Online furniture retailer Smart Furniture launched its responsive website in August after the retailer saw a change in the nature of its web traffic.
“In 2013 we spent a lot of time focusing on personalization and building the platform,” said T.J. Gentle, president and CEO of Smart Furniture. “At the end of the year there was such a huge change in the nature of our web traffic, including a doubling of our mobile traffic.”
Gentle said that while Smart Furniture intended to do a mobile-friendly site, it didn’t seem to be a priority for the company. However the significant increase in mobile traffic showed his team they had to put the priority on personalization.
“In the 10 years I had been doing this, it was by far the most drastic change,” said Gentle.
Smart Furniture’s mobile and tablet traffic
Gentle said he and his team didn’t expect customers to shop for large furniture items using a small screen, but found they were completely wrong.
“It seems like everyone now has a smartphone or a tablet because they are so inexpensive, so we had to step back and re-evaluate this surge in mobile traffic and come up with a plan to deal with it quickly,” said Gentle..
Gentle said creating a responsive site made it easier to adjust to all screen sizes, from phones to flat panels.
“When you think about it people are beginning to shop on the TV as well,” he Gentle.
Gentle said Smart Furniture’s “prescriptive personalization” lets the company talk to customers directly in the form of a quiz, and their responses help create a catalog of products that best fits an individual’s profile characteristics.
“This lets us see a little bit of information so we can make improvements in how we merchandise and communicate with customers through email and retargeting,” said Gentle. “Then we can figure out what product they would be more likely to buy.”
Gentle said the goal of prescriptive personalization was to increase conversion rates by better anticipating what customers wanted and matching the products to them.
The quiz is designed to get as much information as possible without having to load it up with questions and have visitors abandon the site. Everything on the site is then personalized based to the customer’s response to the quiz.
For customers who opt out of the quiz, Smart Furniture still provides a relevant personalized experience by analyzing site behavior to make assumptions about their preferences.