The world of retail is at another inflection point. Now more than ever, eCommerce and the supply chain to enable it is a critical business practice. CPQ software offers benefits to home furnishings retailers to help this transition. Retailers and vendors who support them need to optimize their customer-facing product cycle. That means more products online with all the options for purchase enabled—including custom furniture.
Home furnishings offer many configurations for shoppers. Traditionally this process happens inside the retail brick and mortar store with a salesperson. But rising eCommerce priorities and continued social distancing measures make it less available. Many retailers need a way to reduce the friction of custom furniture shopping. And that is one of the CPQ software benefits.
We’re going to talk about the challenges of custom furniture shopping and CPQ software benefits to solve the issues.
One of the most significant benefits of CPQ software is increased accuracy. Configure Price Quote Software takes the place of human intervention in the process. Which means by definition the probability for error is significantly less. For every product line that your store sells in custom, there is a chance for human error in selling the product. Those errors impact the customer experience for retailers.
CPQ Benefits in the Store
Retail staff in the showroom need to work on the fly with their clients. Let’s take a look at how the custom furniture process works today in the average retail store.
Customers show interest in a custom sofa by one brand in your showroom. As you work with the client, you walk them through selecting fabric, finish, and other customizable elements like foot type and detailing like nailhead trim options. If the client wants a nailhead trim and a specific cover but your manufacturer doesn’t allow for that configuration, you need a staff trained in those configuration rules. In this example, the salesperson had no idea this fabric wasn’t configurable with nailhead trim. Because the catalog he used wasn’t up to date with the new rules from the manufacturer.
But it’s not just helpful to the retailer. The customer experience in custom furniture shopping is as important to the manufacturer as the retailer. CPQ software benefits manufacturers in a multitude of ways. But it starts with customer satisfaction. Manufacturers cannot build products that don’t follow the configuration rules.
Hand in hand with improved accuracy is profitability. A top home furnishings retailer once said that every week, a customer returns a product. And it’s a product that was custom ordered and the wrong product was ordered. And every retailer knows that custom furniture is more challenging to resell. Most retailers who offer custom furniture either write less business because their return policies are strict or have high return rates and lose profits. Retailers that can’t maximize the benefits of CPQ software are forced to resell custom furniture at a loss. Hurting profits and brand value for the customer.
CPQ software gives your store better profitability chances because it reduces human error. With catalogs built to configure, price, and quote, your new sales process looks like this. Your customers can configure products with the correct materials and options set by the manufacturer. Then they can visualize the final product before the quote. And make the purchase from your store. That order is delivered to the manufacturer with all of the pricing and configuration rules already compliant. The timeline of your supply chain isn’t extended due to questions about the configuration. And your customer receives the product they purchased without delays. With better results, customers who purchase custom furniture with a positive outcome will be more likely to repeat the shopping experience with your store again.
Maximize Sales with Better Quotes
Configure Price Quote software helps the shopper customize and get quotes for fully custom products. In the home furnishings industry, this is rewarding for the manufacturer and its retailers. But often without the benefits of CPQ software, manually operated custom shopping retailers miss out on revenue opportunities.
When your retail sales staff are required to use manual catalogs in the showroom for the custom configuration process, they may omit the manual and rely on their knowledge. While many of your sales staff may be qualified to know the standard fabrics available to drape on certain frames, what happens as new introductions launch? Is your sales staff ready to custom quote items they’re not familiar with? In some cases, there are customizations that can add to the ticket value but don’t appear as an option on every product. And prices for certain options can change quickly. Without tracking updates and rule changes from the manufacturer, your team cannot know the exhaustive list of customizations available for every brand in your store. But in order to upsell the premium items correctly, they need a resource like CPQ.
CPQ software benefits the salesperson by showcasing dynamic configurations that can be customized with the customer. Sales staff can walk through every opportunity to upsell a premium configuration like cushion stuffing material—a factor that could be overlooked. Product catalogs powered with CPQ software benefits increase sales for retail stores that use them with clients.
It also improves the sale of custom furniture quote requests through the website. Industry leaders consider CPQ powered website catalogs an eCommerce-ready solution. And with many retailers transitioning to an eCommerce-capable brand, it is an essential tool.
Shorten and Automate the Sales Process
Retailers on the showroom floor know the customer experience is everything. That’s why the sales staff in your store want to always make the buying process faster and more efficient every day. But when your store specializes in custom furniture or you have a client looking for custom products, how do you speed up the sales process? CPQ software benefits a retailer in this custom furniture sales process by creating a faster sales experience.
Let your salesperson spend time building the relationship, not hassling with manual quoting resources. For every custom product line you offer, there is a separate operation to run. That adds time to create a custom configuration. Instead, using the CPQ software built into a back-office website or your own retail website will allow for agility. Your salesperson can quickly jump between different brands, collections, and configuration options with the client. Or recommend the client take control to build the furniture they want.
Because this process is automated from the retail to the manufacturer, CPQ software benefits the supply chain efficiency. Manufacturers can be confident that their custom furniture will be configured with the appropriate and up to date rules. Saving time on communication with retail stores or consumers who placed the order with incorrect options selected.
CPQ software benefits the customer with faster quotes and accurate pricing without friction in the sales process. The automated approach of CPQ software built into your website will improve the conversion rate for new leads in the store. Additionally, configuring products with visualization will improve on-site engagement and customer experience.
CPQ Software Solution for Home Furnishings
To learn about MicroD’s solution for retailers and manufacturers, please contact us.