If you’re from Houston, then you’ve probably heard of Jim McIngvale — better known as “Mattress Mack.” The outgoing founder of Gallery Furniture has been a community figure since he set up shop over 30 years ago with only a dream and $ 5,000 in his pocket.
His ambitious nature and acts of generosity have made headlines countless times. Last year, the Texan gave away nearly $ 10 million in rebates
after running a promotion promising customers a refund if the Houston Astros won the World Series. And when Hurricane Harvey ripped through the city in August 2017, Mack turned his storefront into a refuge center
for those who needed a place to weather out the storm.
Mack channels this same blend of ambition and humanity into how he runs his business. As the company has grown, so has its marketing strategy. And as retail trends shifted into the digital age, Gallery Furniture was investing in innovative ways to keep up — and ahead — of the curve.
Identifying a need
If you take a look at the Gallery Furniture website,
the investment in innovation is clear. The search bar at the top of the screen types out a welcome message that echoes the use of a chatbot. A banner on the side of the site invites users to take an interactive quiz to help them identify which mattress would best suit their needs. And when a viewer clicks on one of their advertised promotions, a pop-up accompanies it, showcasing exclusive offers to sweeten the deal.
“In order to drive in-store traffic in the past, Mack invested heavily in print and television advertisements, but as customers went online we were adamant to find ways to reach them wherever they would visit our seek us out,” James McIngvale, Mack’s son and digital marketing manager of Gallery Furniture, said.
These new tactics meant more work for the brand’s digital marketing team. As data collection became more sophisticated, Mack needed a way to better analyze, track and execute campaigns at scale and with precision.
“Our aim really is to interact with our customer and our community wherever they’re doing their interacting,” McIngvale said. “Our early social media efforts introduced us to the potential of technology in communicating with our audience and improving our customer service/experience to make it as personalized as possible.”
To do this, Mack turned to AI. In July 2017, the brand decided to partner with Albert,
an AI marketing platform to help automate, test and manage their customer data and digital campaigns.
“When we then wanted to ensure that these efforts and our investment in them were driving sales, it was the technology that we turned to
in order to measure attribution,” McIngvale said. “At the end of the day if we are going to be able to offer a personalized shopping experience to every Gallery Furniture customer, which is the goal, we need accurate interpretation of the performance data and technology is how we measure the efficient use of our time and manpower.”
“Mack dared to be an early AI adopter because he knew it would get him better access to his valued customers,” McIngvale added.
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