A great example of the interest in delivery solutions at the Las Vegas Market is the conversation we had with Furnitech. FurniTech offers a spectrum of online options of furniture for high-end electronics.
Troy James of Manna and Eric Shupack, president and CEO of FurniTech
While at the Las Vegas Market Design Center, Manna representative Troy James spoke with Eric Shupack, president and CEO of FurniTech about the challenges of delivery and customer satisfaction from time of the purchase click to the time the customer is using their purchase. Shupack is using Manna for White-Glove, High-Speed delivery and installation.
That gap between purchase and waiting should be filled with communication and valuable information to the end user. Manna advocates status updates on shipments and even a call ahead of time from the driver on delivery day. These are the kinds of best practices we have seen work across the country. They go a long way to instill customer loyalty.
Here are some examples of comments by customers that have purchased big ticket items online
By KG in Michigan, July 10, 2010
“The entire process was outstanding! From the moment I made initial contact with the Company, to the time the mattress was delivered, ALL involved were thorough and professional. Nothing needs improvement! The delivery company was GREAT!! Thank You!”
By JRS, June 26, 2010
“The entire delivery process, from beginning to end, was a great experience. From the efficient use of e-mail and internet to schedule the delivery, to access to shipping status, to the actual delivery by a courteous, professional and helpful driver/delivery man, the entire process was outstanding. This is the first time I’ve purchased major appliances (convection wall oven, microwave/convection and trim kit) over the internet, but the entire process was so pleasant I won’t hesitate to do so again…at least involving the same on-line retailer and shipping service. Great experience!”
It’s interesting that some industries are debating the issue of speed of delivery when we live in a world of instant everything. Now at 51 years old I’m not a zealot for how fast society moves, I’ve lost a step or two directly proportional to my gaining a pound or 10, but it is what it is. Speed, whether it’s speed of information, speed of nutrition, or speed of consumer product delivery, is now the norm. Customer satisfaction increases the sooner they get a purchased product in the home. Manna’s experience shows customers are also more satisfied when they know the progress of their delivery.
The issue of whether organizations have a digital presence or even the ability to make a transaction online is not an issue for consumers. They expect rich websites and the ability to purchase. I’m not saying here that generations of relationships should be terminated just to satisfy a clamoring consumer, but their desires can not be ignored. This article about Manna distribution’s high speed delivery in Stores Magazine gets to the heart of this issue of speed as a high ranking customer desire when shopping for consumer products. This demand is proven in sectors like electronics and appliances. The furniture industry is a bit different, but not unique in this regard. Publisher of Hearth & Home magazine, Richard Wright writes a thoughtful editorial highlighting the dilemma the furniture industry faces reconciling a productive system of distributor/dealer with a growing desire to purchase online and get the product in their home hassle free. (This editorial is not available on the web which is why I don’t have a link, ironic isn’t it? )
One of the unique characteristics of the furniture industry is the little-known, but greatly valued function of deluxing which my colleague Linda wrote about last year on this blog. Deluxing is that final inspection and detailing on the delivery dock to make sure that everything in the piece is perfect. Then getting it that last mile with a smile is critical to customer satisfaction. In fact, it’s because of this unique characteristic of the furniture industry that should make most furniture retailers rush to implement nationwide High-Speed, White Glove delivery in conjunction with some web strategy. That strategy can be their own site or plugged into a manufacturers, there are plenty of ways to achieve that web presence.
Given the changes and customer demands in the last few years, some furniture stores are moving to satisfy their
Gloster High End Casual Furniture
trusted relationships and provide the customer with the convenience they want. Gloster, a maker of high-end casual furniture
recently launched a gorgeous website that addresses their retailers’ concerns, directs consumers to retailers in their area, and provides for the purchase of products that includes a means to establish a local retailer contact that will enhance customer loyalty.
The Gloster site is a good example of where the furniture industry may move.