The Internet is being increasingly employed as an information platform for the designer furniture sector. Since Corona at the latest, Harald Feil has observed a separation of the consumer strata, which requires a sensitive adaptation of marketing measures. For the brand TRÉCA Paris, he is currently testing the trade marketing platform socialPALS. It extends existing print campaigns into online media and provides a transparent overview of the advertising impact per retail partner. More in the following interview!
Harald, please tell us a little about you and your role at TRÉCA Paris!
My name is Harald Feil, and I have been in the furniture business since 1991. In recent years, I have established myself in the high-end furniture and decoration sector. In April 2019, I took over the sales management for DACH for the brand TRÉCA Paris. The focus is on sales strategies and marketing. With our team, we are highly customer-centric and always looking for a solid connection with our partners.
The brand is new to socialPALS and started using it for the first time this October to provide your retailers with high-quality campaign content. Why did you decide to test this automated form of commerce marketing furthermore?
We have tackled the issue of “Google Ads” several times in the past. Unfortunately, we found that we had gaps in the evaluation of data. Basics like linking or data maintenance were not optimal. After recommendations from several of our partners, such as arredare GmbH made from Essen, we took a further step and approached socialPALS.
What is the goal of the current campaigns and how much internal work did you do in marketing to get them off the ground? Did the platform save you time and reduce your workload compared to "traditional" retail marketing?
Our goal is to reach a broad layer of end customers. A separation between professional, product-related information and PR measures for the TRÉCA Paris brand. Our sales campaigns 24. Seven, TRÉCA Select and Club Privilege, were already set up as print material. It was, therefore, relatively easy for us to implement this in the form required for online campaigns.
The level of support we received from the socialPALS team was highly effective and constant.
socialPAL’S highly professional and direct representation confirmed our decision that we were in the right hands.
How difficult was it to motivate your retail partners to participate? Is the "online marketing" module accepted as an integration into the sales concept?
Unfortunately, persuading retail partners to adopt new ideas is currently not that easy. As a rule, non-participation is more likely due to a lack of time. Everyone is very busy organizing their everyday life right now. Our sales teams’ task was to explain to our partners the decisive advantage of this campaign(s) – only a short investment of their precious time. Thanks to the support of my colleague Melanie Erlewein and our training manager and PR manager Ms Hamami, we managed to convince many dealers.
Participation in a socialPALS campaign and thus the playout of the turnkey content calendar is confirmed by each retail partner after one-time registration via 1-Click. For example, are there also retailers who take a closer look at the platform and plan (extra) postings or advertising budget themselves?
The collaboration with socialPALS has furthermore resulted in new content being added to our retail partners’ websites. Some have actively moved ads or extra scheduled postings. We have quite a few motivated dealers considering extending the activities.
What factors do you use to measure the success of a digital advertising campaign? Are you hoping to learn helpful lessons from this test balloon - for example, which channels/formats are best suited for the advertised product?
Today, we can see that various links occur and that we receive suggestions or questions from retailers. In this way, we can measure and evaluate the interest of the retailers in such activities. Facebook and Instagram are currently the most used platforms. socialPALS provides a direct overview of the extent to which a post can be linked to one of our dealers.
What challenges do you currently see for TRÉCA as a brand, as well as for your retail partners? Have multiple crises such as the pandemic, the war or the ongoing supply chain issues had a lasting impact on the industry? Have the requirements for local marketing also changed fundamentally as a result?
We must, of course, acknowledge that the last two years under the pandemic were a very successful time for the interior design industry. The time when people could not move freely was used to beautify the home. However, this time has also shaped a new way of selling. Not only did online retailing gain ground in specific sales markets, but in the high-end sector, more emphasis was placed on intensive consultation. With fixed appointments, end consumers were given explicit advice, and the deals were usually of very high quality.
Unfortunately, it is like in real life: After a suitable period comes a somewhat more difficult economic phase, which, with the prevailing war, causes the financial situation to falter. We are observing a separation of the consumer groups that is making its mark very quickly. Here it will be essential to reorganise our marketing to address the correct individuals with the intended products. Here we have to show respect, not overwhelm the end consumers and address them at eye level. Therefore, we will also adapt and target our regional marketing regarding costs and the environment.
How can socialPALS support you in overcoming these challenges?
We are currently still in a test phase here. Everything takes time. With everything new, we need to talk to our partners about how the campaign has been helpful to them. As already mentioned, we must be close to our retail partners and exchange ideas with them to achieve joint success.
How do you see the future of stationary retail in context with the market power of the major online players? Does the specialised retail trade still have a chance if it invests in time, e.g., in digital measures? Do end customers still want to shop in brick-and-mortar stores?
The fixed-location sector will always exist in the high-end segment. Indeed, there will be fewer of them; specialist retailers with competence will downsize and specialise. Emotions, decoration, and imagination cannot be purposefully aroused with the internet. Here it is a matter of “doing one without leaving the other” – the right blend will be the decision maker.
Online is being used more and more as an information platform. With our brand products, however, emotion and presentation will be decisive. Comfort and feeling at ease, properly and honestly advised, is the challenge for concluding a purchase.
Are you already planning further campaigns to support your retailers?
Sure. If you do nothing, you stand still. In recent years, we have repeatedly developed campaigns that are intended to be a support for our partners as well as attractive for our actual customers. Why should we stop now… 😉
What was your personal experience with socialPALS? Do you have any suggestions?
From the first contact to the implementation, we were superbly looked after by the socialPALS team. Unfortunately, time is sometimes a rare commodity for me too. For a possible next campaign, I would like to take suggestions and feedback from our partners and my team on board. We at TRÉCA feel secure, competent, and uncomplicated in our cooperation with socialPALS. In this sense, I say thank you and wish everyone a wonderful Christmas period!
Voices from retail:
socialPALS is the ideal marketing tool for us. We were also happy to participate in the TRÉCA campaign again. The ads are super prepared and planned by socialPALS and can be easily placed by us with little time effort. For us it is perfect that we can individualize the assets and link them to our own website. If we have any questions, the telephone support is very straightforward.
seipp Wohnen, Waldshut / Tiengen
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