SCANDIS is the eCommerce division of Scandinavian Designs and Dania Furniture. The first Scandinavian Designs store opened its doors in San Rafael, California in 1963 to cater to the contemporary home furnishing needs brought on by the huge wave of mid-century modern homes emerging in neighbourhoods throughout the West Coast in the U.S. In keeping with this architectural design movement, stores soon opened across northern and southern California, and later in Washington, Oregon, Nevada, Colorado, Minnesota and Illinois.
They made their foray into ecommerce for the very first time earlier in the year, in February and have not looked back since.
I interviewed their web marketing manager – Julio Giannotti and he shared a tonne of insights with me; here’s a summary:
It’s a value-packed episode.
The original brand was Scandinavian Designs. The founder of the company came from Norway to start the company in California. It is a family business that has been around for over 50 years. They later expanded under the name Dania Furniture which is mainly located in Seattle.
The company carried out a projections analysis of potential sales conversions based on the traffic their non-transactional website was receiving. They realized that they could drive additional sales from the traffic of their sites and that is how Scandis came along. The e-commerce team responsible for launching and running Scandis was made up of Julio, who is the web producer, the V.P of e-commerce and a web merchandiser.
Scandis is a sub-pureplay etail brand that helps them reach customers that live in areas with no physical retail right across the entire span of the United States.
Julio had initial experience with Shopify. The Scandis marketing and IT team decided to work with Shopify Plus because they were expecting to deal with a high volume of traffic and transactions across their network of websites. One of the advantages they found working with Shopify Plus was the availability of marketing and productivity apps exclusive to the Plus (enterprise) platform.
The team currently does not outsource marketing to agencies or freelancers. Julio had experience with social marketing and knew how to work with a small budget which came in handy at the time. Scandis officially launched in February 2017.
One challenge they had was dealing with customers in areas with no stores on the East Coast such as New York. They installed a geolocation script that redirected visitors to their Scandis website – the pure-play etail store. This enabled them sell furniture to customers across the U.S.
Other than their site, they also sell through other marketplaces like Houzz.
For you to reach new segments of customers, you need to drive an omnichannel experience. And because the company was used to running in a more traditional retail way, their in-store sales reps felt threatened when the online store was launched. Julio made the associates affiliates by giving them a chance to earn life-long commissions for all customers they referred to the website.
This move made associates more comfortable with the introduction of new tech to the business. It also enabled them to develop creative ways to drive sales since they earned from it. The initially rolled outa beta test of the affiliate program in one store and then gradually rolled it across all stores. They currently have over 200 employees that have been trained on how to become affiliates.
Their key customer acquisition channel is search: both organic SEO and AdWords/Google Shopping.
They also leverage a lot of user-generated reviews. They use Stamped.io where you can import reviews from product pages into Facebook. Retailers can join the Shopify Plus group on Facebook where they will get the chance to learn about the best apps.
Launchpad is a marketing automation app exclusive to Shopify Plus that launches and schedules sales events, pricing and alerts. Julio says that it provides his team with support over sales campaigns.
Flow is another app exclusive to Shopify Plus, that is used for managing backend tasks such as stock alerts, customer, order and product management.
Some useful apps for e-commerce businesses are:
Tools Julio finds useful and indispensable are Moz, SEMrush and Flow.
Automation tools save you time that would have been spent doing repetitive tasks. Use automation tools to free up your employees’ time and to allow them to carry out merchandising tasks. Also, do not sacrifice your focus on what works for you. Make time and find ways to make it better.
04.00 Background on Scandis and other sister brands
07.36 Shopify Plus and why businesses should use it
12.36 Marketing and launching
16.31 Effective marketing tactics
28.20 Other forms of marketing
44.10 Launchpad and Flow
49.57 Killer Apps on Shopify
53.20 Advice to other retailers