EM – Combining the best of online and offline shopping

EM, a Swedish furniture franchise store chain updated their sales processes to the digital era by offering their clients VividWorks solutions.

“The way people buy has changed and we have to sell differently”, says Michael Sturehed, CEO of EM.

Customers enjoy researching furniture online with VividWorks tools in the comfort of their own homes. When they get a better idea of what they’re interested in, they come to brick and mortar stores to test products such as sofa cushions before they place their order.

“People want to start the shopping process online. It is important our website is inspirational and informative. For that we are already using VividWorks solutions,” Sturehed tells.

Product catalogs are essentially brought to life when a customer can see the whole range of products and freely build custom pieces of furniture, changing fabrics and finishes to suit their taste.

Using the Augmented Reality app for iPad, customers can take a photo of their room and upload furniture into the photo to see how pieces fit together in a real space. Another part of the solution allows customers to create a custom plan of their space similar to what interior designers do, and then place furniture into it. Customers who see more are more confident in their purchase choices, possibly buying more and bringing repeat business to stores.

Shops are still needed

There is no replacing the need for a customer to test out how bouncy a sofa cushion is or to determine the comfort of a bed. Those key pieces will forever be part of the in-store experience.

“At stores, people continue what they started on the web. They try options they saw on the web and commit to purchase with the help of our professional sales people,” Sturehed says.

Salespeople work with customers

In the EM store in Malmö, VividWorks new solution improves the offline sales processes in a new way. In a virtual showroom, the shop can show its entire line at once, not just the best selling pieces. Salespeople work with customers on store monitors to show different options and combinations and get instant measurements via the solution instead of calculating pieces separately. Customers who see more are more confident in their purchase choices. For the store, this translates to a smoother sales process, higher customer satisfaction, upselling and greater possibility for repeat business.

Solution helps to keep the costs down. Renting a showroom floor big enough for an entire furniture line is simply not economical or efficient. Mega showrooms are simply not needed as sales people and customers have direct access to their whole line online at home and in store.

The solution means that despite reduced square meters, there is plenty of room for a variety of tastes. Stores may continue to choose many floor samples in basic beige and gray, but customers with more daring taste can also find what they want. Trying out a traditional style sofa in bright pink or chartreuse is only a click away, setting the imagination free with no commitment.

In addition, fabric samples are still needed for getting the feel of a fabric. The VividWorks solution simplifies the often dusty and confusing fabric process when customers can view an entire sofa in their favorite floral instead of just a small sample that doesn’t show the pattern repeat.

Digitalized business

The future of business is digital, even for the traditional furniture industry. But that doesn’t mean that the human element isn’t important in the sales process. Less sales people may be needed in stores as customers increasingly do part or all of their purchases online. But for those people on the sales floor, their position is exemplified as communication between themselves and their customer is brought to a new level through increased visualization.

Online and in store, the VividWorks solution runs smoothly. Both companies know that a smooth transition between the website products and product composer application to build furniture is essential for a positive customer experience. Smooth transitions and ease of use are also essential and felt in store as sales people use the solution during sales interactions. The digitalized solution is seen as an extension of the sales person so it needs to support their role as a competent professional.

It comes down to “seeing is believing” and that’s just what sales people need to communicate effectively to customers so that they feel confident enough to commit to purchase. For customers, there is satisfaction in testing out a sofa cushion to make sure it’s perfect to their taste and then working with a salesperson to adjust the dimensions, arms, fabric and finish to ensure that their sofa is uniquely theirs. Customers know their choice is right for them because they can see it. The next step is owning it and EM and VividWorks make that step an easy one too.

“We are planning to grow even more in the future. We will reach that goal by using the latest technology and understanding how digitalization will change the way we all do business,” Sturehed says.

• Swedish furniture chain, almost 50 years old
• Over 40 stores

Vividworks Products in Use:
• ProductComposer, the software’s main tool
• Interior Planner
• Augmented Reality (AR) feature for iPad

Key Benefits
• Build custom furniture including 7 of EM’s sofa lines and 3 shelving lines to personal specifications.
• Design at home, in store or on-the-go online anytime.
• Highly realistic colors, textures and finishes
• Smart software only allows legal combinations of elements
• Supports sales people’s role in store as a sales tool
• Customers can start the design process at home, shortening the sales process in store.
• Supports customer creativity by letting them try out all the options without risk.
• AR for iPad feature lets customers really see what a product would look like at home.
• Interior Planner lets customers build a room to own specifications including doors and windows before adding own product choices.