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Temple & Webster’s journey to landmark profitability

After months of unprecedented growth furniture and homewares retailer Temple & Webster has reported its strongest year of trading since it launched seven years ago – attributed to its focus on lifestyle marketing and customer service.

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The retailer’s gross revenue was up almost 40 per cent year-on-year in the first quarter of the 2018-19 financial year, following CEO Mark Coulter spearheading a cost-cutting strategy over the past few years to bring stability to the business and increase profit margins.

The news comes after the retailer in July announced its first profitable half-year since its launch in 2011, following strong sales in August.

Coulter told Retailbiz that the success of the company can be attributed to its focus on increasing their product range, strong customer service, a solid delivery experience and well-rounded marketing.

“There’s no silver bullet in retail or e-commerce. We have a conversion rate going up, factor of better products, ranging, sharper promos and pricing, better service and delivery experience, marketing getting more efficient and our customer base is going up – it’s a whole lot of things,” he said.

Mark Coulter

Being both a market leader in housing retailing and hosting a large range of products, as well as focusing on lifestyle-driven content has also helped catapult the retailer into success, Coulter says.

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“We have the biggest range in categories by a long shot, people know they can find everything for their home but combined with beautiful content and lifestyle content so people can visualise what items look like in their home.”

And a focus on digital channels like Facebook and Instagram is crucial to drive online success, Coulter says, but presence across a broad range of channels is equally as important.

“Digital channels are our key performers. But we’re also starting to explore other channels for instance we’ve got a print catalogue.”

But the softening of the housing market has also meant that consumers are more eager to spend, and that online channels have an upper-hand, Coulter says.

“From a macro perspective the housing market is softer so that helps. Usually at these times people look for better value and online is a better value channel than offline so people are also getting a free kick from that,” he said.

“Market leaders are in a fortunate position because as we grow we have more resources to deploy in building new features and investing in things like delivery and more money in marketing and product ranges.”

Coulter has also signalled further growth in the near future, with plans to develop an app, as well as to scale up a delivery truck pilot.

“We’re really excited about where we are at the moment as a market leader but also for the future, we’re in a position where we can launch new things, we’re also working on a mobile application, we’ve rolled out our first delivery truck in Melbourne and we’re expanding that pilot, we’re also starting to ship internationally to New Zealand, we’ve got lots of growth ahead of us.”