Tell me a story

“We share with our clients stories in which they can immerse themselves, stories that tell why our collections are so special” says Leighton Clarke, Group Operations Manager of Space showroom in Sydney

Leighton Clarke, Group Operations Manager, Space Sydney
Leighton Clarke, Group Operations Manager, Space Sydney

How is the furniture market going in Sydney, and in general in Australia?

It’s difficult to speak of the market in general, as it is changing regularly. Some businesses have been impacted more significantly than others, and sadly some businesses in our sector have since closed. In comparison to global shutdowns, we are fortunate to have been able to remain open, while respecting social distancing requirements.
While of course the day to day of our business has changed, the immediate impact on the home office category was noticeable, as was the switch to e-commerce and perhaps as people stay home, are no longer travelling, holidays are cancelled, they are now re-focussing their attention inwards, on their homes. It will be interesting to monitor the consumer sentiment as we come through this pandemic, this might be a positive sign for the furniture industry over the coming months.

Space Sydney
Space Sydney

How has sales experience changed?

There’s no question this experience has forced many retailers to adopt new methods of communicating with their client. The market is unpredictable, and we anticipate it will be for some months to come.
We have a great team who were not afraid to get in front of a camera, so the transition to video tours of the showroom was a quick one, and virtual meetings quickly became the new normal.. For Space, we were fortunate to have just re-launched our new website weeks before the situation escalated. The new website has been designed specifically to offer our clients a content rich experience and for the first time an online store where they can easily shop an edit of our best sellers, design icons and gifts.
In our online magazine, more space is integrated throughout the site so clients can learn and immerse themselves in the stories and interviews that we share, that tell the story of our collections and why they are so special. This has also been an important change in the clients sales experience, not only driving online sales, but being able to engage clients in a more inspiring way virtually has definitely helped us navigate the current challenging environment.

Space Sydney
Space Sydney

How are you maintaining the relationship with your customers?

By staying in touch, keeping our clients updated with changes, both to their orders and to the changing market and continuing to assist with all enquires and helping where we can, and continuing to offer great customer service. But, this should exist in any market.
We also launched a new social campaign #hometogether, which is a user-generated series which aims to keep our community connected, and provide support to our commercial clients who are also feeling the impact on their business. The response has been amazing, with clients happy to share their home and what is keeping them inspired at the moment, and they have all be appreciative of the support and visibility this campaign has given their businesses during this time to our audiences.

Space Sydney
Space Sydney

Australia closed its borders during the lockdown. Has this affected your relationships with international companies or customers?

We stayed in regular contact with our business partners, many of whom we have worked with for more than 20 years, offering support from afar as they made their way through this. From a practical sense however the lockdown didn’t affect how we communicate with our partners, we are used to working together from afar. Remaining proactive with video conferencing and just ensuring we remain contactable has been appreciated. It’s a real credit to our teams and our global business partners.