Like many furniture retailers, Bob’s Discount Furniture has relied largely on its store base to generate sales since its founding in 1991. Today, while many shoppers still want to make most of these high-ticket, high-consideration purchases in person, up to 85% of the retailer’s customers access MyBobs.com at some point in their buying process. Executives at the furniture retailer began to realize that the only way to stay ahead of the pack was to establish an intuitive customer experience across its online and mobile channels, rather than relying on an outdated e-Commerce platform.
The brand sought to establish more consistency between the online and in-store experiences, all while leveraging an enterprise-level platform that enabled infinite web site scalability. In Q2 2017, Bob’s selected Deloitte Digital as a digital transformation partner and began running on the SAP Hybris e-Commerce platform, taking a phased approach before finally converting the full site experience in April 2018. Under the Deloitte Digital partnership, Bob’s saw:
- Double-digit increases in online sales from 2017 to 2018;
- The implementation of new, engaging features such as online delivery scheduling, ratings and reviews and live chat real-time personalization for customers; and
- A large number of downloads of Bob’s first native mobile augmented reality (AR) app in the first four months, with numerous AR product views.
The e-Commerce transition also improved efficiencies for the retailer’s delivery capabilities, said Scott Perry, VP, Executive Director of Digital Marketing and Omnichannel Experience at Bob’s Discount Furniture.
“Orders flow right into our backend systems automatically,” Perry said in an interview with Retail TouchPoints. “Additionally, it empowers customers to schedule delivery at a time that’s convenient for them, and we thought that was extremely important as well. We now give the customer the option when they’re checking out: ‘Would you like to schedule your delivery or would you like a salesperson to call you?’ The majority of people just self-serve without having somebody call them back.”
Bob’s AR App, 3D Room Designer Enhance The Mobile Furniture Shopping Experience
The Bob’s AR app now delivers more than 1,000 AR experiences per day, with Bob’s furniture materializing in a customer’s home approximately every 90 seconds. The AR app is connected to MyBobs.com and is designed to enable customers to see how pieces of furniture would fit into their rooms. Shoppers can then place orders, all from the comfort of home.
“It’s not enough to just be an online retailer of furniture,” said Prakash Arjunan, Manager at Deloitte Digital in an interview with Retail TouchPoints. “You have to have a much higher-touch, more personalized experience. You have to be a lot more intuitive cutting across your touch points when you’re interacting with a customer. That’s a lot more in terms of what we were working with, with our design teams closely working with Scott and some of the other Bob’s team members.”
The retailer also added a 3D room designer to its digital arsenal, which allows users to design their ideal room. Users can add windows and doors and change wall coloring and floors before dragging and dropping the furniture into the simulated room. From there, users have the choice to either look at the room in a first-person view, or to look at it from an elevated “dollhouse” view. Shoppers sometimes spend as much as 20 minutes within the app using the plan, according to Perry.
“When you’re buying furniture, you’re usually in one of two places,” Perry said. “Either you’re in your space wanting to make it look better, and that’s where the AR app comes into play. You can see the furniture inside your environment. Does it match my carpet or my wall? Does it match my wallpaper? How does it look with the lighting in my house? You can really see what it looks like.
“On the other hand, and this is what necessitates a lot of furniture purchases, is someone moving,” Perry added. “You may not have the luxury of being in your space yet. You probably know the size and dimension of your rooms, and that’s where the 3D room planner comes in. Giving tools to the customer no matter where they are in the journey is important to us, and it’s fun.”