How mobile is empowering sales consultants at a furniture retailer

By Mu Li

| Retail

How significantly can a mobile app affect an enterprise’s bottom line? This is a story about how mobile technology is transforming the day-to-day work of the sales consultants at a furniture retailer by empowering them with data insights that lead to better customer experiences.

A brief history of Markor Furniture

Markor International Furniture Co. is a multi-brand, omnichannel international home furnishings retailer based in China. The company has been in business since the 1990s, and since then, it has continually sought ways to modernize its work processes to provide high-quality services and experiences for customers. The latest step in Markor’s digital transformation involves leveraging the power of mobile to equip its retail sales consultants.

Markor has nearly 100 retail locations in 40 cities in China, and as the brand grows, sales consultants have faced numerous challenges. Not only do they have to manage a growing customer base, but they also have to stay informed about an expanding inventory of products. The following are just a few of their daily challenges:

  • Sales consultants lack detailed information about customers and need a way to collect new customers’ data.
  • Sales members don’t have a record of customers’ style preferences, purchase history and other crucial details that could help them make informed recommendations.
  • As product offerings become more varied, consultants have difficulty obtaining accurate, real-time data about inventory levels or product details.

When Markor’s IT team thought about these issues, it became clear that a mobile solution could address its pain points and empower sales consultants to do their jobs better. Markor decided to adopt MobileFirst for iOS Sales Consult, and this mobile technology is now enabling Markor’s sales team to better understand and serve customers, offering them personalized recommendations.

How the mobile solution works

Markor’s Sales Consult is the result of a partnership between Apple and IBM that has delivered more than 100 apps across 14 industries in the past few years. Markor’s retail associates access Sales Consult on iPads, and the app gives them access to comprehensive product information and customer profiles.

The following are some examples of the data Markor can collect to inform customers’ future interactions with the brand:

  • Personal details such as name, address and contact information
  • A customer’s visit and purchase history
  • Photos and dimensions of a shopper’s living space
  • Style preferences, such as fabrics, colors and textures

The Sales Consult app stores this information to create a customer profile. Then, using data analysis, Sales Consult can recommend products for specific customers based on their preferences. For example, the recommendations could be related to past purchases, or they could be bestsellers that match the customer’s style profile. The app’s built-in analytics can even assess which fabric patterns or complementary pieces a customer might like.

Enabling salesconsultants to engage customers and increase revenue

Markor sales consultants now have a solution that gives them access to customer data and back-end product information. Since the solution is on a mobile device, consultants can carry it with them throughout the store to assist customers and provide a more efficient and personalized experience.

Here are some of the benefits Markor has seen since implementing its mobile solution:

  • More accurate customer information
  • More comprehensive product information
  • More targeted product recommendations
  • A better shopping experience for customers
  • Higher efficiency in the sales team’s work
  • A clearer daily schedule — consultants use the same app to manage their schedules.

According to IBM analysis, “associates who have access to extended assortments and personalized suggestions drive an estimated 13 percent in increased revenue.” As such, it’s likely that Markor will also see proof on its bottom line that the mobile solution has been a win.

In the end, it’s all about improving the customer experience

Businesses in the digital age have to give high priority to personalizing the customer experience. Consumers today are drawn to brands that understand their needs and make their lives easier. For a furniture retailer, this means providing tailored recommendations based on a customer’s preferred style. Sales Consult provides powerful insights to designers so they can deliver the types of products customers want.

After all, who doesn’t want to buy home furnishings from a company that can efficiently direct you to the upholstery fabric or curtain selections you’re sure to like the most? This is the power of a mobile app backed by big data analytics in the cloud, and it’s one important step on Markor’s journey to provide high-quality services and experiences to customers with the help of digital technology.

Written By

Mu Li

Retail General Manager, Markor International Furniture Co. Ltd

Mu Li has joined Markor in 1991. She has rich experience in operation and now she is the general manager of Markor Retail. By optimizing the structure of the organization to enhance operational efficiency, Mu is committed to building Markor’s core competencies: integrated customer…