Living Edge is a destination for sustainable and authentic designer furniture. Known for internationally renowned brands like Herman Miller, Living Edge operates in both the business-to-business and home consumer spheres.
A bespoke experience is key to Living Edge’s success, whether consumers are interacting with the business in its stunning showrooms or via its revamped website.
After launching their optimised e-commerce site in May 2020, Living Edge experienced a huge 82% revenue increase in the first month. They’re now consistently seeing revenue up 250-300% above similar revenue last year.
James Morton is the COO and CFO of Living Edge. He gave SmartCompany his top tips on how to devise a wildly successful e-commerce strategy.
A business in transformation
Morton has seen a lot of change during his ten years at Living Edge.
“I’m very proud of the way that we’ve transformed the company. Not only growing revenue, but we’ve really made a significant impact on the sector”, he says.
However, in 2017 Living Edge realised their outdated IT systems were inhibiting growth. Revenue growth was being counteracted by the need to hire more staff to keep up.
“We knew that we had to operationally transform the business from an IT perspective”, he says.
Morton also realised that the old Living Edge website wasn’t representing the business to the same standard as their award-winning showrooms.
“It was very difficult for people to navigate and find the products they really wanted, so that needed an overhaul.”
A new e-commerce strategy to meet changing consumer expectations
Acknowledging changing consumer expectations allowed Living Edge to optimise their website to effectively meet the needs of home consumers as well as architects and designers.
“People were craving information before coming into the store”, says Morton.
Instead of merely using the website to discover Living Edge or locate a store, people expected to be able to browse the product range in detail before committing to an in-person visit.
Morton’s advice for anyone considering changing up their IT is to take the time to properly plan.
“We took a long time to narrow things down and make sure the partners were well aligned to what we wanted to achieve”, Morton says, citing Living Edge’s partnership with Salesforce.
The commercial strategy was to supercharge the e-commerce process — a complete transformation to get things up to best practice.
Overall, Living Edge needed to create a link between their online experience and their in-store experience.
Living Edge undertook a complete website upgrade to create a bespoke experience tailored to home or B2B customers.
They also dramatically increased their e-commerce integration, including adding many more product lines and a live chat function.
Morton says customers who receive advice via live chat directly before a purchase now account for 20% of Living Edge’s online revenue.
Revenue increased 82% in the first month after the new website launched. The figures have continued to improve since.
“We’re consistently up 250% to 300% above similar revenue in the prior year”, says Morton. “Website traffic is up 86% year-on-year in September”, he adds.
Although the IT overhaul took time and money, Morton is glad Living Edge took the leap. He says businesses shouldn’t be afraid to invest in IT.
“We’ve made a significant investment in this platform, probably more than our competitors”, says Morton.
Living Edge put the investment into perspective by comparing it to bricks and mortar. “We’re probably spending similar amounts on new showrooms… so think of this as a virtual showroom”, says Morton.
Maintaining consistency across touchpoints
Morton says that for companies with a physical presence, many customers will experience a link between shopping online and in-store.
“We wanted to ensure the online experience matched the in-store experience”, says Morton.
The solution? Using Salesforce as the single source of truth for customer interactions on the same account both online and in person.
Embracing the possibilities of Salesforce’s technology
Morton says Salesforce’s wide range of functions are useful through different aspects of the business such as CRM and eCommerce.
Salesforce has capabilities covering marketing, sales and service.
“Once you understand it, you can start to play around and build your own objects and pathways”, he says. “It’s scalable as well, it can grow with you.”
Overall, Morton says businesses should embrace the possibilities of e-commerce technology through the lens of the customer’s experience.
“Salesforce puts the customer at the centre of our organisation. That’s the key for our business.”
Salesforce, the global leader in customer relationship management (CRM), empowers companies to connect with their customers in a whole new way.