At this year’s ART Conference, April 2-5, members of the home accessories industry will gather in Ft. Myers, Fla. to collaborate, network, and learn. 

Among the conference presenters is Craig McAndrews, an Executive Professor at the University of Houston’s C.T. Bauer College of Business and industry veteran. McAndrews spent nearly 25 years in the mattress segment of the business, 17 of those in sales at Mattress Firm. During his session, McAndrews will use his industry knowledge and experience as context to present on digital selling strategies that give retailers a leg up. 

Digital selling entails utilizing digital assets, like social media platforms and video, to engage customers in the buying process sooner with a goal of gaining their attention, creating your own position in the industry as an expert, and to ultimately build clientele. 

“There’s such a massive shift in the way that consumers are engaging sellers,” McAndrews says. “If you look at the research, in a selling process on a continuum of 0 to 100 – 100 they buy, and 0 they’re just starting – buyers today are at almost a 70 before they ever interact with salesperson or company. All of the power is in their hands.”

In his seminar, McAndrews will give real-life examples of how to use social platforms to find and win over customers. And no matter how small your store or company is, there are actionable steps to take right away. 

“On any social platform where you have a presence, you have a unique network,” McAndrews explains. “How can you engage and expand on that network?”

One thing McAndrews wants people to know is that digital selling is scalable. You can start small and work your way up, but most importantly, you can’t afford not to be doing it. “Today, 90-95 percent of consumers buying anything start the process online,” McAndrews says. “In this day and age, if you don’t have a digital presence, you’re in trouble.”

With a Millennial population who is hitting its peak spending age, plus a big wave of Gen Zers coming behind them, there will be a lot of money up for grabs in the home furnishings sector in the near future. 

“Business will be great for the next 10-15 years…whether or not your company is going to be great, that’s the question,” says McAndrews. “You need to carve out a niche to stand out, and that’s exactly what digital selling allows you to do.”

Catch McAndrews’ seminar on Friday, April 3, from 9:30-10:30 a.m.

Find more information on the ART Conference here.