As an online retailer of indoor and outdoor furniture, home furnishings, and décor, Hayneedle looks to move the needle with the customer in mind. Seizing the massive opportunity with mobile engagement, officials at Hayneedle are focusing on mobile design and experience to attract and retain more customers.
 
Loyalty360 talked to Jeremy Podliska, VP of Marketing at Hayneedle, about this strategy.
 
How have your customers changed in recent years and how have you adapted to those changes?
Podliska: We continue to see steady growth in our customer file. A focus for us continues to be on the customer and being where they are. A great example of how the customer landscape has evolved over the years as it relates to online retail is the fact that more people are shopping on their mobile devices, so we continue to put more emphasis on mobile design and experience. We also recently launched our mobile app which is seeing good engagement from customers.
 
Can you talk about how technology aids your customer experience/customer engagement efforts?
Podliska: Being an online retailer, technology plays a vital role in our business and we are constantly evaluating the site and customer experience to determine how we can make it better. This year, we’ve made investments in improving the customer experience and making shopping for home furnishings online even easier and more convenient.
 
For example, we continue to see dramatic growth in our mobile channel so we launched an iPhone app to simplify the experience and take advantage of mobile-specific opportunities such as visual search. We’re also focused on building more meaningful relationships with our customers by providing richer, more relevant content with inspirational design ideas, curated assortment stories, and expert design advice. Additional finance options and online chat are two additional features we’ve added this year to provide value to our customers.
 
What specific customer insights/lessons have you learned in recent years that have informed your customer loyalty program/initiatives?
Podliska: The obvious, but most compelling insight from the loyalty program is that once a customer becomes a member, they are much more likely to engage more with our brand and purchase more often. Our focus for the program has turned to exposure and driving membership and continuing to offer unique, compelling experiences to our most loyal customers.
 
What is the most underrated part of your approach to customer engagement/customer experience?
Podliska: The home category is a very crowded space with the majority of home retailers saying much the same thing. From past research we’ve executed with consumers, we’ve found that they are buying across multiple brands and don’t have loyalty to a single home brand. The opportunity we have in front of us in positioning our brand as different and unique is a critical one and being part of the Walmart family of brands puts us in a great position to be able to craft that story and to have it resonate with the consumer.
 
We will do this through site experience, along with the expansion of home brands and products that will be centered on story-centric experiences that encourage product discovery and engagement.
What is the biggest challenge you face today as it relates to earning and maintaining brand loyalty?
Podliska: Differentiation amongst the masses. How do we create a lasting connection with the consumer that is memorable and impactful in positioning hayneedle.com as their brand of choice for furniture and décor?
 
What are you most proud of?
Podliska: A couple of things. We’ve seen tremendous growth as a business since the acquisition by Walmart. The opportunity we have in front of us in being the leader in the home industry and paving the way for millions of people to create living spaces they love by continuing to offer a quality product at a great value, alongside engaging content, is very exciting for us.
 
We continue to be a customer-centric organization that truly cares about helping our customers create a home they love. This is something that is always top-of-mind in everything we do as a company and will continue to be in the future.

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