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PRACTICAL KNOWLEDGE FOR APPLIANCE, ELECTRONICS, FURNITURE AND MATTRESS RETAILERS

5 WAYS:

Paths to Purchase Can Lead to Discovery PA G E 8

ON DECK:

Joe’s TV & Appliance PA G E 5

FEATURE: 

How to Respond to Negative Reviews PA G E 6

CASE STUDY:

Appliance Sales Plus PA G E 1 1


Building More than Software: Boosting Our Team

The launch of AdRocket™ in the spring of 2018 has fueled much more than thousands of engaging, effective digital ad campaigns for our retailer customers. Here at Retailer Web Services, the smart advertising software has also boosted our team. In fact, the AdRocket Boost team at RWS has been growing by leaps and bounds in recent months. There are 13 (and counting!) new Digital Advertising Advisors and designers working closely with AdRocket customers to: create campaigns, develop content, allocate budget increases, review campaign performance reports, and analyze and adjust as necessary customers’ AdRocket Boost strategies.

The industry-leading, ultimate sales enablement tool used by thousands of retailers

As we welcome new employees and continue to grow the team we are so grateful to be a part of, we want to share a few of the guiding principles that have been in place at RWS from the beginning (2006): There is no asset more important than our people. Let’s face it, we spend more time at work than anywhere else. The quality of our relationships there affect everything: happiness, health and also the quality of our products and services to our customers. The best teams are comfortable disagreeing. At RWS, we believe if you take the time and energy to constructively disagree, it means you care. Healthy conflict is how good ideas are born. When we really trust each other, we can openly debate and wholeheartedly get on board with the final outcome, even if it wasn’t the horse we bet on originally.

TRACK THE MARKET

CREATE PRICE QUOTES

SEARCH ALL REBATES

POWER ELECTRONIC PRICE TAGS

The fresh, new design is a first for the flagship product launched by RWS over a decade ago!

Mistakes are inevitable. Blame is useless. If you’re trying to do something worthwhile, it’s difficult. And if something is difficult, people will make mistakes. The faster we can skip past the desire to blame, the faster we can (a) solve the problem (b) make it less likely to happen again, and (c) strengthen the team’s ability to respond gracefully under pressure.

As RWS grows, so too do the individuals on our team through mentoring and our culture of growth and development. Taking stock in our guiding principles is the best way we know how to uphold our mission: To help independent retailers like you realize your dreams through the promise of technology. Here’s to your success,

Jennie Gilbert & James Kane, Jr. AUGUST 2019

LEARN MORE

RetailerWebServices.com/RetailDeck


CONTENTS

PUBLISHER

Retailer Web Services

GRAPHIC DESIGN

Sierra Creative Group

MANAGING EDITOR

Kim Cecere

CONTRIBUTORS

Jennie Gilbert Jim Kane Patrick McAvoy Jodie Nesta

PHOTOGRAPHY

All images sourced from Retailer Web Services or stock.adobe.com unless otherwise identified.

W E LC O M E

2

Building More than Software: Boosting Our Team

NEWS 15615 N. 71st Street Suite 205 Scottsdale, AZ 85254 (800) 417-2799 Info@RetailerWebServices.com

New MAP Columns Maximize Your Bottom Line

4

AdRocket™ Organic Launches Promising First Impresssions

4

RetailerWebServices.com

ON DECK Digital Advisor Magazine is published bi-annu-

5

A Leap of Faith Leads to All-Things Service

ally by Retailer Web Services, Inc. All content, copyright © 2019, Retailer Web Services. All rights reserved. This publication may not be reproduced, all or in part, without written consent from the publisher. Every effort has been made to ensure

F E AT U R E

6

Do’s and Don’ts: Responding to Negative Reviews

the accuracy of all content in this publication; however, Retailer Web Services will not be held responsible for omissions or errors. The material herein is intended for educational and informational purposes only. Nothing herein is to be considered the rendering of advice for

C O V E R F E AT U R E

8

5 Ways: Paths to Purchase Can Lead to Discovery

specific cases or circumstances. Please address all editorial inquiries to Sierra Cre-

CASE STUDY

ative Group, LLC at pmcavoy@sierracreative.com. If you are receiving multiple copies of the Digital Advisor or wish to receive more than one copy, please

11

Appliance Sales Plus and AdRocket™ Boost: Increasing Awareness and Building a Third-Generation Brand in the Digital Age

contact digitaladvisor@retailerwebservices.com. Sierra Creative Group and Retailer Web Services

FROM THE NETWORK

will not give nor rent your name, mailing address or other contact information to third parties. Subscriptions are complimentary for qualified individuals.

15

By the Numbers: AdRocket™ Organic’s Inaugural President’s Day Promotions

TESTIMONIALS RETAILER WEB SERVICES (800) 417-2799

15

What Retailers are Saying About RWS

digitaladvisor@retailerwebservices.com

3


NEWS

New MAP Columns Maximize Your Bottom Line etailer Web Services (RWS) has expanded the MAP information in Webfronts® and RetailDeck® to offer a more detailed view of manufacturer guide pricing—and create new options for retailers’ pricing strategy. While WebFronts has always had a single MAP column that housed regular MAP values (unless PMAP was present to overwrite regular MAP), this summer the single MAP column was replaced with three new ones:

1

2

3

MAP – With Promos Though it has a new name, this column is the same as the former single MAP column; it contains the same information as previously, regular MAP and PMAP. During promotional periods, PMAP values overwrite regular MAP values here. This column provides a quick view of the lowest MAP value for an item on any given day.

MAP – No Promos This column contains MAP without PMAP values included. Only regular MAP values will appear here, including during a promotional period.

MAP – Just Promos This column contains only PMAP values. Regular MAP values are not included. So, if this column is empty, it means there is no promotional MAP for an item on that day.

For example, these new columns enable you to set a formula that prices items on promotion to equal PMAP exactly, but the other items in that same brand (that aren’t on promotion) to discount MAP by 10 percent. This is especially useful during July 4th and Black November promo periods when some vendors have different online pricing policies than other times of year. For more information on how to maximize the new MAP columns for your store’s bottom line, contact your RWS Account Manager, access the WebFronts Knowledge Base or call the RWS team at:

(800) 417-2799, EXT. 1

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AdRocket™ Organic Launches Promising First Impresssions n February, Retailer Web Services (RWS) rolled out AdRocket Organic, a bundle of advanced technologies designed to complement traditional digital marketing to achieve more cost effective consumer acquisition and conversion than ads on Google and Facebook alone. AdRocket Organic increases the value of a Google or Facebook ad impression by reinforcing the same message in organic search results and throughout the retail website. These assets spur more consumers (especially those less likely to click on, or see, ads) to view and interact with the promotion. The new technology follows the consumer path through searches (e.g., “appliance sales near me”) and other activities, then acquires and engages consumers in multiple ways that include:

Relevant display of Google text results that convey the product promotion Smart display of automated product flagging, and Promotional banners and messages powered by artificial intelligence within the site. Appliance brands Whirlpool, LG and Maytag, along with hundreds of RWS retailer customers, participated in the initial AdRocket Organic rollout, which featured Presidents’ Day branded promotions. The results of the organic impressions, which ran simultaneously with AdRocket digital ads, delivered substantially increased levels of conversion activities. (See “From the Network” on page 15, By the Numbers: AdRocket Organic’s Inaugural President’s Day Promotions.)

Early results of AdRocket Organic are promising for appliance, electronics, furniture and mattress vendors,” said James Kane, Jr., RWS founder and CEO. “The technology exponentially enhances customer acquisitions and awareness of brand promotions in a cost-effective way, and also delivers greater conversion rates through the end of the pipeline.”


ON DECK

A Leap of Faith Leads to All-Things Service ighschool sweethearts Joe and Gina Poppema purchased Rod’s TV & Appliance from Rod and Celia Heckathorn in 2002. It was a “big leap of faith,” remembers Gina. After all, they were only 23 years old. Joe had been working for Rod’s in service and installation for a few years while the Poppemas were attending Dordt College in Sioux Center, Iowa. The Heckathorn family had lost their son who was supposed to take over the business, according to Gina. “It was an honor when Rod approached my husband to buy the store, but it was a hard decision because we were so young,” said Gina. “We started dating at 16, married at 21 and bought the business at 23.” It was Joe’s love of the appliance industry and people that inspired him to take the leap into business ownership. Rod’s TV & Appliance had a great following and a good reputation, remembers Gina. “Rod was well known in the community for his integrity and we wanted to honor him.” So, for seven years, the Poppemas didn’t change the name of the business. In 2009, Joe and Gina celebrated a ribbon cutting for Joe’s TV & Appliance—not only a new, larger location in Orange City, Iowa, but also a new name to reflect Joe at the helm. The new showroom was triple the size of the original location. As brands were added and the business grew, Joe remained committed to service, hiring two fulltime service technicians, allowing him to remain in the store to work directly with customers. Today, the Poppemas have three children and employ a staff of 13 fulltime and part-time employees, which includes service and install techs, a service manager and sales associates. Three install techs are cross-trained to assist with sales; Joe and Gina wear all hats. Here, Gina shares their journey thus far and their experience as a new Retailer Web Services (RWS) customer. Digital Advisor (DA): Set the stage in terms of your store’s location in rural Iowa and customer base. Gina Poppema (GP): Orange City is in the northwest corner of Iowa. Our town is approximately 6,000 people and we’re surrounded by many small towns with Sioux City south of us and Sioux Falls, S.D., north of us. We’re blessed to be in a prosperous community with low unemployment; people are tied to agriculture in some way, wise with their money and have a strong work ethic. Like us, they’re running their own businesses. DA: As an independent owner, what changes have you seen in the TV and appliance business? GP: TVs have come full circle. We were part of the excitement with flat screens, and now there are so many more avenues to purchase them. The role we play is helping customers who want full-service installation. With appliances, the quality of the product across most brands has gone down. Challenges are faced by most customers, and we have the technicians to service their problems.

Our competitive advantage at Joe’s TV & Appliance is definitely service, hands down. We’re there for all the little things. DA: When did you start working with RWS? What made you decide to give them a try? GP: It’s been a few short months. I went to Nationwide’s PrimeTime in August (2018) and attended a training by Jennie. (RWS COO Jennie Gilbert). Afterwards, I talked to Adam (Senior Sales Executive Adam Gilbert) about my frustrations, pricing being No. 1. Pricing began the conversation, which eventually led to digital marketing.

(L to R)

Joe and Gina Poppema

DA: Are you using RWS’ complete digital suite? GP: Yes. With the launch of our Level 4 site (joestvandappliance.com) in December, we began using the WebFronts® app to control it. It’s a dayto-day useful tool that takes several different types of data and creates a pricing formula that works for us automatically. You can set your prices to MAP, MSRP, etc. and RetailDeck’s® Market Watch settings alert you when there are changes. There are 300 pieces on our floor and over 4,000 pieces on our website. We’re working on perfecting our formula, but I believe in this product. We use RetailDeck as our day-to-day price tag program. I had my onboarding call for WebFronts Review™ recently, and I’m figuring out how to get our customers to leave reviews about us on sites like Google, Facebook and Yelp. I appreciate this program. AdRocket™ Boost is my favorite piece of the puzzle! We’ve been doing mainly Google Text, Display and retargeting (also called remarketing) since January, and I see a lot of potential. I have had a fantastic experience working with Skylar Ellington, who monitors our ads and calls me with changes, and Rene Hernandez, who manages our website. I really appreciate how they have worked together to always find a solution. DA: As a new RWS customer, how would you describe your experience so far? GP: RWS has hired and developed such a great team! It truly provides for brainstorming. Skylar and Rene have both gone above and beyond to coordinate with each other, making my RWS-AdRocket-WebFronts experience seamless. I cannot tell you how much that helps me—it allows me to go help customers instead of sitting at a computer trying to coordinate images and/or advertising! At PrimeTime, I send other dealers the way of RWS. I encourage other dealers to look at how much time they’re spending each week on digital marketing. We’re already wearing many hats. Do you want to spend time on digital marketing or be with your customers?

Vendor pricing, MAP, discounts, etc. are changing weekly, sometimes daily. I love working in spreadsheets, but still couldn’t keep it all straight. It was so confusing. I would spend hours not finding the answer I was looking for. On the digital marketing front, I had spent a lot of time trying to learn everything because I enjoy it. I hired part-time gals, including a college intern to assist me, but it became too much. I’m out of time. Instead of staffing and always starting over with an intern, we decided to sign on RWS as if hiring an expert in the field. It was well worth the investment.

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F E AT U R E

Do’s and Don’ts: Responding to Negative Reviews

egative reviews are part of today’s business reality. Consumers are more likely—over four times more likely, in fact—to spontaneously leave a negative review. If you’re monitoring your social profile, negative reviews are not a matter of if, but when.

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Rather than worrying about the damage that less-than-stellar reviews can cause, take the approach that you’re being given a chance to turn the situation around. According to a customer experience study by software giant Oracle, 22 percent of consumers who receive a retailer response to their online complaint will end up posting a positive review—and 34 percent end up deleting their negative review altogether. Moreover, research shows for every consumer that didn’t think a store should respond to bad reviews at all, almost 17 more said seeing a thoughtful response to someone else’s negative review would make them more confident the store would take good care of them.

Excerpted from RE:MARKET: New digital techniques independent retailers can use now to compete better, grow faster and work smarter by Jennie Gilbert and James Kane, Jr. (Retailer Web Services, 2017)


So, the inevitable has happened, and your store has received a negative review. Take a deep breath and follow our AIM system to craft a steady response:

DO’S

their frustration: Just as with A cknowledge positive reviews, the first step is to acknowledge someone has taken the time to comment on your business and you’re aware they aren’t happy. It will be appreciated by the reviewer, and noticed by future and potential customers. There’s no need to reiterate the complaint, but acknowledge their frustration—even if you believe they are incorrect, misinformed or overreacting.

EXAMPLES: “John, I’m sorry to hear about the unexpected delay in your delivery.” “It sounds like we didn’t get you the help you expected and deserve, Kathy.” “I’d be frustrated if I were you, too, Tom.”

nitiate a resolution: This is not the place to discuss specifics—you probably don’t have all the information you need to fully solve their problem at this point anyway. In addition, the details necessary to fully resolve the issue are often not appropriate to share online. But you do want to show publicly that you want to make it right and how you’re going to get the ball rolling.

EXAMPLES:

ove the conversation to a private platform: M As mentioned above, the real work of

EXAMPLES:

I

solving the problem will take place offline—it’s time to move the conversation to another medium. Which one you choose will depend on the situation itself, whether or not you can identify and have the contact information of the reviewer, and the platform where the review was left.

“We would like to make this inconvenience up to you.” “If you could see fit to give us another chance, I’d like to ensure you get the assistance you need personally.” “We can—and should—do better by you.”

“I see we have your phone number on file. I’ll be calling you today to discuss every option available to get you your new furniture as quickly as possible.” “My cell phone number is (123) 555-5555. If you would like to come back in, I welcome you to call me and arrange a time that’s convenient for you so that I can personally apologize and ensure you get the exceptional service we strive for during your visit.” “I will reach out to you momentarily by private message so we can connect and I can learn more about how I can help.”

Be emotional or overreact. Being criticized isn’t fun. Even so, you need to put your ego aside and be diplomatic, professional and polite about how you respond.

DON’TS

Include SEO terms in your response. In these types of exchanges, you want to avoid having them appear in searches. Wait too long. Yes, take a deep breath and avoid firing off a heated response. A negative review can, however, spiral out of control if you’re too slow. Social media sites like Facebook or Twitter can reach thousands of people at the click of a mouse. By responding promptly, you’re making sure that your side of the story is being seen, too. The Oracle survey mentioned earlier found 50 percent of consumers give a brand only one week to respond to a question before they stop doing business with them. Try to delete comments or block users. On most review sites it’s not even possible to delete a bad review or disallow a user. Many do have escalation paths that you can use to request a review be removed. Unless the review includes profanity, racist comments or other offensive content, or it’s truly false or defamatory, you should avoid trying to suppress it—no matter how tempting. You probably won’t prevail anyway; a much better use of your time is to craft a thoughtful response that illustrates publicly how reasonable and accommodating your business is.

A SAMPLE RESPONSE TO A NEGATIVE REVIEW: “Dear Alice, I apologize that our customer service didn’t live up to your expectations. I’m hoping you’ll be willing to give our store a chance to make things right. My name is Joe Doakes, and I’m the customer service manager. If you’d like to discuss your situation further, I can be reached at (800) 555-1234.”

Always remember, when you respond to a reviewer, it’s not just a one-on-one situation. You’re communicating to everyone who uses that review site and everywhere the interaction gets shared. It’s a powerful tool that needs to be wielded with care. 7


C O V E R F E AT U R E

5 WAYS:

Paths to Purchase Can Lead to Discovery

ust when you think you know the consumer journey, think again. In the digital age, new paths to purchase are forged at the tap of a touch screen. According to a recent “Think with Google” report on how consumers’ search habits are disrupting the traditional marketing funnel, people turn to their devices for immediate answers. In fact, reports Google, no two consumer journeys are exactly alike. Even within the same category (say, a search for “best washing machine sales”), consumer journeys take multiple paths. “Today, people are no longer following a linear path from awareness to consideration to purchase,” according to Google. “They are narrowing and broadening their consideration set in unique and unpredictable moments.” The new consumer journey is paved with personalization and multiple searches. Before a purchasing decision is made, today’s empowered consumer may zigzag from researching “best washer brands” as well as the entire category, e.g., “front loader vs. top loader,” to gathering specific details on multiple washers, to finding product reviews and searching “washer sales near me.” And these searches are in no particular order! Navigating the tangled consumer journey is like a Visa commercial: “It’s everywhere you want to be.” In “RE:MARKET: New digital techniques independent retailers can use now to compete better, grow faster and work smarter” by Jennie Gilbert and James Kane, Jr. (RWS, 2017), we described the distinction between multichannel and omnichannel marketing:

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While multichannel marketing is simply all the channels, or touchpoints, in which a consumer comes in contact with your store, i.e., your mobile site, Google Display and Facebook advertising, landing pages, in-store visits and more; an omnichannel approach, when implemented effectively, merges the multiple marketing channels by creating consistent experiences every time a consumer comes in contact with your store, virtually and physically.

This “merging of marketing channels” through consistency of your store’s brand and message is key to guiding consumers along their journeys, rather than trying to keep up with all the twists and turns they may take. And when done right, it’s an opportunity of discovery for independent retailers despite consumers’ labyrinth to purchase. To get started, here are five ways consumers’ many paths to purchase can lead to discovery—and turn them into customers:

01

Leverage national manufacturer promotions.

02

Build your online ad inventory.

03

Seize organic opportunities.

04

Optimize before expanding.

05

Send prospects to a quality destination.

If you’re not already doing so, tap into these professionally produced, seasonal and productspecific campaigns to reach consumers along their journeys and lead them to your store. By leveraging manufacturer promotions, your store is sure to show up where potential customers are looking—Google searches, apps and social media on mobile devices and more.

Online advertising such as Google Search, Display and Facebook ads, is an effective way to get noticed along potential customers’ journeys as you build brand awareness and convey compelling messaging. In addition to manufacturer promotions, consider creating an inventory of “evergreen” ads with calls to action and corresponding landing pages that run year around to tell consumers why they should choose your store over the competition.

While an online ad strategy is essential to reaching the consumer along their journey, don’t miss the opportunity to connect with and influence consumers naturally, i.e., through nonsponsored, organic impressions. Organic content is now tied to brand searches, trending topics and image searches on Google and social platforms such as Facebook. Intelligent software can follow the consumer path through their searches and display relevant Google text results organically as well as display product placement on the homepage of a site visited.

Many retailers think better marketing is accomplished by doing more things: running more ads, writing more blog posts, etc. Before you do more activities, make sure what you’re already doing is done as well as possible. For example, if you haven’t yet made sure your website indicates which products are on display in your store, a modest amount of time invested in making this improvement will earn you return by itself, as well as multiply your return from any future advertising you do that increases more prospects to your site.

All digital marketing activities are designed to get more prospects to your website and your store. Nothing impacts conversion more than the quality of the destination. Insist on the highest standards. Make sure every click takes prospects to a landing page that’s directly related to what they clicked on, visually similar and includes all important details. Also, it must provide clear paths to purchase such as participating products they can click to learn more and add to a cart.

Ultimately, each marketing touchpoint along the consumer journey is an opportunity of discovery. And as the paths to purchase continue to branch out, consistency and relevance will remain the keys to the castle.

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CASE STUDY

Appliance Sales Plus and AdRocket™ Boost: Increasing Awareness and Building a Third-Generation Brand in the Digital Age n 1970, Karl Thimm and his brother-inlaw Lenny Losito started an appliance business with the help of Karl’s wife, Janis, in Somers, N.Y., with a distinct advantage: Deep product knowledge. The brothers-in-law had spent careers as field servicemen for General Electric’s major appliances while Janis started her career working in an appliance store at age 17. Thimm and Losito spent their days going on service calls and fixing appliances to their customers’ satisfaction, and in the process, customers often asked their opinions about major appliance purchases.

A natural extension of their service and repair expertise, the brothers-in-law sold appliance parts during their first decade in business. Along the way, an increasing number of customers from Northern Westchester County, north of New York City, came to them for advice before purchasing major appliances for their homes. With a reputation built on customer trust, professional service and their comprehensive product knowledge of kitchen and laundry appliances, Thimm and Losito began selling new, major appliances in 1979. And with a new name, Appliance Sales Plus, their business grew quickly, serving New York’s Hudson Valley, given their credibility as product and service experts—in essence, the genuine relationships they had established with a growing base of satisfied customers. Thimm also credits Janis, who “has worked by my side since we opened,” as playing an instrumental role—and taking on many roles—in helping to grow the business. The “Plus” in the store’s name meant superior service. This philosophy has evolved over time from reputable appliance service (the store maintains its reputation as the region’s solution to appliance repair problems), to exceptional customer service. “We’re taking care of our customers’ problems, taking the worries off their shoulders,” explained Thimm. “I tell our staff, it may not be our fault, but it is our problem to correct for the customer.” Today, Appliance Sales Plus is a second generation business: The Thimms’ daughter, Dena Gruppuso, oversees the finances; Losito retired in 2010 and his son, Kevin, manages sales.

Appliance Sales Plus in Somers, N.Y. (Photos/Caroline Sinno Photography)

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THE CHALLENGE:

Reach Despite a budding appliance business that had grown to also include mattresses, Thimm remembers the challenges throughout the decades. “In the 80s and 90s, it was very difficult to be an independent. The big boxes were taking a portion of the business, and we had to find different ways to reach our customer base,” said Thimm. “You could have the

Third Generation Channels Brand Awareness Thimm understood that awareness of Appliance Sales Plus was much more than simple name recognition. Yes, he wanted consumers to think of his store first when they needed to purchase an appliance, but he also wanted prospective customers to relate with his store on an emotional level. Featuring his grandchildren in the ads became a powerful way to keep Appliance Sales Plus top of mind with consumers and underscore the store’s long-held, primary message: “For all the comforts of home.” “People came into the store, talking about seeing me on TV or asking about my grandchildren,” said Thimm. And to this day, they still do. Ads for Appliance Sales Plus still run on cable TV and feature Thimm’s grandkids though they’re not babies anymore. Over the years, the store’s messages have remained consistent: lowest price, largest inventory and the best service. However, technology has changed everything, “particularly, how you go to market.” Shifting demographics and the need to find different ways to reach a new generation of Appliance Sales Plus shoppers would pose a new set of challenges.

right product and the right price, but how do you tell people about it?”

THE SOLUTION:

A Complete Digital Suite He continued, “Printing flyers through the manufacturer, direct mail and print ads were an expensive way to reach a limited amount of people. “The independent retailer was thought of as a dinosaur. By belonging to a buying group (Intercounty Appliance Corporation), we were able to sustain our business.” In the 90s, cable advertising was growing in popularity as an effective way to reach consumers. Thimm took advantage of the then-modern medium to build awareness of the store. Instead of promoting the latest deals on appliance and mattress brands, he made his young grandchildren the stars of the cable TV ads. It wasn’t about promoting price, it was about branding the business, according to Thimm.

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While the majority of Appliance Sale Plus shoppers are between 40 to 60 years of age, still “reachable” via cable, the occasional holiday flyer, direct mail and email blasts, reaching the 25 to 40-year-old demographic—or, as Thimm calls it, the “instant satisfaction generation”—has forever changed the business Thimm and Losito began nearly 50 years ago. “Thanks to belonging to Intercounty, that’s where Retailer Web Services (RWS) came in,” said Thimm. “Partnering with RWS gave us the knowledge to reach a customer base we didn’t have before—and in ways we had never imagined.” Thimm is quick to point out that appliancesalesplus.com is the “focal point of the business and a powerful tool,” driving both online awareness of the store and sales. “Our website (WebFronts® Level 4) is the No. 1 reason our phone rings,” said Thimm. “When people call with their questions, they’re either on my website or have been on my site—or customers walk in with a spec sheet they’ve printed from my site. If I didn’t have the website, I simply wouldn’t be in business.” The WebFront site was just the beginning. Today, Appliance Sales Plus uses the RWS complete digital suite which also includes WebFronts® Review™, RetailDeck® and AdRocket™. “I sell washing machines,” said Thimm. “I need experts to take care of technology, and RWS takes that burden off me. “They are visionaries and innovators, never settling and always changing. RWS’ ability to create and help me maintain a price structure on my website is remarkable. Their focus on the appliance industry is second to none.”


Integration of Base and Boost

Performance Report Results

When RWS launched AdRocket Base in the summer 2018, Thimm says, “It opened up another avenue at our fingertips.” Prior to AdRocket, an online marketing agency was running digital ads for Appliance Sales Plus. The difference was, he explained, they were generalists without any knowledge of the appliance industry.

AdRocket Boost gives Appliance Sales Plus an opportunity to reinforce the store’s core “comforts of home” branding, according to RWS Digital Advisor Courtney Sutton. “A large set of evergreen ‘branding’ ads were created to keep the store’s name out there in a consistent, meaningful way.”

Through AdRocket Base, Thimm seized the opportunity to tap into large-scale digital advertising campaigns with other appliance and mattress retailers at no cost to the independent retailers. The ad spend of several thousand dollars was funded by Intercounty and retail partners such as Whirlpool, LG, Samsung, GE, Bosch, Electrolux and Frigidaire. The successful inaugural campaigns simultaneously executed hundreds of unique Google Display, Google Text and Facebook ads by harnessing the power of automation through smart software design. “The AdRocket technology brings scale by automation,” said Jennie Gilbert, RWS chief operating officer. “It places more ads faster and more accurately, freeing retailers—and advertisers—from placing ads by hand, which avoids costly human error and delays in starting time-sensitive promotions. AdRocket does all the work prior to the ‘go live’ date and then programmatically places the ads within minutes.” For Appliance Sales Plus and the other participating retailers, the campaigns generated calls and navigations to the store and filled the store’s online shopping cart.

The Boost ads went live for Appliance Sales Plus in February 2019. With an ad spend of $2,000 per month, the custom digital ads are placed on Google Display, Google Text and FacebookInstagram. A snapshot of the top ad performers, February through June, reveals the effectiveness of the branding ads: M O S T I M P R E SS I O N S :

Branding Facebook image at 305,085 MOST CLICKS:

Branding Facebook image at 1,104 H I G H E S T C L I C K T H R O U G H R AT E :

Branding Google Text at 6.89% LO W E S T C O S T P E R C L I C K :

Samsung Appliances Google Display at $0.40 HIGHEST REACH:

Branding Facebook image at 25,163

“AdRocket Base geared my business around national manufacturer promotions, a first and something that would require a fulltime employee,” said Thimm. “AdRocket Base evolved into AdRocket Boost, which opened up another world entirely.” As soon as it was available, Thimm signed up for AdRocket Boost, too. With AdRocket Boost, he works one-on-one with a Digital Advertising Advisor at RWS to create customized digital marketing content and strategy to promote the store’s unique value propositions, build the brand and promote special sales events. “Karl’s buying group, Intercounty, does a significant amount of group-led advertising via AdRocket Base,” said Gilbert. “It’s really convenient that our team is knowledgeable about the manufacturer promotions that are funded and directed by his group. We can use that knowledge when we build his customized AdRocket Boost plan to supercharge and complement these events to drive even better results for him.” AdRocket Boost may be used to fill in advertising for brands or products that the buying group isn’t funding, or to augment what the group is funding. “Everything executes well together because AdRocket’s smart technology knows what ads are being run for Appliance Sales Plus for both Base and Boost and ensures a retailer is never bidding against himself,” said Gilbert. “That allows Karl to maximize the impact of his own funds and the funds he gets from the buying group, instead of having to manage all of them and worry about them working against each other.”

$5,755.84 TOTAL SPEND

850,953 TOTAL IMPRESSIONS

4,053 TOTAL CLICKS

$1.42 AVG. COST PER CLICK

Google total spend:

$4,646.15 Facebook/IG total spend:

$1,109.69

Google total impressions:

545,868 Facebook/IG total impressions:

305,085

Google total clicks:

2,949 Facebook/IG total clicks:

1,104

Google average CPC:

$1.57 Facebook/IG average CPC:

$1.00

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“Overall, the ads are reaching a lot of people and after they click on an ad, they stay on the page,” said Sutton, noting the performance of Google Text ads. “Google is showing how Appliance Sales Plus ads compare to other big players in the same space, for example Frigidaire.com, Home Depot, Amazon and Lowes. The Appliance Sales Plus ads are showing at the top of the page—I love to see AdRocket helping land Appliance Sales Plus at the top!”

The Appliance Sales Plus Family (L to R): Kelsie Thimm, Allison Gruppuso, Karl Thimm III, Kevin and Lenny Losito, Karl and Janis Thimm, Casey, Dena and Karlie Gruppuso

“I have complete trust in the RWS team,” said Thimm, who appreciates the “one-on-one personal relationship” he has with Sutton. “We go over the Boost Performance Reports, whenever needed, to determine where in the market I need to be. I also use Google Analytics, so I’m able to look between the two of them.” Over the years, Thimm’s primary advertising goal has always been to generate top-of-mind awareness. “Today, that’s what AdRocket does for us,” explained Thimm. “It keeps our name out there and creates a constant flow of traffic to my website. I didn’t used to know where people where coming from to my site. Now I do. “Whatever we can do to increase awareness and in turn, increases sales— RWS has given us this ability and it’s been a great partnership,” he said. “If an independent doesn’t embrace digital and understand how it can give your store an edge against major players, in due time you’re doing yourself an injustice and you will go out of business. Trust me and go with the experts on this.” Sutton reviews Boost Performance Reports with Thimm on a regular basis, making modifications to existing campaigns and creating new ads as necessary. New branding ads to begin running in the summer 2019 include Facebook video ads of Thimm’s grandkids, encouraging online shoppers to “Come to my papa’s store.” The Facebook videos were created from recent TV spots, showing the grown grandkids in disbelief of how young they were in the original TV ads from the 90s.

The keyword strategy for Appliance Sales Plus is also closely monitored, according to Sutton, who explains consistency is the key to “not allowing a competitor to get in there.”

TOP KEYWORDS

TOP SEARCH TERMS

samsung

appliance sales plus

whirlpool

samsung

kitchen appliances

weber grills

mattress stores

atlantic appliance

ge

black friday

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Testing, Testing…Google Shopping Ads As an AdRocket customer, Appliance Sales Plus was selected by RWS and Intercounty to participate in the first beta test of a new type of ad via AdRocket: Google Shopping ads. These image ads appear within the results of Google searches, featuring a specific product and the price at which a retailer sells it on their website. Funded by Intercounty, the beta test focused on nearly 400 Whirlpool family products featured on NECO exclusive rebates in June—giving consumers good reason to purchase from their local appliance retailer instead of big box competitors. RWS handled all the complexities of setting up the backend for the Google Shopping ads to go live, including setting up individual Merchant Center accounts for each retailer, and upon completion of the test, will measure the effectiveness of the ads for potential use as a future AdRocket ad type.


FROM THE NETWORK

By the Numbers: AdRocket™ Organic’s Inaugural President’s Day Promotions Intelligent software increases consumer acquisition, engagement and conversion.

Promotional products’ page views increased by

Rebate form downloads increased by

Calls to stores from mobile sites increased by

Navigation from mobile sites (store visits) increased by

92%

93%

84%

85%

SEE “NEWS” ON PG. 4 FOR MORE INFORMATION ON ADROCKET ORGANIC’S PROMISING FIRST IMPRESSIONS

What Retailers are Saying About RWS Running a small store keeps you going in all directions and having someone like RWS to make a site that helps customers is awesome, and having a professional like Amy (Ashjian) helps tremendously. Thanks for everything. I have recommended you all to other stores I talk to.”

“Because of this (WebFronts®) website, we have increased our sales and most importantly our customers. We can’t say enough good things about it. We are completely satisfied with our relationship with RWS and especially Jose Salazar, our account manager.

Rick Fowler

Lynne Schaefer

FOWLER FURNITURE & BEDDING MULLINS, SC

STAN & PAUL’S MAJOR APPLIANCE CENTER DARTMOUTH, MA

Mary (Carter) was excellent to work with and always had answers to my thousands of questions! I am not great with new technology, but RWS has been great at walking me through new things and reviewing them with me when needed. Thank you all!”

Jeff Kremer

10 out of 10. Jani (Ellot) was very helpful and very friendly!”

Jordan Johnson

“10 Stars all the way!

Shelsea Pond MAGIC MATTRESS & HOME FURNITURE JESUP, GA

GARTNER’S GALLERY HANCOCK, MI

THE MATTRESS STATION GALESBURG, IL

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your store into the digital stratosphere with smart advertising 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.

$ 1,299/month

$ 299

BOOST PACKAGES STARTING AT

BOOST SIGNUP FEE

Info@RetailerWebServices.com • (800) 417-2799 • RetailerWebServices.com

Appliance Sales Plus CASE STUDY:

How to Respond to Negative Reviews FEATURE: 

Joe’s TV & Appliance ON DECK:

5 Ways: Paths to Purchase Can Lead to Discovery COVER FEATURE:

INSIDE THIS ISSUE Scottsdale, AZ 85254 15615 N. 71st Street, Suite 205

Profile for Retailer Web Services

Digital Advisor - Summer 2019 | Retailer Web Services  

Practical knowledge for appliance, electronics, furniture and mattress retailers from the independent retailer digital marketing specialists...

Digital Advisor - Summer 2019 | Retailer Web Services  

Practical knowledge for appliance, electronics, furniture and mattress retailers from the independent retailer digital marketing specialists...