But losses mount for the home furnishings e-retailer that went public in October.
Smart Furniture tailors the web site display and merchandising for a customer based on her responses to an online style quiz. Shoppers who use the tool convert five to 10 times more often and spend about 50% more per order than other site visitors.
As the name might imply, Smart Furniture Inc. is clever about how it markets home furnishings to customers. The retailer has built its own 10-question quiz that it uses to categorize a new web shopper’s style, such as modern, traditional or casual. The web site then updates its display to highlight images and products that fit that category.
Shoppers that complete the quiz and browse a personalized site convert five to 10 times more often and spend about 50% more than shoppers who don’t, says vice president of marketing Gil Cayabyab. “It’s not rocket science—if you show what people want to see, they’re more likely to convert,” he says.
Smart Furniture built the quiz tool in-house on top of Adobe Systems Inc.’s targeting technology, which it had been using to serve up custom banner images and rearrange the order of products on category pages, Cayabyab says. Adobe Target segments a customer based on her web site behavior and history, such as which products she clicks and buys. That level of personalization had been improving customer engagement on the site already, Cayabyab says, including increasing the number of page views per visit by 50% to 70% and increasing how much time shoppers spend on the site.
The style quiz, which appears on the home page and in a pop-up for first-time visitors, improves on that by giving Adobe’s tool “a little bit of a hint” as to which segment a customer falls into, Cayabyab says. The retailer’s staff, with their years of expertise in selling Smart Furniture products, went through the catalog and gave each item a set of attributes to describe it, for instance, “traditional, fits into a large space and is low price,” he says. The quiz translates the combinations of those attributes into “style IDs” that it assigns to consumers and feeds into Adobe Target. “It’s the best of both worlds: the stuff that we know and what Target is gathering,” he says.
Perhaps the biggest benefit of building the style quiz on top of Adobe’s technology, though, was the amount of development time and work it saved Smart Furniture, Cayabyab says. The tool took about eight months to build, going live around the New Year, he says. If the retailer would have had to build the segmentation-based web site personalization functionality Adobe Target already provides from scratch, that would have taken at least a year longer, he says. “The development of our tool has taken enough time,” he says. “There’s no way we could have possibly launched the way we have things right now in a good time frame without Target.” He adds that Adobe Target’s ability to customize to the retailer’s specific needs—namely, its style IDs—made it easy to “take and run with.”
Adobe Target is part of the digital marketing and creative software provider’s Marketing Cloud, a single web-hosted dashboard for each of its five flagship products: for analytics; content creation and management; targeting; social media; and ad spending.
Although the results have been good so far, Smart Furniture has one more brainy move planned to make sure of it. The retailer is now working on a tool to validate how well its and Adobe’s web site personalization choices match what consumers think of their own styles, which will likely involve conducting a survey to ask some web shoppers to categorize themselves, Cayabyab says. Later this year, the retailer also plans to add mini-quizzes to recommend products in specific subsets, like office chairs, he says. And by the third or fourth quarter, it will probably begin testing using Adobe Target to retarget consumers elsewhere on the web with display ads based on how they’ve been segmented on SmartFurniture.com, he says.