Early last year, family-owned outdoor furniture retailer, Osmen Furniture recognised the value of a hybrid shopping experience and knew that in order to create one, they needed to shift to digital.

Osmen Furniture brand director, Michelle Lam (pictured below) discussed how the retailer’s investment in digital has enabled the company to not only survive the challenges of Covid but thrive – opening three stores during the pandemic.

Osmen Furniture started working with Salesforce in June last year, starting with the service cloud implementation and then a new website being launched in September.

“We are part of a traditional industry and that’s why it took us so long to make the decision to invest online because it wasn’t something we were familiar with, but Covid made it a priority for us,” she told Retailbiz in a recent interview.

“My only regret is not making the decision to partner with Salesforce and make the investment into online earlier when the pandemic first hit in 2020.”

While managing online growth, Osmen Furniture has also invested in its physical footprint with the opening of three new stores, most recently in Sydney’s Mosman, taking its total store count to nine.

“Online and offline is not a clear guideline – it’s no longer here is online and here is offline. I believe online is helping the development of our offline channel with digital marketing and tracking website visitors. Traditionally, customers would visit a store three times before they make the final purchase to check the measurements, the look and feel, and it was often a family decision.

“Now we’re seeing more customers do their research online, so they only come into the store to make sure the information provided online is matching their expectation and then buy the product if they’re happy.”

Looking ahead, further developing the online channel will continue to be a priority for Osmen Furniture.

“We always wanted to expand interstate with more stores but due to logistics and other concerns, we’ve decided to do this through our online platform instead, which makes our online performance even more important,” Lam said.

“With the help of Salesforce, we are now able to track sales leads and we receive up to 300 sales enquiry calls a week. We would like to increase our headcount in our call centre to manage this.

“Our current website still lacks enough information for customers to purchase online so we need to do more in this space. We want to create the online environment, so it becomes like a virtual store for customers around the country who aren’t able to visit a physical store.

“We will also add in more Australia designer lines which will be launched on the website later this year. Also in our plans is the creation of an internal website for staff training to help upskill them and enhance the customer experience in store.”