Creating connections is a great way to boost business and can be a win-win scenario for both partners involved. It is quite common to see other brands in partnership with other stores, especially in the bigger chains. Some concessions of note in the furniture retail industry include Carpetright and Furniture Village, Sofa.com and House of Fraser (owned by the same group) and DFS, which collaborates with a number of brands such as eve Sleep, French Connection, Joules, Swoon and Cath Kidston. And there’s plenty more!
However, for independent retailers in the furniture industry, a large concession may not be the right fit. In this article, we explore how local retail partnerships, when done right, can result in additional exposure and a potential boost in revenue, while what to consider when looking at teaming up with a local business.
We’ll start here with concessions as we’ve already touched on it briefly. As mentioned, larger style concessions with big name brands may not work in a store that is restricted on space and is already taken up with dedicated areas. That said, why not re-focus to offering a smaller part of your store to a local artisan or craft company as a concession with a fair percentage. Not only are you supporting another local company, but you’re also offering something different and unique for the community. The other plus here is that you can create the collaboration for as long as you want, and if it doesn’t work out, you can try another local provider that complements your store. This could even turn into regular concession spots during the year, opening it up to promote local crafts, giftware and much more.
Coffee, Cinema and Cake
Coffee shops in furniture stores is nothing new. For the retailers that have one and make the most of the extended offer to customers, that’s great, and for those that don’t, perhaps it’s something to consider. We’ll focus on partnerships though and for those retailers that don’t have the room. If there is a local tea room or coffee shop nearby, why not approach them to promote an offer – for example, if you’ve visited the local spot for a brew, bring your receipt for a discount on a selected line of products perhaps? You could even promote offers within the partnered shop. And this type of partnership doesn’t stop at the coffee shop. Why not link up with your local independent cinema, bakeries, restaurants and fashion boutiques? Cross promotion of offers, discounts when spending at the other and even joint events can prove successful.
Find out what local events could potentially tie in with a partnership. If any match, cross-promote in store, while the event could promote your store. This could be via a sponsorship, which could generate extra exposure. For example, if there’s a local running event, participants could receive a discount on a bed range to boost performance? If you know of a charity event doing a fundraiser, why not support it with sponsorship, fundraiser yourself instore or provide an item of furniture on the day to help. Then there’s your own company events. Get local businesses involved where they can and grow your network in the community. With Halloween round the corner, why not partner with the local fancy dress shop where if a customer purchases a product, they get a discount on a spooky outfit?
Ever wanted to be a quiz-master? Well, why not generate a community quiz or competition with a shared prize pack from partnered businesses involved? Your business, alongside a number of partner brands could team up to create an excellent prize pack consisting of items and offers from their stores. It could be as simple as comment on a joint social media post for a chance to win.
In keeping with social media, sometimes a partnership can be as simple as being ‘social media friends’. These partnerships can include cross-promotion on products and offers, mentioning each other on social media and running joint online promotions and sharing posts to each other’s audiences. There’s plenty of scope to do more on social media so why not explore the opportunities with other local businesses.
So where do you start?
Explore your local environment and see which businesses may fit what you are looking to do. Here’s some final tips on what to consider:
Complementary offerings – do you both appeal to the same demographic?
Similar offerings – do you have products that are similar or can work well together? Local giftware or arts and crafts designer can easily complement a furniture store with accessories.
Become a customer – if you want to team up with a local business, become a customer yourself and experience their products or services first-hand. Form relationships with their managers or owners, then bring up the idea of a partnership.
Remember to Test and Measure – it’s a good idea to test a partnership first before getting into a huge commitment. As mentioned, start with a small agreement and see how it goes, or initially offer smaller concession spots. It’s equally important to measure results from partnerships and promotions to see if it is working or not. Then either build on it, reassess or move on. Always be clear and concise to maintain a strong reputation. Don’t just cut a partner loose without a fair reflection – it may haunt your next move. Remember, it’s a two-way-gain.