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Ashley Furniture Homestore: Marketing and Website Analysis

3231 words (13 pages) Business Assignment

30th Nov 2020 Business Assignment Reference this

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Global Presence: Ashley Home Store

Ashley, a renowned name in the furniture and retail industry is one of the largest furniture company in the North America,  operates and owned many chain stores. Ashley Furniture Home store, having wider exposure in global market, has established customer relations with distributors and retailers in more than 123 countries. Furniture and accessories are sold through distributors, retailers and 700 independent Ashley owned or licensed partner stores. Based on the marketing situations in The United States and Canada, the marketing activities include pricing strategies, promotions, product portfolio and its distribution network.

Years ago, by opening a standalone store in Shanghai, China – known as the gateway to the sector – Ashley showed its dedication to international expansion. Having good global understanding  of global market product requirements, Ashley is adapting to their customer’s lifestyles and needs, with multi- lingual computer capabilities they developed POS and supply chain systems for all their global markets over the years in furniture business to give 24/7 access to the customers.

Differing strategies around the world and required adaptations to meet market demand:

All their International operations have same processes and systems as the ones in the US, to give customers the same rich experience. Ashley studies each market carefully, before entering the prospective market. For instance, they conducted interview from a group of 15,000 individuals before opening store in China. It helps them to understand that people might like American style, but not all the products can attract customers to the store with standard products as that might not fit their houses, they may not be using furniture for the same purposes, their lifestyle and affordability impact their buying habits a lot. The  following are the factors that lead to make adaptations to product design and product line to be successful in a different market:


 

Being confident in their supply chain and manufacturing capabilities, if they believe that many countries have a huge potential market, they do not fear entering market simultaneously, instead of going one by one, as they have acquired extensive experience in operating globally, that they think they can hear the pulse of the market. With number of legal agreements in place, if they can find a trusted partner, they go with licensing agreements than going on their own to the market. Also, the size of the store depends upon the country’s purchasing power and customer behaviors and trends, as per their thoughts, an ideal home store is 35,000 Sq. Ft. They prefer opening stores in high traffic area, where the store is visible and easily accessible.

Trends in Business

  1. Superiority: The technique has been to position Ashley Home store as a favoured brand offering complimentary structure administration together with results of predominant style, quality and incentive to give customers a complete, one‐stop shopping answer for customer’s home outfitting and inside plan needs. In completing the system, Ashley keep on growing the compass to a more extensive buyer base through a differing choice of appealingly evaluated items, intended to supplement.
  2. Fashion: Reflecting current style inclines in home enlivening. They constantly screen changes in home style inclines through participation at global industry occasions and design appears, inward statistical surveying, and standard correspondence with their retailers and configuration focus structure specialists who give important contribution on purchaser patterns.
  3. Changing Consumer Preferences: In the fast-growing era, the customer preferences are also changing very quickly. They believe that the observations and input gathered enable them to incorporate appropriate style details into their products to react and meet quickly changing consumer tastes.
  4. Home Decoration: They use best‐in‐class development strategies, including mortise and join joinery and four‐corner stuck dovetail joinery on drawers. They join innovation with individual help and keep up an up‐to‐date wide scope of styles and custom alternatives with regards to the present home embellishing patterns. These components keep on characterizing Ashley Furnitures, situating them as a style chief in the home outfitting industry.
  5. Everyday Pricing: The change to everyday pricing will helps Ashley to provide better customer service and to improve productivity.
  6. Repositioning the Stores: Ashley keeps on reinforcing their retail organize by repositioning stores to bigger configurations in progressively helpful shopping areas. They accept the organization is very much situated for development. Ashley Home store is a main producer and retailer of value home decorations. The Company sells a full scope of furniture items and embellishing adornments in the United States and abroad.

Four P’s of Marketing:

Product:

Ashley has a well-developed product line, that includes furniture for every part of a house and office, being dining room, living room, bedroom etc. Company’s North American division is mainly responsible for all the functions from the early stage of product design development to manufacturing. Based on affordability Ashley offers a wide variety of products from very economical to top  premium products for high- end luxury customers and to cater the different customer tastes and uses.


Ashley has three main product divisions:

Also, Ashley’s manufacturing facilities are well equipped with the state of art equipment, that ensures lower waste generation with maximum productivity. Its well-established supply chain helps to cut transportation costs. Working with trusted retailers and distributors adds up to the bottom line of Ashley. The raw materials used in manufacturing are as below:

Price:

Ashley uses a very innovative strategy to set the prices for its vast range of products. To target the budget conscious group of consumers, Ashley has developed sales for group products of same category or design, which not only helps in selling more products, but also with same design process and one-time shipping cost, Ashley is able to cut costs and gain large market share. As we already said, over many years in business, Ashley has been able implement cost- saving production designs and distribution network, not just ensuring best furniture at best prices, but access to larger markets as well.

Place:

Ashley operates through brick and mortar stores and online retail shopping destination as well, to provide the customers with their orders, as most of the furniture is custom built, its supply chain network place a huge role. Using a strong retail distribution network is one of the best methods, for Ashley Furniture to market its products across North America. To keep up with availability, affordability, and on time delivery of its products, the organization continues a network of over 300 retail shops (referred to as ‘Home Stores’) in strategic locations across the United States and Canada (Data Monitor, 2007). It is also involved in B to B business and sell its products to independent furniture stores in these  countries; it additionally can fulfill orders from warehouses with built in stock, serviced via a huge fleet of shipping trucks. Ultimately, Ashley Furniture can attain a huge percentage of clients inside the USA and Canada due to the effectiveness of its good-sized retail and distribution arrangements. The organization’s distribution ensures the geographical proximity between Canada and America so that there may be full-size synergy within the production and distribution of its fixtures merchandise in both markets.

Promotions:

Multichannel advertising and marketing have helped Ashley to increase its revenue. The marketing campaigns describe Ashley as a strong brand, listing range of products and making customers aware of custom options. But to attract target consumers on local, domestic and international level, these messages must be conveyed in different ways, so these are building a connection with the people. The regional websites may cater to the taste of local people’s shopping taste and behavior but are consistent with the Organization’s core website and brand image.

Advertising Compaigns

  • Get great leads with targeted email marketing- Email marketing is one of the most effective sources of good leads, the easiest and most effective digital marketing tactic for great roi and one of the best ways to get new customers.
  • Join networking groups for business promotion-we will be connecting with others who will help promote our brand and bring referrals by joining local networking groups.
  • Make our marketing entertaining-while we want prospects to attain information about our business, product or service after watching the ad, we also want our marketing campaign to be memorable, informative and worth sharing. Advertisement on local tv channels would be our main focus.
  • Create a Social Media Campaign- Because so many people shop online, having an Internet presence that lets consumers easily find we can be the key to maximizing our profit potential. Working with a search engine optimization or social media consultant, create an online advertising effort that includes increasing our rankings on search engines by choosing the right keywords and phrases, such as furniture, bedroom, dressers, sofa, couch, dining room table, cabinets. Create a Facebook page and add pictures that shows different ways to arrange rooms and accessorize them. Tweet new ideas for dressing up a living, dining, bed or family room by adding affordable pieces, rather than completely refurnishing.
  • Offer Workshops-Advertise free expert advice for furniture shoppers, getting them into our store for hour-long furniture buying, decorating and care workshops. Create before and after photos to place in our ads, highlighting what attendees will learn. Provide tips for maximizing space in small rooms or apartments, using accessories to make a room look more upscale, adding color to drab spaces, and tips for extending the life of furniture purchases.
  • Develop Cross-Promotions-It’s a good idea to get other businesses to showcase our furniture. For example, a clothing store might place mannequins in its storefront windows sitting on or standing next to our furniture. This lets the clothing store create more attractive sales displays and we get free signage near our furniture. Work with real estate agents who stage homes if new homeowners are one of our target audiences. Apartment rental and construction companies also stage their models. Trade links on our website with home-improvement businesses, such as re-modelers, painters, and kitchen and bath designers. If we have a retail location, offer to put kitchen, bath, clothing items and electronics from other businesses in our store, we will be pairing them with the appropriate furniture settings.
  • Highlight Shipping Deals and Guarantees-Moving large pieces of furniture is a concern for furniture buyers who might opt to buy a less-attractive piece from one of our competitors because they offer better shipping. Give buyers a chance to exchange furniture items or get a store credit to decrease purchase anxiety. Advertise free or discounted shipping and the best return policy we can afford and promote these in our store, on our website and through our direct mail, catalogs, print brochures and broadcast ads. Include worst-case shipping scenarios in our advertising materials and show how we help customers avoid them.

Website analysis:

Ashley Home store’s website tools ensure that consumers enjoy online shopping via Ashley’s website as much as they enjoy in-store browsing. To ensure that Ashley’s website be accessible to people with disabilities. Ashley Home store came into the partnership relationship with Essential Accessibility. This company provides offer assistive technology and web accessibility services. Ashley realized this when company’s user experience department recommend for building e-commerce platform to be more compliant accessibly to those with disabilities.

The feature of room planner tool in website helps to figure out that which furniture design will fit customer’s home with enough space to move around.

Digital marketing:

Nowadays, consumers are aware about different way of shopping. They changed the way of shopping as now they are more active on internet. According to the Ashley annual report 2018, the mobile shopping is continuous growing and exceeding desktop traffic.

In this year, company also put more efforts in digital advertising to meet customer’s needs, reach and attract wider range of customer.

Customers just need to sign up for digital catalog to know about the brand-new offerings, decorating tips and can also follow the blog for knowing the latest trends.

Live chat:

Live chat is a wonderful idea powered by Touch Commerce. It provides additional assistance to online shoppers, which helps to personalize purchases same as shoppers would find in stores. It also helps in offering products to a demographic not only target groups.

This feature enhances the confidence of customers to buy online as they can talk to designers via Live chat.                

Gift cards:

Ashley provide gift cards to customers, which can be redeemed through website for any products or services.

Code of ethics:

Ashley adopted a code of ethics, which can be accessed via company’s website. Ashley always update changes in code of ethics applies to principal executive officer, financial officer, accounting officers etc.

Product portfolio: -

Ashley offers variety of furniture, as shown in website.

Furnitures: - Sofa / couches, Loveseat, Chairs, Ottomans, Coffee and end table and sofa beds.

Small spaces: - Living room and dining room.

Mattress and bedding: - Bases, Mattress protector, pillows and Bed-in-a-box.

Outdoor: - Heater, Fire pits, umbrella and Rugs.

These all features help to meet customers’ needs and increases the customer retention rate as much they satisfied.

Website design according to country

Ashley has their stores in many countries and for convenience of customers, it designs website accordingly.

Here are some examples: -

In US: - ashleyfurniture.com

In US, website is more customer friendly as consumers can check the products with prices, new offerings, sale announcements and can buy it via website. In US, it indicates furniture offerings divided into departments and today’s deals. Customers can also take help by doing tap on help icon on right side of screen. Help feature provides help regarding delivery tracking, order history, store locations and hours, FAQ, contact information, scheduled in appointments and Live Chat with designers.

Ashley Canada: - ashleyhomestore.ca

In Canada, website indicates information regarding location, which customer can change to nearest location, signup and most importantly new offerings as it is showing now black Friday flyer. It indicates offers, divided by types of products Ashley offers in Canada.

There is also an option of feedback for customers and they also add new feature Live Chat in the website.

In Australia (New South Wales): - www.nsw.gov.au

In Australia, website just provides with information that what new things are happening for improvements, news and events, company’s services on demographic base, contact information etc. customers only can take or search the information, but there is no option to buy furniture through website. There is also a feedback option, showing compliment, complain and suggestion emoji. It looks creative.

In New Zealand: - ashleyfurniturestore.co.nz

In NZ, it shows their collections, company’s information, store locations and provides information regarding offerings or products with prices. Customers can check the products price and then they must visit store for buying that as website doesn’t support online shopping feature. Website provides information regarding sale, categories of furniture and locations of stores with opening and closing timing.

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