Interior Views LLC
Strategy and Implementation Summary
The primary sales and marketing strategy includes these factors:
- A premier retail store experience that provides impressive product display and over-the-top customer service.
- The sale of other complementary products through consignment and/or sub-lease arrangements that adds to the selling atmosphere and creates reasons to visit the store on a frequent basis.
- The retail store provides a stable financial foundation and a source of inventory for the eBay store.
- A website that complements the store’s fabric sales and provides access to customers that will never set foot in the physical retail store itself.
- A renovation of the existing website that provides content and a catalog of available fabrics and decorating accessories with direct links between the displayed items and the same item on our eBay store.
- Good Web and hardcopy marketing to drive customers to the store, either directly from search engines or from links on our home website.
- Excellent inventory management and prompt fulfillment of orders. Additional computer hardware and software will be purchased for this purpose. If volume warrants, additional staff will be hired.
5.1 SWOT Analysis
The following SWOT analysis captures the key strengths and weaknesses within the company, and describes the opportunities and threats facing Interior Views.
- Strong relationships with suppliers that offer credit arrangements, flexibility, and response to special product requirements.
- Excellent and stable staff, offering personalized customer service.
- Great retail space that offers flexibility with a positive and attractive, inviting atmosphere.
- Strong merchandising and product presentation.
- Good referral relationships with complementary vendors, local realtors, and some designers.
- In-store complementary products through “The Window Seat” and “Antique Bureau” add interest, stability and revenue.
- High customer loyalty among repeat and high-dollar purchase customers.
- The existence of Interior Views’ main store will provide a solid foundation for the establishment of the eBay store retail channel.
- Access to additional operating capital.
- Cash flow continues to be unpredictable, and a periodic problem.
- Owners are still climbing the “retail experience curve.”
- Location is not in a heavily traveled, traditional retail area.
- Challenges of the seasonality of the business.
- The operation and maintenance of an online presence and eBay store may cause a negative cash flow.
- Growing market with a significant percentage of our target market still not knowing we exist.
- Strategic alliances offering sources for referrals and joint marketing activities to extend our reach.
- Promising activity from high levels of new home construction.
- Changes in design trends can initiate home updating, and therefore, generate sales.
- Increasing sales opportunities beyond our “100-mile” target area including several smaller communities that have produced a faithful following of customers.
- Internet potential for selling products to other markets.
- The downturn in the ecomony has impacted store sales–stock market predictors correlate with store sales. It has not been good in recent years.
- Expansion of national discount stores into the local market: including Target, Wal-Mart and Home Depot into our decorator fabric space.
- Competition from a national store; or a store with greater financing or product resources could enter the market.
- Catalog resources, including Calico Corners and Pottery Barn, with aggressively priced trend-setting fabric products including drapery, bedding, and slipcovers.
- Continued price pressure due to competition or the weakening market reducing contribution margins.
- Dramatic changes in design, including fabric colors and styles, creates obsolete or less profitable inventory.
- Expansion of major fabric retailers into the online environment with massive Web marketing and search engine techniques may capture Internet customers before they ever enter the eBay marketplace.
5.2 Strategy Pyramid
The following three strategies summarize our implementation process for the upcoming year. Then address in-store retail revenue, expansion to non-fabric revenue sources, and Web-based sales activities.
STRATEGY #1 – Generate revenue through the sale of solid margin decorator fabric in the retail store.
Tactic #1A – Provide in-stock fabric through the on-floor stock of 750 fabrics that the customer can touch, feel, and buy on the spot.
Program #1A-1 – Floor displays that enable customers to better imagine the fabric in their home.
Tactic #1B – Offer special order fabric that will provide something unique for each customer.
Program #1B-1 – Classes to provide the skills for people to fabricate their own products, including duvettes, pillows, slipcovers, draperies and other “fabric demanding” projects.
Program #1B-2 – Offer sales and other promotional events that will encourage customers to buy on a spontaneous basis and/or motivate them to begin that overdue project.
STRATEGY #2 – Generate sales revenues through related non-fabric sales.
Tactic #2A – Promotion of “Oval Office Iron” product line
Program #2A-1 – Newsletter sales, class, and demonstration promotions
Program #2A-2 – Cross selling activates with drapery fabric purchases
Tactic #2B – Promotion of “The Window Seat” products that complement fabric sales
Program #2B-1 – Displays that complement in-stock fabric to promote the higher dollar sales transactions of both.
Program #2B-2 – Newsletter sales, class, and demonstration promotions.
Tactic #2C – Promotion of consignment-based sales
Program #2C-1 – Leverage these items to better display fabric and home accessories
Program #2C-2 – Use the newsletter and website to promote sales, class, and demonstration promotions.
STRATEGY #3 – Generate revenue through our home website and eBay store from customers outside the reach of the retail store.
Tactic #3A – Better facilitate and communicate the fabric and other inventory the store has to offer on the Web.
Program #3A-1 – Redesign website www.fabric-online.com.
Program #3A-2 – Establish our eBay store.
Program #3A-3 – Tighter integration of Web-based activities into the daily routine of store personnel.
Tactic #3B – Monthly assessment of performance of email inquiries and revenue generation
Program #3B-1 – Establish goals of the program.
Program #3B-2 – Evaluate the total dollar sales as well as sales by product category.
5.3 Value Proposition
Interior Views offers the highest quality decorator fabric for the home conveniently available for immediate purchase or on a special order basis. The store also offers a selection of antiques, home accessories, and complementary products. Interior Views is unique in that it offers customers the chance to be creative and customize the interior of their home, or they have the option of working with experienced professionals who will guide them through the process. Either way they get everything they need to create their perfect home.
5.4 Competitive Edge
Interior View’s website will be recognized due to it’s quality products and excellent support. This competitive edge leverages the same proven factors that have resulted in the success of the storefront experience. These same characteristics will be evident on the website. E-commerce sales will be routed by direct links from our home website to our eBay store.
5.5 Marketing Strategy
Our marketing strategy is based on becoming the resource for people looking for decorator fabrics and home accessories. The “do-it-yourself” and the “buy-it-yourself” customers will find resources to decorate their homes at a place that is inspiring, inviting, and motivating. Our marketing strategy is based on superior performance in the following areas:
- Product selection
- Product quality
- Customer service
Our marketing strategy will create awareness, interest, and appeal from our target market for what we offer our customers. This will be executed in a manner that will entice them to come back for repeat purchases and encourage them to refer additional customers to the store and to our website and eBay store.
5.5.1 Promotion Strategy
The most successful advertising and promotional activities have been the following:
- Newspaper Advertisements – Pleasantville Herald.
- Television Advertisements – “Martha Stewart” and “Interior Motives” television shows on a local promotional basis.
- Quarterly Newsletter and Postcard – A direct mail, 4-page newsletter distributed to the customer mailing list generated from people completing the sign up in the store. The mailing list now totals more than 4,300 people. Newsletter will now also be delivered by email and be available on our website.
- In Store Classes – “How to” classes, most of which are free, have been successful because of the traffic and sales they generate after the class. They are typically 90 minutes in length and held on Saturday, the most popular classes are:
- “Pillow Talk” – Pillow fabrication.
- “Speaking of Slip Covers” – Slip cover presentation and discussion.
- “Shades of the Season” – Window treatment options with fabric.
- Website – Traffic interest from www.fabric-online.com, to and from our eBay store.
5.5.2 Distribution Strategy
The primary source of distribution is through traditional retail channel. On a secondary basis, we will be building revenue generation through our home website and linked eBay store .
5.5.3 Marketing Programs
The single objective is to position Interior Views as the premier source for home decorator fabrics in the Greater Pleasantville area, commanding a majority of the market share within three years. The marketing strategy will seek to first create customer awareness regarding the products and services offered, develop that customer base, establish connections with targeted markets, and work toward building customer loyalty and referrals.
The four main marketing strategies for Interior Views are:
- Increased awareness and image.
- Leveraging existing customer base.
- Cross selling.
- New home construction promotion.
The strategies will be implemented through the following marketing tactics and programs.
INCREASED AWARENESS and IMAGE – Informing those not yet aware of what Interior Views offers.
- Martha Stewart
- Interior Motives
- Website and eBay search engine optimization
- Referral Generation
- Realtor “open house” promotions
- Complementary vendor referrals
- Imperial Floors.
- Upholstery resources.
- “Design Time” Interior Design.
- 27th Street Fabrics.
- “Tell a friend” email link on website
- Organization Relationships
- Co-sponsorships of fund raising activities
- Hosting events
- Evening events.
LEVERAGING EXISTING CUSTOMER BASE – Our best sales in the future will come from our current customer base.
- Newsletter and E-newsletter
- Sales promotions
- Customer Service and Relationships
- Exceptional customer service in the store
- Follow up contact
- Personal shopper support
- Expeditious fulfillment of eBay store orders.
- Additional Experiences
- Downloadable online information and patterns
CROSS SELLING – Increasing the average dollar amount per transaction.
- Additional sales of trims, notions, and accessories
- Promoting sales of furniture; Chameleon and Scottie Mac lines
- Sub-Lease Sales
- Antiques through “Antique Bureau”
- Accessories through “The Window Seat”
- Online Sales
- “People who bought this fabric also bought this …” suggestions with online sales
NEW HOME CONSTRUCTION PROMOTION – Connecting with people involved in the building process.
- Connecting with “Suppliers”
- Realtors gift certificate program
- Builders design support services
- Loan Officers gift certificate program
- Connecting with “Customers”
- Subscription and use of “newcomers” report
- Chamber of Commerce new members update
5.5.4 Positioning Statement
For the person who seeks to create a personalized and unique impression of his home, Interior Views is the source for selection and price for decorator fabric, customer-oriented design services, and a variety of other home accessories and furniture products. Customers will be impressed with, and return for, the great in-stock selection, special order options, value-oriented pricing, and excellent customer service.
Interior Views is a pleasant and tasteful resource for people in the process of remodeling the home. Instead of employing an interior decorator, Interior Views allows the customer to participate in individual design choices, and realize greater value for the dollars invested.
5.5.5 Pricing Strategy
Product pricing is based on offering high value to our customers compared with most price points in the market. Value is based on the best quality available, convenience, and timeliness in acquiring the product. We will consistently be below price points offered through interior designers and consistently above prices offered through the warehouse/seconds retail stores. Interior Views will also provide better quality and selection than the latter.
5.6 Sales Strategy
Our wide array of products enable customers to gather ideas and options, and accomplish their decorating goals. The assistance of the staff in person, on the phone, and through email will complement all aspects of this experience. The customer will have all of the resources, support and guidance they need to create a look that is truly unique to their home. They will not be able to do this in the same way through any other resource.
Online Sales Strategy
The online strategy support the objective to position Interior Views and its eBay store as a preferred source for home decorator fabrics on the Internet as we maintain the position of being considered the premier source in the geographic area of the store. The online sales strategy seeks to first, inform visitors about the Interior Views homesite, and create a positive awareness regarding the product offered; second, provide successful purchasing experiences through the direct click-through to our eBay store, and establish connections with targeted markets; and third, work toward building customer loyalty and referrals.
The online sales approach will accomplish these four objectives:
- Increased overall awareness and image
- Meet the online interests and needs of the existing customer base.
- Expand the total out-of-area customer population.
- Exploit upsell and cross-sell opportunities.
Strategy #1 – Increasing Awareness and Image – Informing those not yet aware of what Interior Views offers.
- Search engine presence.
- Leveraging the newsletter, e-newsletter and mailing programs.
Strategy #2 – Leveraging Existing Internet-Savvy Customers – Our best sales in the future will come from our current customer base.
- Newsletter information.
- Web-only promotions.
Strategy #3 – Upselling and Cross-selling Activities – Increasing the average dollar amount per transaction.
- Additional and complementary fabric.
- Additional sales of trims, notions, and accessories,
- Promoting sales of decor items.
5.6.1 Sales Programs
In brief, our marketing mix is comprised of these approaches to pricing, distribution, advertising and promotion, and customer service.
Pricing — A keystone pricing formula plus $3.00 will be applied for most fabrics. The goal is to have price points within 5% of the list price of Calico Corners’ retail prices. This insures competitive pricing and strong margins.
Distribution — All products are distributed through the retail store. The store does receive phone orders from established customers and we will be developing a website.
Advertising and Promotion — The most successful advertising has been through the Pleasantville Herald and through ads on “Martha Stewart” and “Interior Motives” television shows. The quarterly newsletter has also proven to be an excellent method to connect with the existing customer base, now with a mailing list of 4,300 people.
Customer Service — Excellent, personalized, one-of-a-kind customer service is essential. This is perhaps the only attribute that cannot be duplicated by any competitor.
The first goal is to recognize everyone as they come into the store. If they are a repeat customer, they are referred to by name. If they are a new customer, they are asked, “How did you hear about us?” Help is always available and never invasive. The store is staffed to be able to dedicate time and energy to customers who want assistance when they need it. The store is designed so a customer can sit as long as they want to look at books, fabric samples, and review the resources in the store. Their children are also welcome, with a television, VCR, and toys available in the childrens’ area in clear view of the resource center. We provide service in a way that no other competitive retail store can touch. It is one of our greatest assets and points of differentiation. Insight, ideas, inspiration, and fun is the goal. Repeat, high dollar purchases from loyal customers is the desired end product.
5.6.2 Sales Forecast
The Sales Forecast is broken down into four main revenue streams: direct sales, Web sales, consignment sales, and sub-lease revenues. The Sales Forecast for the upcoming year is based on a modest growth rate for direct sales. This is a slower growth rate than what was experienced in previous years, but above the non-existent growth of last year. In spite of the economic unpredictability we are experiencing, these projections appear attainable and take the increasing base into consideration.
Online Sales Forecast
The online sales forecast is conservatively projecting a slow and steady increase in eBay store sales. This approach is intended to realistically project sales to:
- An existing retail target market that has been slow to consider the Internet a viable method for shopping for fabric for their home.
- Become know to the Internet and eBay savvy e-purchasers as a source for quality home decorating fabrics.
|Direct Retail Sales||$335,600||$386,400||$463,700|
|eBay Shipping and Handling||$20,070||$30,908||$50,576|
|Direct Cost of Sales||2005||2006||2007|
|Direct Retail Sales||$151,020||$168,500||$170,250|
|Shipping and Handling||$15,055||$23,181||$37,932|
|Subtotal Direct Cost of Sales||$224,934||$282,128||$352,440|
5.7 Strategic Alliances
Interior Views does have some dynamic alliances. A retail store called “27th Street Fabric” focuses on “dress fabric” and refers customers on a regular basis. There is also a beneficial relationship with “Interior Fabricators” in Lake Oswego, Oregon and this establishment shares inventory purchases to reduce costs for both stores and/or to split minimum order bolts to make the larger quantity purchases more affordable for each.
Strategic Internet Alliances
Our use of the eBay marketplace is a major plus for us. It gives Interior Views access to the online retail channel without having the high start-up expenses of site design, store administration, financial setup, and security programs for a self-run and hosted retail site.
We can optimize moderate expenses in renovating our existing website, and through the use of direct click-through links do all our selling through the established and secure eBay marketplace and PayPal billing systems, while incurring accpetable fees.
Other strategic online alliances do not exist at this time. Opportunities do exist with other retailers, including expanding the established relationship with “Interior Fabricators” to include online activities. This will be an area of concentrated development for the future.
The milestone chart below is accompanied by table which outlines key activities that will be critical to our success in the coming year.
|Milestone||Start Date||End Date||Budget||Manager||Department|
|Year Buying Program||2-Jan||30-Jan||$560||Judy||Management|
|Initial Website Layout||1-Feb||15-Feb||$1,850||Doug||Owner|
|Establish eBay/PayPal Accounts||1-Feb||15-Feb||$300||Judy||Consultant|
|Spring Store Set Up||2-Feb||15-Feb||$225||Julie||Management|
|Initial eBay Site Design||15-Feb||28-Feb||$1,000||Doug||Owner|
|Class Schedule||1-Mar||1-Apr||$45||Cherly/Kandi||Customer Sup.|
|Fabric Selection for eBay Store||1-Mar||30-Mar||$0||Judy||Management|
|Product Selection for eBay Store||15-Mar||30-Mar||$0||Julie||Sales|
|Search Engine Work||15-Apr||30-Apr||$550||James||Consultant|
|Test Home and eBay Sites||1-Mar||30-Apr||$0||Staff||All|
|Summer Store Set Up||1-May||15-May||$225||Julie||Management|
|Follow-up and Feedback||2-May||30-May||$0||Doug/Staff||All|
|Class Schedule||1-Jun||15-Jun||$45||Cherly/Kandi||Customer Sup.|
|Fall Store Set Up||15-Aug||30-Aug||$250||Julie||Customer Sup.|
|Class Schedule||1-Sep||15-Sep||$50||Cherly/Kandi||Customer Sup.|
|Winter Store Set Up||1-Oct||15-Oct||$250||Julie||Management|
|Class Schedule||1-Nov||15-Nov||$50||Cherly/Kandi||Customer Sup.|
|Year End Evaluation||20-Dec||31-Dec||$0||Judy||Management|