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Virtual Productivity for Furniture Retailers

Project Ideas for Home Furnishings Retail Teams

The COVID-19 Pandemic was a crash-course in agility. Navigating store closures, capacity limitations, and safety restrictions required businesses to get creative in how we utilize our teams and our time. In this holistic look at Virtual Productivity, we provide activities for various areas of your business operations. While this was produced to serve as a valuable resource during the need for virtual activities, it is also a great compilation of business activities that can be conducted at any time.

 

Cleanse Your Database

Organizing can be a stress reliever and help us gain the control we all seek. Here is a list of top Database Cleansing activities that you can undertake. These key organizational tasks will help optimize your technology systems, which is highly rewarding!

  1. Database OrganizationClean up and merge duplicate customers to consolidate records.
  2. Cleanse the email addresses in your platform for your next campaign.
  3. Tackle inventory maintenance by purging, merging, or substituting products.
  4. Update your merchandise strategy by reviewing product tags, labels, prices, and costs.
  5. Organize the products within your inventory collections, groups, and kits.
  6. Update user securities, menus, and system settings in your POS, including data retention periods.
  7. Tackle your computer’s folder structure and create an organized system that you can carry forward.
  8. Read those articles you’ve had flagged in your inbox forever to learn something new!

 

Create a Relevant Website Experience

Home furnishings eCommerce is on a trajectory of growth.  Your website is a vital communication and research tool for your customers. Here are some timely features you can consider adding for your home furnishings retail website to excel in the current marketplace.

  1. Ensure your website has a clear method of communicating your latest announcements and protocols.
  2. Google provides tools to communicate with the communities you serve. Remember to apply updates to Google My Business.
  3. Showcase the people behind your company. Each locations’ page can highlight the showroom’s team and individual personalities.
  4. Create a 360-degree virtual showroom as an enticing way to have a customer choose your store during their research phase.
  5. Enable customers to schedule in-store or virtual appointments through web lead forms.
  6. Customers may want an associate’s assistance while shopping online. Have your team support online chat to sustain engagement.

 

Search Engine Optimization (SEO) Initiatives

SEO is a constantly evolving digital marketing practice that can be tough to stay on top of when you also have a business to run.  Google’s best practices are always progressing. In fact, the one consistent truth in SEO is that there is always work to be done. These SEO efforts are a productive use of time and can position your website for success as it becomes your #1 channel to promote your business.

  1. Begin with a high-level overview of the current state of your website by conducting an in-house SEO audit.
  2. Optimize your H1 and H2 Title Tags, Meta Titles, and Meta Descriptions with unique, keyword-rich data.
  3. Check your organic rankings and conduct keyword research to devise a list of new search targets.
  4. Write new product pages, original content, or blog posts for your site to inspire your customers.
  5. QA your website on mobile through manual testing and the Google Page Speed Insights tool.
  6. Ensure you have verified and completely filled out your Google My Business listings for all locations.
  7. Create a well-organized Contact Us page with local showroom subpages that include pertinent updates.
  8. Utilize Google Search Console to review any 404 “Page Not Found” Errors that need redirecting.
  9. Complete an ADA audit to ensure accessibility standards are met.
  10. Disavow spammy links from your website using Google’s Disavow Tool.
  11. Resize and compress large image files to speed up your website.

 

Social Distancing

Create Distribution Center Efficiency 

Your warehouses and distribution centers are hubs for order fulfillment. They are also key areas where you can gain or lose efficiencies. Maintaining proper safety standards while maximizing your resources is vital. In this section, we suggest activities to maximize your distribution center efficiency.

  1. As many manufacturers are experiencing delays, you can account for what you have on hand to sell by conducting a Physical Inventory.
  2. Devise timely promotional strategies. As-Is damages or slow-movers taking up space in your warehouse might be perfect for a sale.
  3. Set up Alternate Stock Locations to meet customer demand for inventory that is out of stock in their primary fulfillment location.
  4. Optimize workflows to ensure that your team and equipment are moving about your distribution center cost-effectively to cut costs.
  5. Implement cross-docking to avoid the stocking and re-picking of merchandise which is both efficient and sanitary.
  6. As more customers opt for pickup, ensure that you have a strong system in place for this rising method of order fulfillment.
  7. Monitor effectiveness by creating KPIs for warehouse efficiency while accounting for increases in time to uphold safety standards.
  8. Conduct routine Cycle Counts to spot-checking individual areas of the warehouse and keep standards high year-round.

 

Develop Real-Time Analytical Insights

Insights and know-how that typically drive decisions may have shifted. Access to real-time analytics can help you make informed choices that are right for your business today. Here are areas of reporting to guide strategic decision-making.

  1. To proactively generate leads, have your team utilize reports for Open Sales Orders, Quotes, and Shopping Carts to book appointments.
  2. COVID-19 has changed lifestyles. Review Demand Forecasts to pinpoint trends and adjust your buying to the latest projections.
  3. With continued shifts in supply chains, analyze Lead Times to help adequately stock your showrooms and warehouses.
  4. When cash is king, review margin performance and ensure you are selling the most profitable merchandise.
  5. Analyze turn ratios, so your savvy merchandisers can spend their Open-to-Buy dollars on items that turn quickly.
  6. Your customers may have varying degrees of financial impact from the pandemic. Use price point reporting to adjust pricing.
  7. Retailers are reinventing sales that relied on high traffic. Review your most effective promotions to spark ideas to capture business.
  8. Review changes to items frequently sold together. Adjust your upselling recommendations and merchandising to grow average ticket.

 

Attend Virtual Training Classes

Last but not least is Virtual Training; a great way to keep your team engaged and learning valuable knowledge to enhance your business operations. Many of your partners probably offer training programs for you to learn more about the industry, technology, or business operation. Continued education is extremely valuable at all levels.

 

STORIS partners can refer to our Client Portal Training Page to sign up for classes offered each week.

 

We hope these ideas for Virtual Productivity provide value. As the world continues to navigate the pandemic, it is important to keep your business moving forward.

It is STORIS’ mission each day to serve you and the home furnishings retail community with the strategic technology and professional services you need to succeed, no matter what life throws our way.

Have a great idea you want to share with the industry? Let us know by emailing [email protected]

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