With stores limited by COVID, La-Z-Boy eases into online sales
Read Time: 3 minutes
As the COVID-19 pandemic struck, furniture retailer La-Z-Boy searched for a way to keep connected with customers who couldn’t visit their showrooms. By offering design consulting service through online appointments they gained new customers.
Connected with customers
who were unable to visit stores
and generated business during the COVID-19 pandemic
Customized customer service
in new innovative ways
COVID-19 cuts into store visits
La-Z-Boy is among America’s most recognizable brands. While their name is synonymous with reclining chairs, their offerings have broadened to sofas, loveseats, and furniture for bedrooms, dining rooms, and patios. As their product line diversified, customers grew accustomed to visiting showrooms to see how the various pieces fit together.
Furniture shoppers often want a tactile experience. Still others need help imaging how a certain piece might look in their own home. When COVID-19 lockdowns put in-store visits on hold, La-Z-Boy’s e-commerce team started looking for new ways to keep in touch with customers and bolster revenue.
One idea was to connect customers with interior designers virtually. If La-Z-Boy could efficiently connect shoppers with experts, not only would potential buyers be able to access an experience that approximated the visit to a showroom, but each piece of furniture would come with value-added consultation services. La-Z-Boy reached out to Calendly in hopes of facilitating easy bookings.
Virtual design consultation as a service
With a few tweaks and a new couple links, the scheduling process was up and running on La-Z-Boy’s website. Customers type in their zip code, and geolocation connects them to their nearest store. Each store is broken out as an individual user, and the customer is routed to a scheduling page for a corresponding local designer. Event types correspond with a particular designer’s availability, and shoppers select a 30-minute slot for a virtual consultation at a time of their choosing.
One designer, Erica from Sterling Heights, Michigan, notes that the simple scheduling process often leads to a dialogue that is even more productive than an in-person meeting. Customers can feed images of their existing decor, or data about the dimensions of rooms, to designers. Meanwhile, the experts work to balance style and functionality.
“I try to listen to their likes and dislikes, what they are drawn to, and put off by,” Erica says. “I read between the lines of what they are not always able to articulate.”
Shopping by appointment is here to stay
It didn’t take long for La-Z-Boy to realize that they hit on a big idea. With thousands of bookings in the first few weeks, they could hardly keep up. La-Z-Boy used Calendly to easily adjust the program on the fly.
La-Z-Boy used Calendly to easily adjust the program on the fly. What started as 60 Calendly booking slots (so-called “seats”) grew to 410 in just two months.
Once a temporary measure to keep customers close during the pandemic, the online booking system is blossoming into a permanent sales, marketing, and customer service strategy. La-Z-Boy plans to continue scheduling virtual design consultations indefinitely. As showrooms slowly reopen to in-person shoppers, La-Z-Boy will use Calendly bookings to control the number of people visiting stores at any given time.
There are plans to expand their virtual shopping offerings too. La-Z-Boy is looking to add an option that allows customers with simple questions to book appointments with store employees almost immediately. Along with increased remote interaction, La-Z-Boy wants to improve future in-store experiences with semi-private shopping appointments. They may also use Calendly to prospect new customers and point them to the nearest store.
For this iconic 94-year-old brand, necessity really was the mother of invention.
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