Popular Florida Retailer Ups its Customer Experience with Technology
City Furniture is a premier furniture company based in South Florida, with 16 locations and over 1300 employees. From its humble beginnings in 1971 as a small waterbed store, the company has grown into one of Florida’s largest and best-known furniture retailers, with both online and brick-and-mortar stores.
The company is known for being environmentally conscious and innovative. In 2011, City Furniture launched its first LEED certified “green superstore” in Boca Raton using sustainable materials and low-waste construction methods.
City Furniture’s success and endurance is attributable to its close-knit management team, well-designed marketing strategies, and stylish, yet affordable, furniture. Technology plays a role, too. The company continually strives to improve operations and reduce costs by using the latest technologies, both on the sales floor and off. This helps the company hold down costs, which translates to savings for customers. But, importantly, technology also contributes to an in-store experience that customers can’t get anywhere else.
Bringing Apps to Sales Associates
City Furniture has built a sales associate tool on top of iPads that, in the company’s words, “allows Sales Associates to fully transact from anywhere in the showroom, [making possible] a quicker and more accurate sales experience for both the Customer and the Associate.” Among the apps on the iPads are systems for inventory, customer management, and sales associate time management.
The move to iPads and apps also created an opportunity to upgrade the way sales associates communicate.
Traditionally, City Furniture sales associates used two-way radios and wired earpieces to communicate with each other on the floor. The challenges this technology created will be familiar to anyone who has ever used radios. They were bulky. The wired earpieces often got in the way while assisting customers. The associates ended up having to carry a second device for outside phone calls. And the radios were expensive to acquire and maintain.
With the advent of the company’s app strategy, all of this changed. Putting iPads in the hands of sales associates paved the way for apps to replace the associates’ walkie talkies and cell phones. And the iPad’s support for Bluetooth meant that wired earpieces were a thing of the past.
It didn’t take the company’s IT department long to find and evaluate the ZelloWork push-to-talk solution for work teams. The team was quickly satisfied that ZelloWork had the features they needed:
- It had an admin console for configuring and managing ZelloWork and its users
- The audio was real-time, high-quality, and reliable
- The system was easy to configure and roll out
- It supported unlimited channels and users
- Its User Role feature let IT define who users could and couldn’t talk to
- It offered end-to-end encryption
- And unlike radios, ZelloWork supported user presence indicators, message history and replay, alerts, and texting and images.
ZelloWork was also cost effective, with no contracts or cancellation fees. Users could be added to, or removed from, the network at any time by using the admin console and a credit card.
How Zello Helped
ZelloWork succeeded in small pilot, followed by a single showroom, followed in turn by 26 showrooms. At one point more than 500 sales and management staff were transitioned from radios to ZelloWork within a few weeks.
City Furniture assigns a ZelloWork channel to each showroom location, for in-store communications. The company set up separate regional manager channels for cross-store communications.
ZelloWork runs on both Wi-Fi and cellular data services. City Furniture uses only Wi-Fi, which eliminates the need for cellular data plans. For outbound phone calls each iPad also has IP Softphone installed. No one carries multiple communication devices anymore.
To eliminate cumbersome earpiece wires, they chose to use Pryme BT-PTT-Z Mini wireless buttons with Bluetooth headsets.
City Furniture empowered its sales associates with a device that both enables a remarkable customer experience and drives associate efficiency and effectiveness. The company has received a lot of well-earned attention and praise for its innovation and creativity. Zello is proud to play a role in this breakthrough endeavor.