Commercial customers include hospitality, resorts, clubs, multifamily housing, restaurants, bars and cruise ships. Most commercial customers buy directly from Tropitone through professional commercial sales representatives, although some choose to buy from distribution partners authorized by Tropitone. These commercial distributions partners specialize in servicing the commercial marketplace.
Residential customers are serviced through an extensive network of designers and specialty retailers that are focused on residential outdoor patio furniture. These residential distribution partners are authorized by Tropitone and specialize in servicing residential customers.
Providing end users with the exploratory, purchase and ownership experience they demand. Market research indicates that virtually all buyers of high-value, high-involvement durable goods, such as furniture, use digital methods to shop. Only a small percentage of buyers currently purchase on-line. The growth rate of digital purchase transactions is growing at 3 times the rate of traditional in-store transactions. As buyers become more comfortable buying high-value, high-involvement durable goods on-line, the percentages of digital versus traditional transactions will converge...
…but this increase in digital purchase transactions does not mean the end of traditional showrooms for high-value, high-involvement durables. Tropitone believes that the importance of well-designed showrooms will actually increase as buyers become more knowledgeable about product alternatives. Buyers may increasingly execute purchases on-line. But, their final choices will be made in showrooms that are designed for that most critical element of the buying process.
Tropitone has developed its Omni-channel strategy around this basic premise. Our objective is to seamlessly integrate the digital and showroom buying experiences for our customers. Many years ago we anticipated the negative consequences of so-called “showrooming.” Tropitone’s Minimum Electronic Media Retail Price (MEMRP) policy for residential resellers was controversial when introduced, but is now highly respected and widely copied.
Our in-store portals are one component of our overall Omni-channel strategy. We are working with our residential and commercial distribution partners to create more touch points with end users and generate more sales opportunities.
Virtually all purchase decisions today include a digital component. Some shoppers use the Internet strictly for information gathering and some actually buy online as well. Brands who do not engage a customer early in their exploratory process will not be in the considered set of purchase options. Customers want information in real time. If they have to wait, or need to “call for information” on a product, they will just move on. In this customer-centric economy, companies must provide access when and where their customer wants it. Tropitone is committed to being present for distribution partners and end users any time, anywhere and on any device they choose.
The Tropitone website has evolved from a content site to a digital eCommerce platform. www.tropitone.com now allows us, in collaboration with our distribution partners, to provide end user customers a seamless virtual and physical buying experience. Residential buyers can experience our brands online and then go to a local well-designed retailer showroom to make their final choices and complete the purchase. Using Tropitone’s eCommerce platform, a digital purchase transaction can be completed in-store or from the buyer’s home. Regardless of where it occurs, the digital purchase transaction is directly between the retailer and the buyer using Tropitone’s eCommerce platform.
When you walk into the Tropitone section of one of our retailers you see TVs streaming our website live. These Tropitone portals on the floor link the virtual and physical shopping experiences. We believe this will be the most common buying experience due to the high-value, high-involvement nature of our product. Most consumers will want to sit in the furniture, feel the texture of the fabric and get a true color representation. They will want to sort through and validate their choices in a showroom designed for that purpose.
Tropitone’s new websites and eCommerce platform were designed for both the residential and commercial markets. The first choice a user must make is “Residential” or “Commercial”. Once a choice is made the reductive navigation architecture provides for casual shopping or quick link to specific products.
Tropitone’s digital platform is designed for commercial distribution partners and buyers to easily configure products and document quotes. Once choices are made, purchase transactions are seamless. Commercial buyers that do repetitive transactions will be able to easily access prior purchases directly or with the help of our distribution partners.
eCommerce is viewed by some in both the residential and commercial segments as a competitive threat to traditional distribution channels. For high-value, high-involvement durables like furniture, this is a misconception. In actuality, the blend of eCommerce and digital technology into an Omni-channel approach provides tremendous growth and productivity opportunities.
Tropitone is very excited to work with our partners to capture these opportunities and grow our businesses collectively.