1.) Mr Roitzsch, an online showroom served as the basis for Schaffrath’s current online shop. What exactly is the difference between the two solutions?
Schaffrath took its first steps into digitally supported furniture retail in summer 2016 with the online showroom. This kind of showroom has no sales function; it’s not an online shop.
But it’s also a lot more than a mere virtual shop window on the Internet. The products are staged in the showroom; they can be found via search engines, such as Google; their availability in the nearest store can be checked; a sales appointment can be set up, and articles can be shared on social media.
Schaffrath pursued two main objectives with the creation of its showroom. Objective number one was to gradually establish digitally compatible processes and to thereby gain valuable experience and to learn continually. This process follows the Shopmacher philosophy and was also successful for Schaffrath. Objective number two was to increase visitor numbers in its physical furniture showrooms with the aid of the online showroom. They also achieved this frequency increase.
2.) Now that the online shop has launched, have you already been able to see changes between previous and current performance?
It’s still too early to give reliable and genuinely meaningful interim results, but we can definitely say that our partner Schaffrath is very satisfied with the performance of both components, the showroom and the online shop.
We’re not able to give any specific figures at this point in time. What is clear is that the showroom and the online shop have further increased both visitor numbers in the physical furniture showrooms – the frequency increase – and traffic on the Schaffrath website, and also increased online-supported sales.
Together with the Schaffrath team, we’re now in the stage where we’re evaluating the data, which is still recent, and drawing lessons for further sales-driving development. We’re on a very good path.
3.) The interiors industry tends to be rather traditional. Do you think that the furniture market is ready now for e-commerce?
Absolutely and in fact, it goes far beyond that. We firmly believe that what applies to the furniture market also applies to the whole retail sector: any retailer or manufacturer that doesn’t take up the enormous opportunities that digital technologies offer will inevitably have major difficulties and ultimately disappear from the market.
For all retailers, it’s a question of using digital support to create exciting and captivating purchase experiences, to optimise services for customers and thereby create attractive incentives for growing sales. This doesn’t just apply to conventional e-commerce online; it’s quite naturally also relevant to the deployment of digital technologies at the point of sale.
This opens up virtually unlimited possibilities for the interior design and furniture industry as suppliers of products that satisfy everyday needs but especially our needs for quality of life, well-being and lifestyle.