Loaf, in a purely traditional definition, is a retailer of sofas, beds and furniture. However in the context of the traditional way of doing business it is a disruptor of the highest order bringing new ideas, imagination and inspiration to the table of home retailing.
To begin, Loaf is not just a clever name with its implication of relaxation in the modern media world, or its application to product names and its staff of “Loafers,” but is a summary of a state of mind and attitude to its proposition and its customer profile.
When it comes to interaction it is friendly, open, generous and accommodating from its store environment and its store ambassadors through to the curves and comfort of its product to a culture and mind-set that rewards its staff on friendliness and customer satisfaction in addition to sales performance KPIs.
Loaf manages every touchpoint from a brand marketing perspective, ensuring everything is consistent. Its product expertise and passion is matched from the manufacturing process through to the store sales techniques, however priority number one for store managers and staff is to be engaging, fun and friendly as well as informed.
Its personnel are chosen on this criteria, in a process where years of traditional furniture sales experience may well be a handicap not a virtue working on the premise that people can be trained in knowledge but never in being genuinely nice people. The touchpoint with staff is exemplified in a business where staff help select their distinctive blue and white uniform tops, in how they can then wear their preferred denim jeans and how the business buys everyone their own Converse trainers.
You can’t buy loyalty but you can buy the uniform!
Equally you cannot buy customers however by being a “generous” retailer, giving to the customer you can generate goodwill and patronage. On entering a store customers are not hassled or even approached by staff unless to offer water, and allowed to “loaf” at their leisure around the store which resembles a chilled out coffee shop as much as a showroom.
There are retro video games for husbands and interactive tables for kids, free samples and free advice with no pressure to purchase. Happy customers most often buy, and Loaf prides itself on happy customers.
Disruption need not always be aggressive and challenging in retailing, and in a category where customer service and generosity of spirit have often been lost in the process of sales, being nice to your staff and your customers can go a very long way indeed.
Are you an established retailer that has lost its passion for life?
Are you a new business looking to convert a passion into a product and a retail space?
VM-unleashed helps a variety of retailers and brands across a range of categories to maximise their retail potential both through improving operations and communicating emotional propositions; balancing pragmatism with passion for profit.
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