. The furniture sector has changed a lot over the last few years. The advent of the internet has very profoundly influenced the perceptions of the public in terms of prices and product quality : the user, having an extremely powerful tool at his disposal, has quickly learned to exploit it to obtain immediate information that, a time, would have been the exclusive prerogative of the professional.
Your furniture shop , today, will therefore necessarily have to change. And satisfy the requests and desires of a market and a customer (acquired or potential) very different from the one you used to know until a few years ago. The customer of the new millennium has a purchasing power that is radically conditioned by the information on the products that he is able to acquire thanks to the network, and your furniture shop will have to adapt accordingly.
You know well that the market in which you operate has profoundly changed over the last ten, fifteen years, and not only due to an increased digital culture of the public : the low-cost operators of the large retailers , the economic crisis and online stores .
No one – or almost no one – has been immune to the repercussions caused by these great changes: territorial areas traditionally famous and renowned for their furniture production have seen sales drop dramatically , and fewer and fewer potential customers cross the threshold of their showroom.
In light of this premise, what needs to be done to adapt your furniture store to the digital age ? How can you make your furniture shop truly in step with the times ?
At the root there is undoubtedly a profound change of mentality , which is then realized with a series of practical actions that will modify both your way of working and the perception that your existing and potential customers have of you.
The first thing to do is therefore learn to welcome customers who cross the threshold of your furniture store in a new way.
Welcome the customer of the new millennium to your furniture store
Welcoming customers in the right way in your furniture store means making newcomers feel at ease and retaining existing users. In fact, this simple action hides a different entrepreneurial mentality , capable of taking into account the changing wishes and expectations of the public, providing it with new stimuli and an added value that it cannot find anywhere else.
- First rule : patience, and the ability to grasp all the nuances of your customers – which will have to be observed with new eyes. Only in this way will you be able to interpret their wishes and needs: if you are a good observer, you can offer them answers even before any questions are asked.
- Second rule : create an absolutely welcoming environment, even by changing the look of your current showroom. Never forget that your consumer needs to feel emotions. And this is a rule that remains valid and current regardless of the product he or she has to buy. The quid of an object makes it more than just a product: it transforms it into an experience.
- Third rule : everything is faster than it used to be. Has your showroom looked the same for many years? Has the same type of object been place in the same areas for months now? Well, consider the possibility of periodically dedicating yourself to a restyling of the environments. And their placement in the space, because your consumers are always looking for new experiences. Even for a furniture store, staying im-mobile would be a big mistake. On the contrary, the customer who sees you committed to constantly renewing both your image. And the stimuli you want to guarantee to your users knows that you are a dynamic professional in step with the times.
- Fourth rule : always keep in mind that the furnishing of your furniture store does not only serve to show your visitors the quality of your products, but also to communicate a message to them: who are you? What are the strengths of your brand? Why should they choose your store over your competitors’? What can you give to your consumers that your competitors don’t already offer?
- Fifth rule : remember that visiting a furniture store must be a sensory experience.
Sight : what is the first thing your customers see when they cross the threshold of your showroom? How is the lighting of the rooms and your shop windows? Are you able to seduce the public who are still outside the premises, inviting them to enter? And, when a potential customer enters the store, are the light points strategically position so as to best illuminate the unique details of your furnishings?
Hearing : what are the sounds and noises that users hear when they are in your showroom? Have you considered welcoming them with soft and relaxing music, instead of tuning your system to a radio station that is too loud or abandoning them to a bleak silence?
Smell and taste : welcome visitors to your furniture store with a diffuser of scented essences, offer them a coffee or a candy. You will help them feel immediately at ease. You will give them the right impression of being treated with due grace – a characteristic, today, too often underestimated and unfortunately replaced by haste and hurry. Pay attention to the temperature inside the showroom: it must be pleasant, neither too cool nor too hot. Do not cause any thermal shock to your visitors.
Touch : allow your visitors to touch the quality of your furniture with their own hands. Invite them to touch its surfaces, to perceive the sensation of excellence under the fingertips. Make them sit for a few moments on the armchairs, sofas, beds, offer them the suggestions they are looking for, remind them of the importance of human relationships and direct communication. And, of course, talk to them.
The importance of remembering that everything changes
Buying today is not simply a mechanical action, but rather an experiential and emotional process . Everything changes over time: not only industry trends, prices. And customer wishes, but also the way in which the customer approaches products . It is therefore inevitable that you, the owner of a furniture shop, have to change too .
You will acquire your customers not only for the products you exhibit. But also for the setting and the emotion that you will be able to create during the purchase phase . For this reason, it is absolutely essential that you know how to create a real relationship with the visitor, from the moment he enters the shop. From then on, you will have to learn to interpret. And translate his needs, that is, to read his ” sentiment ” of him.
A curiosity for you: among the behaviors rated as highly unpleasant by consumers are the following. You will notice that they are all about in-store reception :
- The manager passes by the customer without greeting him, without smiling at him, without looking at him. Result? The customer feels inappropriate
- The store manager continues to carry out his activities, without even raising his head towards the customer. Result? The customer feels invisible
- The manager looks at the customer with annoyance because his presence distracts him from what he was doing. Result? The customer feels out of place
Is this how you want to make your visitors feel? Inappropriate, invisible, out of place? These sad experiences will not lead to a purchase in your store, much less a pleasant shopping experience. At the basis of a professional welcome – especially in a furniture showroom. Which touches important emotional chords in the visitor. There is instead the awareness that the customer is not a nuisance, but the purpose of your business