City Furniture To Use Beacons, Data To Personalize In-Store Experiences

With a long history in finance, City Furniture CIO and CFO Steve Wilder is the brainchild behind the retailer's latest move to modernize marketing and advertising techniques through technology, data and in-store beacons.

The plan is to roll out the beacons to City Furniture showrooms.

While there's no timeline to implement the beacon technology, Wilder said the plan is to pull in data from consumers who have opted-in and create a more personalized experience and then possibly analyze it through IBM Watson.

"I liken it to time spent on a Web page," he said. "So if you have someone standing in front of a piece of furniture, I think you'll be able to measure that length of time with each unique individual."

He said consumers who walk through the front door will receive a better experience because, through data, City Furniture will have a better understanding of its customers to align push notification offers with the needs and preferences of consumers.



The company recently partnered with the advertising agency Zimmerman, which is guiding the retailer toward digital, including search marketing and advertising.

"Think about the pain points beacons will improve, and what you will do with the data collected once the consumer leaves the store," said Alex Porter, president at Location 3. Porter has been spending time working with beacons. "Loyal customers will drive beacon engagement once in-store if they have interactions beforehand that improve their experience, including interactions with the brand, being served relevant ads or receiving discounts ahead of their visit."

City Furniture recently worked with Apple and IBM to create three new iOS apps for the iPad. Sales Assist, Payment, and Finance recently began rolling out to 400 store associates across all of its showrooms.

The store sees quick payback from the apps, mainly through increased ticket size, but Wilder believes the store has a way to go to advance its use of technology. He wants to input the data instantaneously; tie it to historic purchases, store visits and Web site visits; and then analyze all the data in real time.  

Wilder attributes the company's tech success to Carolyn Damon, VP and executive partner at Gartner. 

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