Retail panel says today’s retailers must be nimble, consistent

Jeff MacGurn Jerome’s FurnitureAUSTIN, Texas — Jeff MacGurn of San Diego-based Jerome’s Furniture revealed the retailer’s unusual and very successful advertising campaign to attendees of Progressive Business Media’s NEXT Conference here.

MacGurn was part of the Reinventing Retail panel discussion at the 2018 NEXT Conference in Austin, Texas. Other panelists included moderator Jasmine Jaco from Cur8, a wholesale marketplace; Pasquale Natuzzi Jr., chief marketing and communications officer for Natuzzi Italia; and Teddie Garrigan, co-owner of Coco & Dash in Dallas, a luxury home accents retailer.

The Jerome’s campaign happens to be Tinder, the well-known dating app, and it’s helping the Top 100 company hook up with a younger consumer set.

Jasmine Jaco Cur8“We are shifting attention to the under 40 demographic,” said MacGurn, vice president of digital technology from Jerome’s. “Our company is getting a ton of traffic and interaction from our Tinder ads. We’ve adapted our tone and messaging to be more of what that demographic wants to see. We are also on YouTube and Pinterest. Interested customers can now book a free ride on Lyft to get to one of our stores. Making the customer’s experience a lot more holistic from start to finish has been very helpful.”

For his part, Natuzzi said he had to modernize his company’s website as well as reinvent all Natuzzi’s digital platforms over the past few years.

“We created our own 3D simulator because we wanted to offer an enhanced vision of the product,” said Natuzzi. “We wanted consumers to be able to zoom in on the grade of the leather. We invite customers to take photos of their spaces and send them to us. After 16 hours, they receive a notification and can go to the store and see our product customized to their space.”

Pasquale Natuzzi Jr. Natuzzi ItaliaCoco & Dash doesn’t sell product online, but it has found the use of social media and texting to be very helpful.

“We will have people who reach out to us after seeing our products on social media. We then redirect them to text,” said Garrigan. “It’s such a better conversation on text. We close a lot of sales even when people have not been in the shop.”

Garrigan said another area where Coco & Dash has been successful is by providing panels that offer information about design and architecture. Customers can come and experience what experts in the field have to say; then they spend one to two hours exploring the store.

“The store layout is so important; we make sure they have breathing space so they can feel their way through the shop,” said Garrigan. “Our three core principles are product, space and atmosphere.”

Teddie Garrigan Coco & Dash“Becoming more nimble is important, too,” said Jaco. “Retailers are getting better at running today’s business in the here and now while still being able to pivot quickly to prepare for the future.”

Natuzzi says his company plans to be ready to surf the digital tsunami and provide value and service very efficiently. “The only way to be consistent is to show one face, one brand and one way,” said Natuzzi. “But retailers need to share that one face across the entire portfolio.”

MacGurn said Jerome’s is now speaking with one voice across all platforms.

“Ten years ago the customer spent one and a half hours in the store, and that’s now down to 30 minutes,” said MacGurn. “Customers do research online beforehand, so the digital and in-store experiences need to be one and the same.”

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