When Rob Bridgman had to wait 9 weeks for a clunky sofa to arrive at his new home, he knew an innovative solution was required in the furniture industry.
Q: Where did the idea for Snug come from?
A: Snug - The Sofa in a Box Company - was born out of personal and professional frustrations of mine when purchasing a sofa for my new flat. The excitement of being a first-time home owner was quickly replaced with frustration after I had to wait 9 weeks for a sofa to arrive, despite being promised it would take 6 weeks.
When it finally arrived I had to rope 3 friends in to help me lift it up multiple flights of stairs, only to find it came within millimetres of not fitting through the door frame. Then I found out I couldn’t return it.
It made me question why, in the on-demand era of Netflix & Amazon Prime, we have to wait 6+ weeks for something to arrive. And it was at that moment I decided we would develop a DTC challenger to make buying a quality sofa enjoyable at the few taps of a screen.
The Sofa in a Box is a solution to modern sofa-buying problems because it comes with fast and free delivery (and returns), fits through tight spaces (up the stairs and through narrow doors) and can be assembled in minutes - no tools needed. Our unique ‘pay as you grow’ solution also means you could buy a sofa today and later upgrade to a corner set by unclipping an arm and adding in a corner unit.
Q: What are some of the logistical challenges of selling via e-commerce and how does the company manage this?
A: While we have stores across the country, the vast majority of our sales are through e-commerce. Last-mile delivery is always a challenge because we offer customers a day of choice delivery wherever they are in the country. Having been in the industry through our sister brand for 40+ years we knew this would be the biggest problem to resolve so we engineered the product for optimum convenience to allow 1 person to handle a 3 seater sofa. This baked in convenience gives us options when it comes to which logistics providers we can work with ensuring we can deliver within 3 days, even when unexpected events occur.
Q: A sofa would probably be classed as a high-ticket product. What challenges does this present selling online and what are effective strategies that you've used to drive conversions?
A: Sofas are undoubtedly a considered purchase and the options online and offline are plentiful. We’ve had a lot of success with breaking the customer journey down into steps of a funnel and currently use the RACE model (Reach, Act, Convert, Engage) then overlay promotional channels so we get a multi-channel approach. For us, the key is to surprise and delight users at each stage.
As we sell a quality product our visual identity is key and we invest a lot of money on photography, video and other marketing literature. Our website and social channels represent our mission and personality, and our customers respond very well to that. We also ensure our customer service is second to none and go over an above to ensure every customer is wowed by our refreshing approach. The fact we offer a 30-day trial also offers people peace of mind as they know there’s no risk to buy their sofa online. We also have hundreds of positive reviews that help people make their decision too.
Q: What e-commerce marketing strategies have been most effective & also least effective for selling Snug?
A: Social commerce (content + community) has been most effective, particularly on Instagram. We have built a family of Snuggers who interact with each other daily, sharing photos, tips and glowing reviews. I wouldn't say anything has been ineffective as it’s all a learning opportunity.
Innovation is also a core pillar to Snug’s strategy so it’s fundamental to us that we keep pushing the boundaries not only to retain our spot as market leaders but also to have fun!
Q: Do you leverage any internal processes/strategies to increase CLV once customers have been acquired? How difficult has it been to improve this metric given the nature of the business?
A: Customer lifetime value can be difficult for furniture companies because people tend to make a bulk purchase and they’re set for years. However, customers have multiple rooms and sometimes even multiple homes so we get more repeat customers than most would suspect.
Through email, Instagram and Facebook, we stay in touch and keep Snuggers up to date with the latest colour and product drops, as well engaging in general conversation and offering inspiration on all things ‘Snug’. We have found that some people return to purchase additional items to their original purchase (which is usually the OG Sofa in a Box), for example, purchasing Footstools, Snugglers, Sofa Beds and so on.
Plus, the great thing about Snug products is that they connect together and can grow with you. For example, if you have a Sofa and Snuggler, you could upgrade it into a Corner Sofa simply by purchasing the Corner Piece. Equally, if someone has an existing Corner Sofa, they could purchase an extra pair of arms and separate the sofas. Overall, it’s all about expanding. Snug can grow with you.
Q: Finally, for somebody looking to make their first purchase with Snug, what would you recommend?
A: I would definitely recommend The Rebel Corner Sofa for those who have the room. Available in a variety of stain-resistant fabrics and colours, it is versatile, high-quality and comfortable. Plus, if you change your mind and want a Sofa or Snuggler instead, it’s easy to change and upgrade!