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Florida-based furniture chain equips associates with mobile CRM tools

City Furniture
City Furniture is improving store-level communications.

City Furniture is utilizing an iPad-based mobile communications solution to improve in-store customer service.

Finding that traditional communication methods left in-store customers waiting while sales associates searched for answers or additional resources, the regional furniture retailer decided it needed to find a better way to communicate with its over 2,400 sales associates spread over 500,000-sq.-ft. of showroom space.

To address this issue, City Furniture piloted a new mobile communications solution at select locations using a combination of iPads, the Zello instant voice messaging app, and wireless push-to-talk buttons from Pryme. Each store associate utilizing the solution wears a Bluetooth earpiece and carries an iPad bag with the Pryme wireless button attached via Velcro to the handle or a belt loop, leaving their hands free to perform multiple tasks at once.

By clicking the push-to-talk button, sales associates can quickly activate Zello and respond to messages or gain access to the iPad’s suite of technology. After a successful pilot of the mobile communications solution, City Furniture deployed iPads with the Zello app and Pryme push-to-talk wireless buttons to every City Furniture location.

According to City Furniture, the new mobile communications solution also helps it to incentivize performance and train new associates. For instance, the retailer uses Zello to celebrate sales contest winners live with the whole company. Or, if new hires need help, they can message a manager via Zello without breaking the sales cycle. City Furniture says Zello and Pryme are also important for critical communications and can shave vital seconds off response time during an emergency.

City Furniture credits higher employee engagement and lower turnover to this integration, and plans to optimize its partnership with Zello and Pryme in the future.

The retailer is enhancing communications between management and store associates as it undergoes a wider enterprise digital transformation. City Furniture has deployed a data virtualization platform from Denodo, which enables the company to virtualize all of its data sources and create a semantic layer to connect and deliver critical data to its marketing, sales, operations, supply chain, and merchandising functions, with an eye toward growing the business beyond the state of Florida.

"At any given time, the store may have 40 to 60 sales associates on the floor,” said Rich Quarantello, City Furniture managing director of retail operations. “The addition of these advanced technologies allows us to communicate seamlessly in real-time throughout the store or between showrooms, with a single staff member or the whole team at once. They provide chain-wide awareness instead of being siloed. Better communication creates an environment of trust and enhances customer satisfaction. Because furniture is the third largest purchase in a lifetime, trust is key to building customer loyalty.”

City Furniture operates 20 showrooms from Miami through Vero Beach, and in southwest and central Florida, as well as 13 Ashley HomeStore showrooms as the brand’s Southeast and Southwest Florida licensee.

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