According to a recent book titled Happy Money: The Science of Smarter Spending author Michael Norton of Harvard Business School examines the science of people spending money on experiences rather than “things”. He notes, and many people believe that purchasing “things” doesn’t really satisfy, and the good feelings of a new purchase are fleeting. Longer term happiness comes from investing in experiences. So how does this impact the Home Furnishings Business and our sales model?
- We first must recognize that if our sales model is a product only approach, we are competing with various experiences (a trip, a boat, a gym membership). Consumers today are weighing carefully whether or not furniture will provide the experience they are looking for. This trend will increase.
- We have two experiences to share with our guests. The first experience is the process of purchasing furniture, which most consumers find to be frustrating and confusing. The second experience is the home environment that we help build with our guest. That environment is the place that memories are made for years to come. In most cases, we are not using the experience lens to develop our training and build our sales. So how do we do this?
First, we must change our thinking and view every interaction from a guest experience point of view. Never has it been more critical to have clean, uncluttered and bright store locations. As Sales Associates, we must dress and groom in an impeccable manner. The smell of smoke, too much perfume or dated dress is simply not enough to create the experience that will move the needle. Tagging and signage must be simple and understandable for a guest to read, rather than formatted to the needs of the Company or Marketing department. The guest needs to be able to shop, and understand without a Sales Professional if she desires. The Sales Professional is there to insure that every step of her experience in the store is delightful, no matter what. Today she can get product knowledge galore, and very likely has her phone looking at your (and your competitors) websites while she is shopping. If product information is pertinent, then we must have that quickly and accurately. Our job is to insure that the store experience is delightful and informative in every way. We must possess the ability to understand our guest personally, and her life and home in order to properly assist her in her decision making.
We are not selling furniture, we are selling the fun experience of personalizing the most important space in someone’s life.