Retail Observer

August 2019

The Retail Observer is an industry leading magazine for INDEPENDENT RETAILERS in Major Appliances, Consumer Electronics and Home Furnishings

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AUGUST 2019 RETAILOBSERVER.COM 53 investments" in all areas of the business toward a goal of improving the customer experience. Perhaps the biggest focus has been on developing City Furniture's mobile sales platform. "We partnered with Apple and IBM to create ASAP, which stands for 'Accelerating Sales Associate Performance,'" he said. The iOS app enhances the customer experience by allowing the sales team to perform just about any task from their iPads, including finding products, creating invoices, and providing shoppers with a vast amount of detail faster than ever. "It means there's no disengagement from the customer," Koenig said. "We do everything for them in real time. We build the cart in the store, just as if they were shopping online, and the result has been a higher closing rate, higher customer transactions, higher average comp-store sales, and higher customer satisfaction. It has been the ultimate win-win." As a member of AVB/BrandSource affiliate the Home Furnishings Association (HFA), City Furniture has also invested in Axonify, a powerful microlearning platform that provides innovative training to sales associates across its 19 locations. Among its many features, Axonify "trains our team on new products, gives them quizzes, and gives our managers a snapshot to show how each sales associate is doing," Koenig said. To stay in the passing lane of retail's fast track, City Furniture styles much of its training after Toyota. "Like Toyota, we have trainers who train our employees on new programs and processes. We have to. The technology is changing, and how we prepare to meet and greet our guests is changing, but the need to give your customer an amazing shopping experience has not changed." "The bottom line," Koenig said, "is that retailers who want to grow do not have a choice. They have to change, they have to improve, and they have to invest in their sales leaders not only to stay in the game, but to win the game." RO E. Michael Allen is VP Home Furnishings of the AVB/BrandSource buying organization. He can be reached at

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