The Evolving Business of Doing Business
Thomas Lester -- Home Accents Today, 9/1/2013 2:00:00 AM
Once the vendor reps do their jobs and the product is in stores, technology exists to help salespeople move the goods to the end consumer.
During the summer Las Vegas Market, Furniture Wizard showed its touchscreen kiosk inside the North American Home Furnishings Assocation's Retailer Resource Center. The Windows 8 platform is designed to help level the playing field for independent retailers.
Chief Creative Analyst Evan Faller said the Chula Vista, Calif., company's touchscreen application is the perfect way for salespeople to add accessories to a sale.
"The key to home accents and accessories is a lot of retailers are missing out on these categories and consumers are going to third parties. We've allowed retailers to take a nine-panel suggested tile on the side," Faller said, selecting a bedroom to highlight an example. "With this bedroom, we said these rugs sell well with it. You can automatically add items to it. For mattress lines, we assume they're going to put sheets and top of the bed on here."
Faller said a number of furniture stores lose accessory sales because they don't know how to package them.
"We're helping drive all those accents and accessories right in the store instead of letting (customers) walk to competitors; we're keeping them in these independent retailers and making sure they can give that customer a great, complete experience," he said.
Feiss-Monte Carlo, which manufactures lighting, lamps, mirrors and ceiling fans, has a fully-customized dealer application for the iPad, which the company says is a first for a lighting manufacturer.
The app was platformed from the reps' Feiss-Monte Carlo eCat app - which was earlier customized specifically for the company - to use on iPads. The app sorts products to fit customer needs and to upsell, creates wishlists, checks stock in real time and shows details that aren't as visible in catalogs or on digital images.
"We aimed to help our customers in closing the sales deal in a challenging retail environment," said Feiss-Monte Carlo President Maria Scutaro. "Feedback has been overwhelmingly positive, and more are adopting this app technology as they see how it benefits others. We constantly look for and present ways to help our retail partners." Feiss-Monte Carlo's next step is to introduce a mobile, consumer-friendly web app for all smartphones early next year.
But with the ability to purchase product from anywhere across the globe with a click of a mouse, what will keep consumers coming back to their local retailers? MicroD says having a modern website that can level the playing field helps.
"We know e-commerce is the wave of the future, and it's the equalizing and stabilizing factor between the big box store and local retailers, to really attract their market," said Leah Kirkland, MicroD director of sales, who was in Las Vegas to tout the ePiphany website platform to retailers. "We think the independent furniture store in the local area is poised to take the most advantage of this."
Kirkland said the ePiphany websites created by the Charlotte, N.C.-based company instantly fit any screen - be it a large monitor, a laptop screen or mobile device - to give the smaller stores even footing with national and international retailers.
Thanks for including Brandwise in this article! This is a great topic to address and I'm sure many sales reps will find this valuable! In fact, I would love to hear what sales reps have to say about compensating for the lack of one-on-one time.Brianne Houck - 2013-09-30 15:27:03 EDT
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