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Consumer Delivery - Part 18 - Delivery A La Carte

Furniture World Magazine


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Making the a la carte delivery for large or special orders.

When customers make really large purchases ("really large" can be determined by dollar volume or by number of pieces), most stores bend over backwards to treat them special.

One impressive way is to deliver the goods a la carte-on a day and at a time that works best for the customer. Usually that's first thing in the morning, to save her waiting time. Early delivery also gets the truck back into regular service quicker, if it's been routed to just one customer.

To make an even bigger impression, some stores send along a maitre d' of sorts-sometimes called a "delivery director"-who makes sure everything goes right.

The delivery director can be from sales or operations, or, optimally, from your store's interior design team. (If you don't employ staff designers, consider hiring a freelancer on a project basis.) Stores often call in the delivery director, if he or she is from the design side, at the time of sale, to help the customers make better choices.

Understanding delivery requirements and procedures, the delivery director makes sure each piece is properly prepped and handled and knows precisely where each piece should be placed. A designer will also make viable suggestions should plan revisions be necessary. This ability could in fact save sales. Furniture often looks different when someone with design savvy repositions it.

If the delivery includes pieces that need setting up, your delivery crew can generally see to that. But if the pieces are unusual, or there are special installations, make the a la carte delivery even more special- have one of your service people on the scene when your truck arrives.

Whether or not to charge for designer services is of course a decision made on an individual store basis. Most stores send in the delivery director as a large purchase bonus that works as well in their behalf.

Whenever someone thinks of your store in a really big way, think customer relations in a big way- think "delivery a la carte". It's a sure way to keep your customers thinking of, talking about, and coming back to your store over the years.

Furniture World is the oldest, continuously published trade publication in the United States. It is published for the benefit of furniture retail executives. Print circulation of 20,000 is directed primarily to furniture retailers in the US and Canada.  In 1970, the magazine established and endowed the Bernice Bienenstock Furniture Library (www.furniturelibrary.com) in High Point, NC, now a public foundation containing more than 5,000 books on furniture and design dating from 1620. For more information contact editor@furninfo.com.