflappable. Everyone feels safe bringing bad news and new problems to her attention because they know she will take the time necessary to understand it and the action required to make it better. Her leadership creates an atmosphere of collaboration and grit. Everyone loves to work with her because they know there will be steady progress, everyone will share in the credit, and the task at hand will get done well and with excellence.” Last fall, Majuta was named among Dealerscope’s 2020 Best and Brightest Role Models and Mentors in its Powerful Women in Consumer Technology Awards. According to Dealerscope, the recognition program was designed to honor those women who are effective in their respective consumer tech fields and who are known as both natural leaders among their peers and colleagues, and as mentors to up and coming females in the CT category.
RWS retailers advertising with Level 4 plus AdRocket™ Boost will have a powerful toolkit that learns who your shoppers are, what messages and products are resonating most with them, and then use that information to automatically update the website with the most effective content.
Q. What should retailers be wary of? A. Stagnation in their online presence. With as fast as consumer trends have accelerated over the past year, proceeding with the same digital approach that was stood up even a couple years ago is risky. Shoppers value different criteria today than they did a year ago, and your digital strategy should consider these changes. From your website, to your online reputation, to your paid digital advertising, ensure that you’ve reviewed every element in light of the shifts that came in 2020 so you can properly meet consumer expectations. Q. What should retailers be doing in 2021 to up their digital game? A. Retailers should look for opportunities to collect and leverage consumer data. Today, shoppers expect a more tailored shopping experience that adapts to their wants and needs. Finding ways to learn who a shopper is and what they’re after are important website activities to create a pleasant user experience at an individualized level. This intelligence can be used for automated remarketing efforts, or to equip your sales team with a hot list of leads and consumer profiles that show exactly what a shopper wants.
Data can also be used in aggregate to understand what content is most effective. A/B testing (the process of showing two versions of the same web page to different segments of visitors at the same time, and then comparing which version performs better, improving website conversions) can be difficult and expensive. However, with the right team and tools, A/B tests built on top of a website with an agile neural network can be simple, cost effective and highly fruitful.
F E AT U R E
Convert More Digital Consumers with AdRocket Ignite ™
Proven results stretch beyond the limits of traditional ad types
merican consumers have rapidly devoted their time to online activities in recent years, a
trend that accelerated in the wake of the coronavirus pandemic. The average American spent nearly 12.5 hours in front of screens in early 20201, up almost 60 minutes a day over the same time just a year earlier! As public movement was restricted and shops closed in many parts of the country, Americans were forced to take some or all of their shopping habits online last year, increasing e-commerce spending 47.3% year over year in the process.2
With people spending more time in their homes than ever before, consumers quickly became comfortable with the idea of buying big ticket items—like furniture and appliances—online. Home goods experienced massive e-commerce gains as a result, including the categories of home/decor/furniture (up 34.1%), consumer electronics/appliances (up 70.6%) and home improvement (up 84.8%). There are strong indications the digital habits consumers adopted due to coronavirus aren’t going to be dropped as soon as the pandemic is behind us: 51% of consumers surveyed in one study said that they would retain some of their new digital purchasing behaviors in the new normal.3
The right message in the right place at the right time, automatically What does all this mean for independent retailers? To thrive in 2021 and beyond, you’ll need to adjust your marketing spend to keep up with the increasingly digital methods your prospects are using to find the products they want and the retailers from which they choose to buy. That’s why Retailer Web Services (RWS) has expanded its AdRocket™ smart digital advertising software with Ignite, a bundle of advanced technologies designed to achieve increased
consumer acquisition and drive more conversions than traditional digital advertising can alone. While the largest and most effective retailers in the world are engaging in AdRocket Ignite-style advertising, RWS is the first and only provider to bring this capability to the independent appliance channel. AdRocket Ignite brings your paid advertisements to life on your WebFront, using machine learning and artificial intelligence. Going beyond traditional ads, AdRocket Ignite reaches consumers who have not or will not engage with paid advertising.
The Nielsen Total Audience Report, The Nielsen Company, August 2020 https://www.nielsen.com/us/en/insights/report/2020/the-nielsen-total-audience-report-august-2020/ 2020 Holidays, Rakuten Interactive, January 2021 https://www.rakutenintelligence.com/blog/2020/holidays-2020 Covid, Commerce and the Consumer, Wunderman Thompson Commerce, 2020 https://insights.wundermanthompsoncommerce.com/covid-commerce-and-the-consumer
Here’s how AdRocket Ignite works: 1
A consumer in your area searches for “appliance sale” in their search engine of choice, using any internet connected device.
Once on your WebFronts website, Ignite engages consumers in multiple ways to increase acquisition. Purpose-built with today’s digital consumer in mind, Ignite coordinates image advertising, product placement and other marketing assets, unlocking the full value of each, by: • Increasing the value of a Google or Facebook display ad impression by reinforcing the same message throughout the site.
Because you’re an AdRocket Boost customer and you have Google Responsive Display Ads currently running on Google’s platform, your display ad is now in front of this shopper.
• Getting more consumers—particularly those less likely to click on (or see) display ads—to view and interact with the promotion. • Making it more likely consumers will click on products that are part of the promotion. • Increasing the number of conversions these promotions deliver by serving the right offer in the right way at the right time.
How well does it work?
For whatever reason, they don’t click. Maybe they’re pressed for time, don’t know your business, or they’re otherwise not ready to take action yet. They close out their browser session without clicking.
Later on, they decide to continue their search for appliances again, since they’re ready to take the next step in their customer journey. They type in “appliance sale” again.
In February 2020—before the effects of the pandemic had begun to spread across the country—RWS executed a series of AdRocket Base campaigns with Ignite, featuring vendors like Whirlpool, LG and Maytag for hundreds of RWS customers over Presidents’ Day weekend. AdRocket Ignite results—driven by the ability to reenforce advertising messages with paid traffic AND reach orgranic traffic—outperformed the same AdRocket Base campaigns for dealers unable to take advantage of Ignite: • Promotional products’ page views increased 96% • Rebate form downloads increased 98% • Calls to stores from mobile sites increased 92% • Digital store/website visits increased 92% • Ad spending increased just 25%
How can RWS customers take advantage of AdRocket Ignite? For dealers with a WebFronts website, AdRocket Ignite currently Instead of serving up another display ad or a text ad, your business appears as the first organic listing in their search results. According to Google, search users click the first result 28.5% of the time, and it drops quickly after that, with just 15.7% clicking the second result and 7.2% clicking the fifth!4
Your prospect clicks the link and goes right to your website. Since you’re an RWS WebFronts® Level 4 customer, your AdRocket account talks directly with your website and serves up the same display ad your prospect saw earlier. This exposes them to the promotion another time, using the same familiar imagery and offer. This time, it’s more relevant since it appears atop the page that offers the products that are specifically applicable to the promotion offer.
can be paired with AdRocket Base campaigns. The RWS team is working to bring this powerful feature to AdRocket Boost with an expected launch date in the second quarter of this year. At that time, if you’re an AdRocket Boost customer, your digital advertising advisor will be in touch to let you know when AdRocket Ignite’s powerful technology is available to dramatically increase your website traffic and conversion rates. For RWS dealers not currently utilizing AdRocket Boost, there’s no better time than the present to get started so you’ll be ready to realize the benefits AdRocket Ignite delivers to your digital advertising strategy. Contact your RWS representative or visit adrocketlaunch.com to speak with one of our digital advertising specialists.
Visit adrocketlaunch.com to find out more.
COV E R F E AT U R E
WebFronts Go Drives Consumer Buying Power Online ®
Instant financing, the latest payment method in e-commerce, is widely considered a win-win for those selling and purchasing products online. A growing class of point-of-sale (POS) lenders offering instant financing solutions are embedded in the checkout processes at major retailers from Walmart and H&M, to Sephora, Dyson and Adidas, according to a recent article in The Atlantic.
The article states that while these lenders encourage consumers to spend more money more often, they also “give retailers greater access to a demographic whose purchasing power is relatively untapped: the nearly half of Americans in their 20s who don’t have a credit card.” Add to the mix the pandemic’s acceleration of the online shopping shift. As a result, eMarketer projects: “U.S. retail e-commerce sales will grow to $843.15 billion in 2021 (up from $794.5B in 2020). While this isn’t as pronounced of an increase as we saw
As for consumer sentiment and understanding of financing options, the Klarna survey reported that instant financing empowers consumers by providing them with additional freedom, flexibility and buying power.
in 2020 from 2019 ($600.1B), these are levels of e-commerce that experts didn’t expect we would reach until 2024.”
It’s no wonder the digital version of “buy now, pay later” has grown exponentially. TotalRetail reports that “more online retailers recognize POS credit is an important tool in reducing friction at checkout and increasing consumer buying power.” Enter WebFronts® Go, a set of technologies developed and deployed by Retailer Web Services (RWS) to evolve your WebFront into a smooth (and delightful!) online shopping experience. The latest powerful feature of WebFronts Go: Wells Fargo integration for instant financing. A free extension of Level 4, this “apply and buy” financing option at checkout can reduce cart abandonment and increase overall sales, two key metrics driving the rise of e-commerce instant financing. According to a survey by Klarna, an e-commerce payment solutions provider: Nearly half of online retailers (46%) confirmed instant financing reduced cart abandonment; two-thirds (64%) believed that providing financing options at checkout increased overall sales. As for consumer sentiment and understanding of financing options, the Klarna survey reported that instant financing empowers consumers by providing them with additional freedom, flexibility and buying power. “The Wells Fargo ‘apply and buy’ integration all by itself is an exciting Level 4 feature,” said Adam Gilbert, RWS chief growth officer. “Shoppers can apply and get approved for financing with a Wells Fargo credit card within minutes—all from an RWS WebFront.” He added that in addition to Wells Fargo, integration of instant financing from Synchrony Financial is forthcoming this year.
PayPal Integration and Advanced Availability Along with “apply and buy” WebFronts options for consumers, Paypal integration became available in January across all WebFronts levels following beta testing during the fourth quarter. Providing RWS retailer sites with a leading online payment system for fast, easy and secure transactions was a key initiative last year, according to Gilbert. Other notable WebFronts Go features for seamless online transactions: The ability for consumers to enter credit card information by taking a picture of their card; and, coming to WebFronts in early spring, an Advanced Availability feature will allow retailers to create and adjust inventory filters, using
RWS Announces New FlashTags Vendor
“RWS retailers can expect more future features and capabilities to
The release of FlashTags in January 2020 marked
automated rules, informing consumers of various product availability levels such as “in stock,” “out of stock,” “special order” or
be rolled out from WebFronts Go in an effort to continuously evolve
the flagship digital solution of WebFronts Go. A free
their websites and encourage prospects to convert,” said Gilbert.
extension of WebFronts® Level 4, the FlashTags
He points out, just as WebFronts Go is the engine that drives customer conversion, it’s the industry-leading marketing automation capabilities of Level 4 that power the engine. In fact, Level 4 consistently outperforms other levels. For example, in August 2020: • Level 4 retailers experienced a 205% increase in online sales over Levels 1-3. • Level 4 retailers with AdRocket Boost saw an additional 32% in online sales, an increase of 237% over Levels 1-3. When you combine the cutting-edge technology features of
software makes it easy, affordable and lightning fast for independent appliance, electronics, furniture and mattress dealers to power electronic shelf labels (ESLs) on the showroom floor. After successful beta testing in the third quarter 2019 and launch in 2020, more than 130 RWS retailer locations have implemented FlashTags. The instant popularity of the FlashTags feature prompted an integration with a second ESL vendor, Pricer.
Level 4 (marketing automation, progressive profiling and Hot
FlashTags provides a seamless way for retailers to
Prospects, email re-marketing, abandoned cart emails and
assign a product to a tag, choose from a variety of
automated Facebook posts) with WebFronts Go, it’s a “powerful,
templates and send all necessary data to their ESLs.
all-in-one solution,” noted Gilbert. “Our retailers aren’t nickeled
FlashTags automatically updates retailers’ ESLs when
and dimed for this set of technologies to help their businesses
prices on their WebFronts—or any other conditions they
stay ahead of the game.
“Last year was really impactful,” said Gilbert. “We saw firsthand our
“Digital tags are the wave of the future,” said Chief
retailers’ livelihoods on the line. We also saw their success stories.
Growth Officer Adam Gilbert. “They keep in-store tags
The pandemic cemented what we believe to be true: a clear focus
up to date and automatically flag items “On Display” on
on digital and always advancing their websites result in greater
retailers’ websites. We’re excited to bring our retailer-
customers another vendor option this year.”
In the Face of a Global Pandemic, Historic Appliance Retailer Relies on Online Presence Resulting In Impressive YOY Returns F
amous Tate dates back to 1954, when it was founded
by Clarence Tate and known as Tate Electric. Occupying the space of a former convenience store in Tampa, Fla., Tate Electric sold major appliances and was commonly referred to as “$10 Tate” because Clarence had built a reputation on low prices that were just $10 over cost, so the story goes.
Enter John Horst, who purchased the business from Tate in 1973. As Horst carried on the tradition of offering great deals on appliance brands, he also grew the business, adding locations throughout the Tampa Bay area to serve an expanding customer base. By 1996, as Famous Tate had established a loyal customer following that trusted the retailer for its competitive pricing on major appliances, mattresses were added to the product mix. Today, Famous Tate Appliance & Bedding operates 11 showrooms, including its original location. The retailer “Serving the Tampa Bay area with great deals since 1954!” operates a 100,000 squarefoot distribution center and offers more than 30 appliance and mattress brands. It employs more than 240 associates, also known as “Taters.” While the retailer recognizes top performing employees through its Tater of the Year Award, the “top Tater” is reserved for the store’s brand
Famous Tate in Oldsmar, Fla. (Photos/Dirk Shadd)
ambassador, “Tater the turtle”. Technically a Gopher Tortoise, Tater was selected by a local kindergarten class as the store’s mascot because the species is native to Florida, lives a long life and is independent by nature, like the independent dealer. Each store carries plush Tater turtles to give to children in their showrooms as their parents are shopping. Should customers want more than one, their donations for the soft toys go directly to the Florida Wildlife Federation to help fund signage for Gopher Tortoise habitats throughout the state. Tater is a young mascot in the store’s 66-year history, introduced in 2017 as a fun way to represent the store, according to Jason Horst, director of marketing and John’s son. In many ways, he’s been a light in the darkness—and a nod to normalcy— during a global pandemic. These days, Tater sports a facemask, underscoring the store’s commitment to keeping customers and associates safe.
Unique Challenges (and Opportunities) “There have always been struggles for independent dealers, especially here in Tampa Bay with the national and regional chains that have come and gone over the years,” said Jason, who remembers vividly the first struggle his dad faced the year he purchased the store: The oil embargo in 1973 strained the business and its ability to deliver appliances. As for the economic recessions along the way, the family business has focused on controlled growth and a conservative approach to real estate. “We have weathered these challenges by keeping our company lean and nimble,” added Jason. He also credits his national buying group as providing the resources to compete more effectively and efficiently, as well as networking opportunities with peer dealers across the country. “We’re all doing the same thing, just in different markets, and idea sharing is key to independent dealer success.”
The COVID-19 crisis, however, brought an onslaught of unprecedented challenges against a backdrop of uncertainty. “Are people even going to shop? It was the not knowing what tomorrow’s going to bring,” remembers Jason. As an essential business, priority No. 1 was to create a safe shopping experience for customers and a safe working environment for associates, he explained. “When you open your doors to the public, even with limited hours and safety precautions in place, you’re going to have customers that might not feel the same concerns.”
March 1 to July 31, 2020 Reveals YOY Surges for FamousTate.com During the first five months of the pandemic’s uncertainty in the U.S., Famous Tate locations remained open as an essential business with limited hours, reduced staff and locked doors to limit the number of customers in stores. Meanwhile, the store’s WebFront, FamousTate.com, was open 24/7 and experienced unprecedented, year-over-year boosts in online retail.
New Users Increase
Bounce Rate Decrease
“The pandemic brought new opportunities to the independent side of the appliance industry if you could provide safe delivery,” said Jason. “For dealers with adequate stock, it was a great chance to serve customers in need. We had never sold so many freezers!
“Thanks to the new sales opportunities created, we never had to shutter any stores or layoff anyone in our company.”
Famous Tate’s in-house maintenance team created plexiglass partitions for sales stations and as counterintuitive as it seemed, the stores locked their doors to limit the number of people in the showrooms. Delivery teams were equipped with Personal Protective Equipment for safety in customers’ homes. During April and May when many big-box retailers stopped offering delivery services, Famous Tate experienced a surge of new customers wanting to increase food storage capacity and seeking home delivery of refrigerators and freezers. As “work from home” became the norm, the trend for home durable goods continued as customers wanted to upgrade their appliances and take advantage of new features.
Number of Sales Increase
Estimated Value of Sales Increase
Meeting the Need for Contactless Sales Meanwhile, the Famous Tate website experienced a surge of its own. Despite reduced store hours during March, April and May—including store closures on Sundays—the retailer’s online presence, powered by WebFronts® Level 4, was always on, supporting customers and processing online orders. Since partnering with Retailer Web Services to build an ecommerce website in 2011, Famous Tate’s online orders have grown steadily every year, according to Jason. “However, when the full effects of COVID-19 were settling in, customer orders placed on our website increased tremendously.” The tremendous increase amounted to a 419% year-over-year surge in sales March 1 to July 31, 2020, with estimated sales valued at $1,894,012.
“We have a great partner in RWS. When the crisis hit, all the tools we needed were already in place on WebFronts Level 4. Customers were desperate…‘How can you help me without coming in the store?’ They could buy securely on our site, allowing us to complete their order in our point of sale software and get it delivered.” Jason discussed the notable ways the store’s online presence successfully overcame difficult circumstances during the early days of the pandemic: • For customers preferring to purchase via phone, famoustate.com allowed sales associates to show them options. • LiveChat, which was staffed out of convenience pre-pandemic, became an essential part of the customer shopping experience: It supported customers when store hours were reduced, provided the answers shoppers needed before placing online orders and created full-time positions for Famous Tate associates who preferred to work from home. • The need for more information on the website prompted the addition of an ‘In Stock’ flag to items that were available, so customers and associates would know in real time what models were in stock during each product search. This seamless integration with the store’s retail software, Whirlwind, allowed customers to make smart choices when they needed a replacement appliance quickly without having to call the store. In March, when RWS provided retailers with COVID-19 resources and actionable recommendations to reach shoppers, Jason didn’t waste time implementing their advice.
“RWS was great with providing COVID-19 messaging on our website. The wording was so good, we carried it through to our print ads to let customers know we were here to serve them and taking steps to provide safe shopping and delivery experiences. “Defining our different ways to shop—whether in-store, via phone, email, through our website or even our LiveChat—provided the options that customers were desperately seeking.”
(L to R) Bill Webber, director of retail operations; Jason Horst, director of marketing; John Horst, president; Claude Ward, general manager
The New Normal for Independent Dealers On the flip side of the opportunities presented by the crisis, it also created product availability challenges given pandemic-related factory closures, reduced workforces, and modified scheduling in the U.S. and other countries. By late summer, Famous Tate had a waiting list of about 300 customers for freezers. Jason points out that “clear communication” across Famous Tate’s family of stores has helped guide customers to the best options such as “scratch and dent loads” from some of the store’s key suppliers. As consumer behavior remains drastically altered in the new normal, Jason believes the importance of technology has reached a critical point for independent retailers, noting, “Showrooms have always been vital to customers when shopping for big ticket items like appliances and mattresses, but websites have become the flagship showroom that both customers and sales associates can use as a resource.
“Consumers can buy appliances practically anywhere today— from big-box stores, to membership clubs or websites you’ve never heard of—the key is having products available locally for quick delivery or pick up. This is valuable to customers. “Dealers must have their products priced online and available for purchase. MAP compliant pricing tools from RWS are easy to use and allow you to spend as little or as much time as you want on merchandising.” Now more than ever, it’s important to integrate as much availability information as possible, advises Jason. “This is the next challenge for independent dealers. Most customers want to buy locally, but we have to provide convenience and a better experience to keep them coming back.”
We ordered online and found exactly what we wanted at the best price. The delivery service staff were very helpful, polite and practiced COVID safety measures. We were very pleased with the experience.”
A Constellation of Stars
Thanks to Covid-19 I purchased an entire kitchen of appliances without being in the store and seeing any of them. They are all GE Profile, and all work well and look great! A big thanks to Bob who
The Famous Tate team (240 Taters strong!) prides itself on having more than 2,700 5-star reviews. The retailer began using WebFronts® Review™ in 2017 to follow up with customers after delivery and provide an easy way to share their experiences. As it’s turned out, the thoughtful customer reviews have meant the world to the retailer’s staff. Here are just a few from the thousands:
helped me find matching appliances that met my criteria. I purchased before the severe supply issue and my remodel is almost complete.”
I have been looking for a small frost free freezer for months. Found exactly what I was looking for online at Famous Tate. Ordered it on a Friday and it was delivered the very next day. They couldn’t have been more responsive or efficient.”
AdRocket™ Boost is always-on, customized digital advertising for appliance, electronics, mattress and furniture retailers. AdRocket Boost promotes your store and builds your brand with custom-built digital campaigns. A Dedicated Digital Advisor will advise you every step of the way as our creative team builds ads to promote your store’s unique value propositions and events.
BOOST SIGNUP FEE
$ 299 BOOST PACKAGES STARTING AT
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FROM THE NETWORK
Black Friday Was Dethroned in 2020, Ranked No. 2 in Online Orders Across the RWS network, 2020 was an anomaly in yet another way: Black Friday, which has held the No. 1 spot in online orders since 2015 when RWS began tracking November holiday shopping stats, was dethroned last year. Black Friday came in second place with Cyber Monday claiming third. Taking first place for the highest number of online orders was Sept. 29, 2020. Black Friday, however, did keep its reigning title as the day with the most website traffic. As did November, which saw more traffic across the RWS network than any other month in 2020. Also, with more people shopping from home, non-mobile (instore) traffic on Black Friday followed industry trends, accounting for just under half of the overall traffic at 49.6%. A closer look at the numbers across the RWS network of sites, November 1-30, reveals:
Quotes and orders received
Clicks-to-navigate to a physical store from mobile devices
Clicks-to-call stores from mobile devices
Estimated value of quotes and orders received
WebFronts® Level 4 consistently outperformed other levels: In Q4 2020, Level 4 retailers experienced a
417% increase in online sales over Levels 1-3.
What Retailers are Saying About RWS I just wanted to let you know that Kaity (Amberson), my new RWS rep, has been awesome. I was disappointed to lose Jose, but she has been amazing and super helpful. Please thank whoever put her on my account.”
“ … the account manager (Billie Cochell) has taken control of a bad situation and has done an outstanding job of fixing issues. She setup bi-weekly meetings/calls, and communication between the member and account manager is working out to be positive. Plus, the account manager (Cochell) is training the member to fix and adjust things on their own. Other account managers that do a great job are website account manager William Allen. On the AdRocket Boost side, Emily Goret and Bobbi Kerr are great.
KEITH’S APPLIANCES Mystic, CT
BERGER’S FURNITURE & MATTRESS Dickson City, PA
We have worked with William (Allen) for many years and he is the best. Always helpful and available. We wish we could give him 10 stars!!”
I just wanted to say Sierra (Yates) is AWESOME! I love working with her and she makes my website more successful every day.”
“Marisa (Leon) is GREAT! She’s always on top of things and sees to it we get answers in short order. I’m very pleased with her services as well as the RWS platform as a whole. Thanks.
ROTEN’S FURNITURE Marshall, AR
SIMON’S FURNITURE, MATTRESSES & APPLIANCES Franklin, MA
MAHLANDER’S APPLIANCE AND LIGHTING Sioux Falls, SD
15615 N. 71st Street, Suite 205 Scottsdale, AZ 85254
INSIDE THIS ISSUE COVER FEATURE
WebFronts® Go: Driving consumer buying power online NEWS
Veteran RWS Team Members Promoted to Executive Leadership FEATURE
Convert More Digital Consumers with AdRocket™ Ignite FROM THE NETWORK
Black Friday Was Dethroned in 2020, Ranked No. 2 in Online Orders
Black Friday Was Dethroned in 2020, Ranked No. 2 in Online Orders FROM THE NETWORK PAGE 6
Convert More Digital Consumers with AdRocket™ Ignite FEATURE PAGE 4
Veteran RWS Team Members Promoted to Executive Leadership NEWS PAGE 8
Driving consumer buying power online
WebFronts Go: ®