Amazon. Wayfair. Joanna Gaines. Sigh.
Doing business as a local home furnishings or décor supplier can be intimidating. Especially in the land of big box, dot com and HGTV! But, local sellers rejoice . . . you have an advantage that they don’t. And you’ll find it right outside the front door.
Yes, customers can order a sofa and have it delivered before the new paint dries. But, what’s a person to do when the truck honks and drives away? That customer is left helpless on the sidewalk with a massive piece of furniture.
As a local home furnishings expert, you have the capacity to do something Amazon can’t . . . go the last mile. The last mile, from the truck to the door, is the longest and hardest part of the buying process. Especially for sizable items. That’s how savvy local retailers and stylists can get a leg up. Your offer to set up and place furnishings for your clients puts you ahead of the best.
Possess the slightest willingness to add value where online-only retailers can’t reach and you’re setting yourself apart as the go-to shop for quality goods and unparalleled service. You just have get a little crafty with your offering!
Here’s the real talk you don’t want to hear: Your customers shop online because they can find things that you don’t offer in your store. Yes, space limitations. Yes, overhead. But they don’t care.
Expand your thinking and your virtual aisles, you release the self-imposed barriers to your success.
How does it work?
Set up your website to carry infinitely more than what you offer in-store. This takes a little time and effort, but it’s worth it. The additional product selection gives you a chance to expand your inventory’s style. Go beyond your traditional pieces to attract and retain a new audience, without spending a single cent for the showroom floor.
After you make your new product selections, set up an automated product data service. This works overtime to keep your online product listings fresh and up-to-date – without adding additional headcount. Translation? You won’t have to worry about whether the grey leather is out of stock. Those details will take care of themselves. With extra hours left in your day, you’re free to do what you do best - like foster relationships, close sales and manage your marketing efforts.
When a client goes to your expanded online store to buy, you have the piece delivered to your store. Coordinate delivery with your local client and send it on your branded truck. Carefully set up the new piece with your stellar level of customer care and watch smiles erupt all around. Or, track the shipment closely and meet the customer at their home for additional assistance. The first option simply gives you more control and offers your client more flexibility.
Your biggest takeaway is that online retail isn’t the death of local home furnishings and home decor. In fact, it can mean the exact opposite. Get smart and strategic about your product offering, level of service and marketing. When you compete where the giants can’t, it’s local for the win!