C-level leaders swiftly furnish business with a mobile-first strategy for faster impact

By Steve Wilder

In my role as both a CFO and CIO, it’s my responsibility to keep our business running smoothly while innovating consistently. Combining perspectives from both financial and IT standpoints provides a unique vantage point. I must consider the cost of technology and the speed at which it can improve business. This led our team at City Furniture to spearhead our digital business transformation with a mobile-first strategy.

Finding digital solutions to physical problems

Like many other industries, the furniture industry is quickly going digital. To stay ahead, it’s essential to implement emerging technologies that yield swift returns. We aim to improve our customer experience by matching the needs of our business with new technology while considering cost. Our mobile projects have enabled us to get to market quickly and make a real, measurable impact.

Like most CFOs, I worry about integrating information quickly across our enterprise so we can continue to provide value to our customers and keep them coming back to City Furniture.

Our goal was to quickly integrate data from our receiving department to our inventory and sales channels. In particular, we wanted to improve how we deal with clearance inventory. Clearance inventory may have cosmetic imperfections that require us to sell it at a reduced cost or even a loss. At the same time, it needs to be stored in our showroom and distribution center, decreasing the floor space that could be used for higher-profit and more desired items. A technological solution to this problem could potentially save the company more than $1 million.

Through our mobile-first strategy, we developed a digital solution to a physical problem by making clearance merchandise available for sale online within minutes. Rather than waiting days or weeks before items can be displayed and made available for sale within our physical clearance showroom, customers can see discounted merchandise online as soon as we add it to our inventory.

Mobile-first strategy overhauls inventory process

We sell to many different segments, and not every client wants a perfect piece. Many would be willing to get a bargain on functional yet slightly blemished furnishings. We wanted to make reduced merchandise quickly available for bargain shoppers. This is where top mobile technology helped us improve our inventory process.

We were able to quickly vet some of the best technology options available and select solutions that are proven and quickly growing: Swift and MobileFirst for iOS.

Our goal was to quickly integrate back-end processes into our app so employees could start profiling inventory items that arrive with minor flaws. Our business team worked directly with developers to determine how to work through this unique challenge.

The power of Swift and our mobile-first strategy allows us to focus our team on one technology and language that can integrate at the server and user-device level. My team is excited that it can reuse back-end APIs written in Swift for the mobile app and extend that for our e-commerce engine down the road, making future scaling easier.

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The digital journey continues

We are now looking forward to more opportunities to integrate new technologies in the same way by examining our processes and focusing on what technology can fix our business problems. With new technology such as augmented reality and virtual reality becoming more readily available for commercial use, the furniture business is getting more interesting and exciting. We hope to take our digital journey across many innovations to continue to surprise and delight our customers.

Written By

Steve Wilder

CFO and CIO of City Furniture

Steve Wilder is the CFO and CIO of one of the largest furniture retailers in Florida. He aligns the needs of the business with new technologies to quickly improve outcomes and processes.