Woodstock Furniture & Mattress Outlet started in 1988 by acquiring and selling returns, overstocks, and scratch and dent items from well-known catalog merchants, like Sears and Service Merchandise. Eventually, they gained a reputation as the place around town to find great deals on furniture and mattresses, and they became a fixture in the local community. Now, they’re a “Hometown Furniture Superstore,” focused on selling high-quality furniture and providing a top-notch customer experience. They now have 8 locations throughout Georgia.
We spoke with Jared Taylor—the Digital Marketing Manager at Woodstock Furniture—about his experience there. Throughout his six years with Woodstock Furniture, he’s been able to watch the company evolve, and with that, he’s seen the company continually adopt new Podium products, too. After experiencing the positive effects of Podium firsthand, Jared has become a true champion of Podium: “I have definitely championed and referred several people that we have come in contact with through buying groups.”
Woodstock Furniture & Mattress Outlet has been using Podium since 2017 when Reviews was the only product available. Since then, Woodstock and Podium have grown in sync. As Podium expanded, Woodstock found that it could incorporate each new Podium product into its business.
Woodstock Furniture didn’t always use Podium though. Jared could recall the first time he learned about Podium. He explained, “[I] saw Podium at Market (a tradeshow) and got a chance to meet the team at the Podium Booth. [I] learned how easy it was to send out review invites, which is something that we were having difficulty with on our previous platform. Our previous platform was great at displaying reviews, but not actually getting the request. [Podium] just made it super simple.” Jared understood that customers were already on their phones and checking out reviews online, so sending review invites via text was revolutionary for Woodstock Furniture. After years of relying on local word of mouth, Podium Reviews helped elevate their already stellar reputation—this time online.
Although Reviews was the only product at the time, their experience with Podium didn’t stop there. “Typically we’ve jumped on [new Podium products] as soon as they’ve become available,” Jared told us. “We started off with basically sales users for the review invites, then we gradually moved into Webchat for the web team, which has grown significantly in the last year,” he explained.
They grew the business in the 1990’s based on local reputation for great service and great value, but now in the age of on-demand everything, Jared didn’t hesitate to take the business online.
Incorporating Podium Payments
After establishing a positive online reputation and gaining new leads through Webchat and text, Jared started to explore the ways that Podium could help other parts of the company. One of those ways was Payments. “We started using it (Payments) because our former website didn’t have a working checkout cart. So we had to get people to send us an order email and we would respond with a payment link. Then with COVID we started using it [Payments] more because we had a skeleton crew and we had deliveries that needed to be made, so we started sending payment links to people and it was just so easy to use that everybody who wasn’t using it before just started saying “well, this is the way to go,” Jared explained. Since Woodstock Furniture was already requesting reviews via text, sending payment links via text was a logical next step. Podium made collecting payments an integrated part of the customer journey, and it played an integral role in helping Woodstock Furniture succeed during COVID.
Jared explained, “It’s definitely given us an edge in customer experience and modernization, where now customers just feel like they can text us and then easily pay through text,” and ultimately he shared, “When we send customers a link it’s very simple to use. It’s saved us time as a company and saved us money.” Not only did collecting payments become significantly easier, but providing a modern, high-quality experience became easier for the team, too.
The latest Podium adoption: SMS Marketing
More recently, Jared adopted one of the newest Podium products for Woodstock Furniture: Campaigns. Jared saw instant value in Campaigns—instant as in, less than 30 minutes from send to sale. “The biggest thing was when we were at Market (a tradeshow) with the Podium booth and we sent a mattress campaign. We had a person text back with a response almost immediately that they were interested and wanting to know where they could purchase. So that was huge for seeing the effectiveness and how quickly it could turn around and reach people. That was a huge thing. Kind of like when we turned on webchat for the first time,” Jared recalled. The response time was almost immediate for their first mattress campaign, and he explained that it had the same effect that turning on Webchat for the first time did—it was game-changing.
Jared went on to tell us that since the success with their first campaign, they’ve tried to incorporate more campaigns into their regular marketing tactics. Since adopting Campaigns, they’ve collected 3,258 subscribers in under 3 months, most of which have been captured via Webchat. Jared also shared that most of their locations have an average campaign click rate of 5% or higher—some even as high as 8%.
Using Podium in all parts of the business
Woodstock Furniture has also incorporated Teamchat into their daily experience. “With COVID, we integrated Teamchat and it became something where almost the entire organization was using Podium to some degree,” Jared told us. Teamchat made internal communication simple, even during a complex period of time.
In addition to Teamchat, Jared explained that, “Now customer service is actually using [Podium Payments] to take payments for service and parts. Before, they were having to call cashiers at the store and have them ring things up to collect payment. So it’s grown—almost every department uses Podium to some capacity now,” Jared told us. The ease of use lets every team in the company focus more on the customer experience, and less on the burdens that came with using archaic systems.
The platform to power a Hometown Superstore
When asked about the main benefits of using Podium, Jared explained that it was, “Ease of communication with the customer. In today’s world we know that everyone has their phone on them at all times. We know that if you send them a text that they are going to respond and they are going to see it more often than not.”
Although Woodstock Furniture already had a solid reputation among locals, incorporating Podium into their overall business helped the company establish itself online as it expanded to more storefronts, and it helped the business rebrand from an outlet to a local hometown superstore. Jared worked diligently to continue adopting new Podium products as they were released, which allowed the business to adapt as consumers, the world, and technology changed. Doing so made business easy, and ultimately resulted in happy customers and booming business—some of the greatest measures of success for a company. “Being able to communicate with customers or potential customers through their phone is a huge deal, and makes it easy for us to do business.”