Qualifying the customer is untapped gold mine, says Phillips Collection VP

GREENSBORO, N.C. — When business is down in large part due to factors outside the industry’s control, furniture companies often look inward to uncover ways of improving. Where can costs be saved? How can every last ounce be squeezed out of a sale? How can greater efficiencies be achieved?

Phillips Collection, a luxury furniture and décor supplier, has its sights set on better understanding its potential customer.

“We continue to focus on customer segmentation and leveraging technology and the data we have at our fingertips,” company Vice President Jason Phillips told Furniture Today. “Custom tailored marketing outreach, and website and in person experiences that really speak to the styles, price points and buyer habits of our customers. There is so much opportunity in the data. It feels like an untapped gold mine.

“More than ever, the consumer wants — and has access to — information about the B2B brands their designers and retailers source from,” he continued. “We all have social media accounts and e-commerce partners. It is so important to qualify the consumer in 2024 and beyond, and to figure out how to maximize that journey of consumers discovering your brand, landing on a dealer/designer locator and closing that sale. I think companies that can master this will thrive.”

Like for much of the industry, business is down at Phillips.

“Rock bottom really depends on the segment of the market you serve,” Phillips said. “For luxury brands like Phillips, we felt a softening, but the floor didn’t fall out from under us. Those manufacturers who focus on a more promotional price point are likely suffering, and I hope things level out in 2024.

“Our industry is heavily impacted by the housing market and interest rates, which remain high. Until those rates come down, I expect 2024 to continue to be a challenge for those focusing on the mass market.”

Despite a challenging year in 2023, 2024 may be just as difficult if not more so.

“The world is getting smaller and smaller, so a rocky geopolitical climate will continue to play an immediate role in how companies conduct business,” Phillips continued. “If interest rates remain high, pricing and incentives will need to be adjusted. We keep a close eye on shipping and logistics, on technology and on design trends. These all factor into our planning, and even small changes or aberrations have a near immediate effect on the furniture industry.”

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