Ashley Furniture looks to mobile retail platform to streamline bricks-and-mortar experiences
Ashley Furniture, the country’s largest furniture manufacturer and retailer, is partnering with a mobile solutions firm to leverage a platform that will power mobile integration within its physical locations.
Mad Mobile, a company that augments the in-store experiences of clients as wide ranging as Payless to Major League Baseball, is offering its Concierge retail platform to the furniture retailer to both expand and simplify the buying process for consumers. The platform will primarily assist retail store associates with their various tasks, including inventory assessment, customer data, and point of sale maneuvering.
“Mobile implementation within bricks-and-mortar locations has been a surging trend lately,” said Marci Troutman, CEO of SiteMinis. “Accounting for this boom is simple: bricks-and-mortar locations now have the ability to extend the product mix available to the consumer without having to hold additional inventory per store location by using mobile shopping at store level.”
The retail platform will allow Ashley Furniture store associates to have mobile access to all available products, customer data, and delivery information. As such, Ashley Furniture’s shoppers will now have the added benefit of being able to browse a selection of products that are available online and in-store with related product recommendations.
An additional benefit to both brand and consumer is the platform’s mobile-enhanced checkout process, which will provide both a quicker, more streamlined transaction process and multiple points of accountability through online receipts, Apple Pay integration and associate-assisted mobile shopping carts.
Concierge also features a Clienteling module, which allows store associates to access to black book notes, appointment scheduling, task creation, market segmentation, and 1-to-1 communication tools.
“The mobile-enhanced checkout process that streamlines the buying process, especially for furniture—a product that consumers can’t take home immediately, and generally has to be delivered—is a strategy which helps support more effective supply chain management, especially since drop-shipping to store or consumer in quick turnaround cycles has become a manageable part of the supply chain,” Ms. Troutman said.
Ashley Furniture plans to roll out the Concierge retail platform to store associates nationwide and internationally in 2017.
Augmenting physical retail
Mobile integration and augmentation has been a hot trend this past year, heating up especially during in the past few months as retailers try to emerge from the crucible of holiday sales. Sears is similarly angling towards an omnichannel effort, leveraging multiple applications to assist consumers who are looking to the department store for holiday deals (see story).
And Sephora rolled out its third Beauty Tip workshop in the United States, enabling shoppers to take advantage of mobile-enabled experiences such as browsing products on in-store iPad stations and receiving customized digital makeover suggestions that can be emailed directly to their smartphones (see story).
“In order to integrate mobile technology into the buying/selling process, brands can engage shoppers in a number of ways to couple mobile with the in store experience, with, for example, price matching guarantees, relevant offers, loyalty rewards or coupons sent to a mobile device,” Ms. Troutman said. “Also, the use of geo-targeting can be a solid method to improve a consumers unique store visit and improve market basket sales.”