Back in 2016, I made my first furniture purchase; I was moving to a new state and excited to decorate my first home after college. What I thought was going to be an enjoyable experience quickly veered in the opposite direction. I had no idea, at the time, how technology can make such a huge difference when buying furniture. In this case, the retailer’s lackluster software infrastructure ultimately would ruin what was supposed to be an exciting first-time home buyers experience. Here is what happened.
About to move and needing furniture to sleep, I headed to a well-known home furnishings retailer. In-store I picked out a beautiful bedroom set and was informed at the Point of Sale that my merchandise was in stock. In fact, the items would be delivered to my new home in just one week. I put a deposit down and eagerly began the moving process.
The next week, the delivery truck did, in fact, pull up to my new home, however, to my disappointment, it was only a partial order. The only items on the delivery truck were a set of mismatched nightstands. The employees apologized for the mix-up and informed me that they would straighten things out when the rest of the order arrived; but where were the bed frame and dresser I had also ordered? With a forced smile, I nodded my head and waited for the next round of deliveries.
I tried to remain optimistic, despite the mishaps until the second delivery arrived. This time, both the nightstands were there along with the bed frame, but the dresser was nowhere to be found. As the employees were bringing up the pieces of the bed frame, it broke as they tried carrying it up the stairs. I understood that this can happen and kept my composure until they searched their inventory and informed me that they won’t have another one in stock until December. That was 9 months away!
As it turns out, the retailer didn’t have the dresser in stock when I originally ordered the set. I had now wasted time waiting for several failed deliveries and would not even have my furniture for months. Furniture retailers help their consumers make their house a home. Perhaps the biggest disappointment in all of this was that it was ruining the morale around a significant move in my life.
By this point, I was so upset with the whole process that I sent everything back, called up the store, and canceled the order. The sales associate was very apologetic and told me that their POS system was not updated in real time to show the correct inventory stock information. Additionally, communication among store and warehouse locations across the operation were not integrated. Since their warehouse was not aware of my purchase, the pieces I ordered were not shown as sold and were delivered to other customers.
This experience happened when shopping for my first home after college. Flashforward to the present where I now work for STORIS, a company that specializes in furniture retail software. I have since learned how the right software could have saved my negative experience:
- Inventory management is the foundation of a successful retail business. Having a software solution that operates in real-time would have allowed the retailer to accurately know what inventory was available and when. When I first ordered the set of bedroom furniture, the sales associate guaranteed that they had “plenty in-stock” and everything would arrive together and on-time. That was a relief to hear until everything went wrong. Upon further investigation, the sales associate confessed that the software did not work in real-time and, therefore, the inventory count was incorrect. Operating in real-time will prevent these mistakes from happening and give customers peace of mind.
- For multi-store retailers, operating with warehouses and store locations across states, system-wide integration is key. The confusion that occurred between the store and their warehouse could have been avoided as well. This miscommunication resulted in a very upset customer. Ensuring that software is reflecting warehouse’s inventory counts and properly reserving merchandise to customer orders is critical to keeping customers happy. Additionally, this helps employees prep deliveries and avoid stressful situations.
From my experience, I saw the negative side of having an outdated software solution. I thought that’s how most stores operated. Through working with STORIS, I learned that does not have to be the case. Software should be developed to help you succeed and support your customers having a fun and stress-free shopping experience.
Written by Nikki Sarno, STORIS Marketing Specialist. A graduate of Flagler College, Nikki worked in media production for 4 years before joining STORIS.