How furniture retailers can predict the future of furniture and design?

How furniture retailers can predict the future of furniture and design?
modular kitchen

Nolte Kitchens offers the Indian market high-end, modular and customisable German kitchens and bedrooms, and aims to be the largest furniture retailer in India by 2020.  Alok Duggal, Director of Home Studio India Pvt. Ltd, which operates the Nolte brand, is clear that the team needs cutting edge technology to enable this vision.

Designing a growth strategy

Summing up the challenges that they initially faced on their growth journey, Duggal explains, “Nolte has numerous stores and franchisees. Individual stores had a lot of information about customers, but we could not consolidate it all using Excel’s limited functionality.”

The team also lacked insights on purchase patterns and trends across the country. “We were selling the same products across India, whether in Gujarat or Rajasthan, and this wasn’t optimal,” admits Duggal.

“Ours is a future-focused business. We need to understand emerging trends and customer preferences to be able to offer the right product in the right market at the right time.”

To gain that understanding, the team needed a reliable platform that would capture all customer data in one place, and help them use that data for growth. They evaluated a couple of CRM tools, but quickly decided that Salesforce best offered the flexibility and scalability that the company’s unique business model demanded.

By the end of 2018, all Nolte retail outlets will be running on Salesforce, which will then be integrated with the brand’s B2B business.

Hammering together data for productivity and cost savings

Duggal explains that the company has complex and diverse business processes.

The entire process, from a customer booking an order to its customisation, delivery and installation, involves 40 intermediaries. All of them contribute data that must be captured and consolidated so the whole team can have a single view of the customer and the processes involved.

“The Salesforce solution was the only one flexible enough to be customised for the different processes, and powerful enough to integrate data from across streams into one single source of truth,” says Duggal.

Prior to Salesforce, without a repository to consolidate all data from the customer’s order, errors could not always be avoided. Often, the materials imported from Germany had to be reordered to meet customer expectations and the company spent lakhs doing this.

“Since implementing Salesforce, we have not spent a penny in reordering,” claims Duggal. “All processes have been digitalised and employees can monitor every step, track timelines and ensure customisation for specific needs.”

Salesforce is also helping the team consolidate data across all three product lines – kitchens, bedrooms and B2B projects – to achieve a single view of each customer. “This complete understanding of customer preference is making customer interactions smarter and more personalised.”

Chiselling out rich, customer-centric insights

To Duggal, the power of Salesforce lies in the rich insights that it delivers. These are helping the team analyse customer journeys, understand trends and predict the future.

 “We are now having meaningful data-driven discussions that are not just based on gut feel,” says Duggal.

With a view into which products are popular, the management team is able to shape sales and business strategy. Work is underway on the 2019 collection and Duggal promises that stores are going to look completely different.

“The changes that we are implementing in our stores as a result of our data-driven strategy are forecast to increase sales and exceed customer expectations,” he says.

Salesforce has also helped the team accurately predict demand across different cities and accordingly plan growth. Consequently, Nolte is scaling and opening new stores much faster than initially planned. Last year alone, post the deployment of Salesforce, Nolte opened seven stores; and plans are in place for seven more across the country by the first quarter of 2019.

Building the future

For Nolte, this is just the beginning of potentially explosive growth. Salesforce has transformed the way that they work, with employee heroes championing the change and the different departments meeting fortnightly to share best practices and look for data-driven efficiencies.

The team next plans to implement Salesforce Service Cloud to supercharge the customer service side of the business with better, faster technology to surpass customer expectations. And their mobile app will be integrated with Sales Cloud, allowing customer-facing teams to access customer data on-the-go and offer seamless and personalised service.

“We are very optimistic that our business will be increasingly customer-centric,” sums up Duggal. “Salesforce is more than a CRM tool for us. I call it our FutureForce – it is helping us step into the future and stay ahead of trends.”

IReC 2019 will host series of knowledge driven sessions addressing the key challenges faced by retailers when it comes to implementing design and innovation. 

The Experience Store Reimagined Retail: What gets consumer in physical space in digital age

Reimagined Retail: What gets consumer in physical space in digital age 
What draws people to physical spaces? How multichannel commerce brands can make retail spaces useful, understand the untapped potential of vulnerable real estate -- and how we might reimagine the spaces of consumer culture in a way that allows store brands to address the on-line onslaught.

  • The Wow store design that encourages customer exploration
  • Enhancing and personalizing the customer experience in-store
  • Dollars Per Square Foot Versus Experience Per Square Foot-Can Customer experience be quantified like throughput
  • Increasing automation and artificial intelligence in stores without taking away the human side of stores
  • Immersive Experiences that gets customers away from their phones and engage their senses



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