HFN Summit Speaker: Fostering Community Fosters Sales
November 9, 2017,
DELRAY BEACH, Fla.—A great in-store shopping experience entertains consumers, fosters a sense of community among them and can only come about with the help of talented store employees, according to Pier 1 executive Jeff Haddox, who delivered the keynote address during HFN’s Total Home Omnichannel Summit here last week.
“Shopping sometimes is a hassle. What if was a bit more simplistic, more fun, more engaging?” proposed Haddox, who is vice president of e-commerce for the home furnishings chain. “What if it was as much fun as going out to dinner?”
As an example, Haddox described The Workroom, a Toronto-based sewing studio, shop and community space that invites its digital followers to meet up in its store. The Workroom’s online influencers, whose profiles are featured on its website, are paired with newcomers to the store and invited to collaborate with them. In the same way, Pier 1’s in-store events, such as how to set a holiday table or make an arrangement using its faux florals, not only educate but bring neighbors together, Haddox said. In both instances, customers are meeting one another and forming bonds and relationships in person, rather than solely online.
Haddox also stressed the importance of entertaining consumers in stores through an immersive experience, just as Sur la Table does with its cooking classes or Lego does with its play-building opportunities. In both instances, the stores’ products are built into the experience.
Haddox urged his fellow retailers not to ignore “the human element.” According to a rough general estimate, Haddox said, retailers should spend 10 percent of their resources on tools and 90 percent on people. “People bring your brand to life.”
Noting the challenge in managing digital traffic, Haddox advised two strategies: determining the right social media approach for one’s brand and then romanticizing it with user-generated content; and paying close attention to best SEO practices and ever-changing Google algorithms.
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- HFN Tech & Omnichannel Study- Although e-commerce shopping is increasing dramatically among consumers, home retailers lag in their current and future tech investments and implementation.
- Market Previews: High Point & Tabletop- The newest collections and influencer trends emerge in our High Point Market and N.Y. Tabletop Show special sections.