With the postponement and eventual cancellation of spring 2020 High Point Furniture Market, Crobar was tasked to act fast in maintaining launch communications for Universal Furniture and their several new introductions. Read on to explore some of the fresh and exciting ways we were able to achieve success as a Digital Launch Agency with the introduction of Universal Furniture’s Virtual Market.
Together with Universal, instead of asking “what will this mean for the furniture industry?,” our leading question was “what can we do differently in these circumstances?” We took a critical eye to the assets we had already begun to create and started making thoughtful tweaks to the marketing materials to keep business and connection afloat during an otherwise uncertain time. The result of these efforts ended with a successful, 4-day-long digital experience.
Forming a Virtual Market “Home Base”
The first phase of the Digital Launch consisted of the creation and design of a landing page specifically for Virtual Market as well as accompanying supportive e-blasts. The landing page was a visitor’s go-to hub for this brand-new digital experience. Here, a visitor could clearly see the scheduled events planned for each day.
The landing page also directed visitors to “RSVP” to the Virtual Market. In doing this, Universal was able to collect email addresses where a subsequent email would then be sent with a special market passcode required to access all of the digital content. From this approach, Universal received over 3,000 unique replies from top dealers and designers.
Showroom Tours from the Comfort of Home
The next phase of the Digital Launch consisted of creating ways to bring an almost-tangible furniture experience to all of Universal’s customers and design partners. Getaway, Universal’s second collaboration with Coastal Living Magazine and their main market launch, was featured through a filmed virtual walkthrough of the showroom space for visitors to access and view. This provided an easy and convenient way for customers to browse the showroom and take notes on pieces that they liked.
For other collection introductions, like Universal’s Modern collection and their new special order upholstery program, a series of videos were executed. These videos featured showroom walkthroughs with members of Universal’s team to bring an added touch of personality and inside knowledge.
Boosting Engagement with Live Social Media Support
A full social media content plan was also created and planned in support of Virtual Market. This included creating all of the graphics (for Instagram grid and Instagram stories) for each collection launch as well as the graphics for the line-up of online seminars and discussions. We then pre-scheduled each of these by day and provided all of the post copy.
Discovering New Ways to Celebrate & Integrate
Another integrative component included for Universal’s Virtual Market was the hosting of virtual seminars through both Zoom and Instagram Live. These seminars featured design professionals, influencers, and other well-known industry personalities. Visitors were able to tune in for showroom tours, informative CEU panels, and even a virtual cocktail party. As Universal always plans a robust series of events and lectures during market, this was a way for them to keep that connection alive but in a fully digital way.
At the conclusion of Virtual Market, we spoke to Neil MacKenzie, the Director of Marketing for Universal. When asked his opinion on the outcome of Virtual Market, Neil shared, “We were really pleased with the level of participation for our Virtual Market experience that we executed in late April. Our ability to have customers ‘walk’ through the showroom and explore our new product introductions from the comfort of home was a new opportunity, but one that we felt like everyone benefitted from.”
In fact, when participants of Virtual Market were asked if they wanted to see more virtual content outside of bi-annual markets, 92.5% responded YES. Being on the forefront of creating a virtual market space for their industry, Universal Furniture captured the attention of various news outlets and publications as it received media coverage from sources such as Spectrum News, Furniture Today, Furniture Lighting & Décor, and Business of Home.
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