Top 100 dealer offers seamless shopping experience
By Alan Wolf, YSN
In the first 41 years of its existence, Top 100 furniture retailer Miskelly Furniture built a bustling, seven-store business in Mississippi that was fueled by a customer-first policy, value pricing and a commitment to being “the most loved furniture store in the Southeast.”
But those time-tested tenets alone couldn’t carry the company during the COVID-19 pandemic, when Miskelly, like so many of its fellow furniture dealers, were temporarily shuttered and business seemingly ground to a halt. That’s when the family-owned operation turned to BrandSource and its AVB Marketing digital team. As Miskelly Senior Retail Analyst Alan Vonder Haar told FurnitureToday, the chain adopted the group’s Alta e-commerce platform soon after joining and witnessed a 200%-plus increase in sales after going live in September 2019. The changeover, he said, along with aggressive digital marketing, helped Miskelly ride out the disruptions of Mississippi’s shelter-in-place mandate.
After getting a taste of what AVB’s MTEQ tool chest could achieve, the company made a strategic decision to focus on its digital platform and pursue “a seamless, omnichannel experience” for its shoppers, said Caleb Miskelly, chief retail officer. “It was definitely an evolution for us,” he recalled.
Today, the company has a full-time digital sales team comprised of a manager and four dedicated sales associates who are wholly engaged with HUB, AVB’s customer relationship management tool (CRM) that lets them create and send quotes to customers via text or email. But the most powerful asset in AVB’s arsenal, Miskelly said, is its virtual product catalog. The Furniture Technology Source (FTS) feature keeps prices, descriptions and images up to date, freeing up the company’s own staff to focus on sales and customer support.
AVB Marketing’s Jessica Ting said the business has committed to superior customer service with the help of digital tools.
“Miskelly Furniture has embraced its online customers with a fully e-commerce-optimized Alta website,” she said. “Its digital team has fully plugged in with online merchandising, including product inventory and special promotional catalogs, live chat with its online sales team for real-time customer assistance, and a fully transactional online showroom that performs as well as many of their brick-and-mortar locations in the Jackson, Miss., area.”
Miskelly added that the company’s digital initiatives have assumed even greater significance now that the chain is looking to expand beyond Mississippi. “We’re seriously considering a couple of different locations,” he said, “and are looking to digital to help us enter new markets.”
YSN publisher AVB BrandSource is the nation’s largest merchandising and marketing co-op for independent appliance, mattress, furniture and CE dealers.