How is the furniture market going?
In my opinion, the current situation in the furniture market is possible to call stagnation. However, here we have to divide economу, average, and luxury segments of the market. The first two ones are the most affected because of the falling demand: today their target audience has more important tasks and other priorities. Premium-segment is more stable and less subjected to a negative influence: our clients have enough financial sources even in the time of crisis. Of course, we’ve faced with the lack of a big amount of new clients whom we could have got for the last two months being in a normal regime. This leads to the situation when the next 2-3 months we will have our sales results and potential clients reduced.
We’d love to hope on a fast market’s restoring after the easing of lockdown measures. However, only boom of the demand might compensate for the lack of orders and customers of the late months. To be realistic, we expect the restoration to be very slow and gradual. Let’s imagine our business as a chain, composed of many constantly consistent elements, which is broken off now. And this gap will have been feeling for the next two-four months: lack of orders, clients and therefore financial sources.
How do you choose the brands? What is the Russian audience looking for?
We always carefully and attentively follow the trends, tendencies, and novelties. We also pay attention to the reliability of our partners, with many of them we’ve been working together for years. While choosing brands we are guided by the following principles. First, we must like the furniture. It’s important because if you don’t really like the luxury product, you will never sell it. Second, we must keep into account the price determination. There are some unique brands with really exclusive products, collections, and conditions. Visionnaire, Roberto Cavalli Home Interiors, Gianfranco Ferré Home, Versace Home, Jumbo Collection, there are the brands, the Names, and quality labels people are ready to pay for. Giorgio Collection, for instance, is the only Italian factory with the stock where all the products from the catalogs are available for shipping. It’s a unique chance to complete any premium project as soon as possible.
Moreover, we esteem the brands’ philosophy, its understanding of the space entirety, concepts of the products, and collections. It must be possible to complete the total-look project by a brand. One more criteria is a history. We definitely understand that the decades are needed to master the techniques of high-quality furniture production. A brand must produce the major part of the pieces in its own factory. Russian client likes nonstandard pieces (different sizes or shapes needed), therefore the factories which we work with must be maximally flexible. That’s why all of them are “artigianali”. To keep the spirit of craftsmanship is highly significant. While choosing the brands we don’t think whether this furniture will be demanded in Russia right at the moment. It’s more important whether the factory is ready to financially and conceptually invest in its promotion and development on the Russian market. We have a complicated and brand-new for the Russian market product which aim is to connect the clients with the factories. So, the brands must be flexible and ready to overcome the complications and solve the issues together with us, actively participate in the events, exhibitions e.t.c. We choose and present only the best and the most actual to our clients to let everyone find the essentials to complete their premium-projects at a single location. In a such big city like Moscow, the time is very precious.
How has the sales experience changed?
In any crisis it’s important to evaluate the risks and adapt to the new conditions. We’ve immediately shifted to online-format: we make the individual online shopping tours for our clients, increase the budget for the company’s promotion in the internet and social nets, our internet store actively functions. Worth noticing that the volume of requests is practically not changed, however, our clients give priority to the positions in stock in Russia. The sales results obviously dropped. And it’s not because of clients’ unwillingness or economic impossibility to buy the pieces of luxury furniture. Some of our clients took a break. There are two causes of this: some clients try to predict the upcoming economic consequences and wait; some just don’t the physical ability to meet their designers, come to the design-center and choose the final finishes.
How are you maintaining the relationship with your customers?
Casa Ricca EXPO is a large exhibition design-center with a total area of 6000 sq. m, where normally we held many events including presentations of the new collections. That’s why the current situation is quite uneasy for us. However, we could fastly adapt to the new realities. Now we hold remoted presentations by showing the collections to our clients online. Also, we do online workshops about table appointments, textiles, and outdoor furniture. These events provide a nice traffic and give the conversion. We’re maintaining relations with the clients by regular digests where we inform them about the factories we’re working with, about the products in stock. Moreover, clients are quite actively communicating with us by phone and messengers.