Brand training, incentive bonuses, scrapping operations in the logic of circularity. We must be complementary to a project for which we are the market vendors. Andrea Barazzoni, owner of I Love My House, has very clear ideas on how to create a true alliance between manufacturer and sales outlet
“What can be done to establish an effective collaboration between supplier and retailer? Companies should approach retailers and provide support in both commercial tools and training, because there are sectors related to durable goods where customers still need to see and touch. That is where the supplier should help us make a difference by providing concrete support: brand training, incentive bonuses, scrapping operations in the spirit of circularity. We need to make ourselves feel complementary to a project for which we are ‘supposedly’ the marketplace vendors. The missing thing is the opportunities for an exchange of ideas”.
Proposals and suggestions come from the voice of Andrea Barazzoni, owner of I LOVE MY HOUSE. A historical business - rooted in the Parma area - that started in the 1960s, when it evolved from an electrical and lighting shop into a “lifestyle store”.
The relationship between sales outlets and manufacturers/distributors is one of the hottest topics of the moment. Many claim that this partnership has crumbled. Several manufacturers went online with the same prices and products, for example. Is this a matter of concern to you?
Nowadays, those who sell brands already know that they have to contend with the online market, which is often promoted by the company that supplies the product and is not satisfied with selling to the public, with high margins because they are the manufacturers. The problem is exacerbated by the fact that the company also interferes with the pricelist (e.g. online giveaways and fidelity prizes), leaving the shopkeeper with the set pricelist.
Unfortunately, the “home retail” sector suffers from a life-threatening stagnation, there is no evolution of either product or genre, and there are very few opportunities to capture emotional experiences that can be conveyed in our locations. Trade fair opportunities in Italy are reduced to a minimum and companies in our sector no longer invest in events dedicated either to training or creating product hype for off-line retail customers.
How can sales outlets and manufacturers collaborate to bring customers back into the shop?
Except in a few cases that I can count on the fingers of one hand, and even though we all know how important training, customer service and co-marketing are today, few companies in the sector have made plans to experiment with measures to support the companies that, through their shop windows, in the most beautiful streets and squares of Italy, have for years acted as “local influencers” - if I may use that term - for brands.
So, what steps should be taken to revitalise the system?
The market has completely changed. At a time when corporate suppliers are investing heavily in ‘non-places’, retail as a physical location is completely abandoned to itself. The watchword for us now is ‘experiment’ and the new challenges will be about doing a lot of research, finding new companies, moving away from the ‘Multi-Brand’ circuits and going beyond the product. We are now able to customise the gift pack with instruments that also make the recipient's experience unique. A place where customers can search for things and emotions to improve their lives.
But the question is, will we succeed?
Established as a housewares, gift and bridal registry shop, there are now two sales outlets in Parma. Barazzoni continues by saying, “We have kept an eye on the dynamics of an ever-changing market, combining our brand with a pay-off that has become a logo: I LOVE MY HOUSE, a place where we now not only outfit the home but also the person and through various experiential events we are moving in the direction of good living and well-being”.
Three generations have succeeded one another and laid the path for the business to expand. “My wife, my sister and I, together with Grazia, Alexandra and Daniela, manage the two ‘off-line’ sales outlets, my sister also looks after the online shop, which is, to all intents and purposes, a third shop”.