Photo: Tuscany Fine Furnishings photo shows Kameron, Kathy and Kelle McConnell in their Roswell, Ga., store.
Tuscany Fine Furnishings in Roswell, Ga., doesn’t sell online. But it engages customers through its integrated social media channels so that “when they come in, they’re ready to buy,” co-owner Kelle McConnell says.
McConnell brought a technology background into a partnership with his wife, Kathy, an interior designer, who was managing a small interior design and furnishings store in 2004. Kathy and Kelle purchased the store inventory and rental space and together they created Tuscany Fine Furnishings. It’s a full-service design company offering a wide variety of furniture collections from 81 suppliers, McConnell says. Everyone on the sales staff is an interior designer, and their new Showroom and Design Center, opened in 2017, is an 18,000-square-foot showroom featuring 30 distinct showcase displays, which are professionally redesigned every week, if not more often.
‘Pioneers in the tech field’
The McConnells quickly decided to become “pioneers in the tech field” among retail furniture stores but only “dabbled around for the first five years,” Kelle says, joking: “You know what they say about pioneers. We end up with arrows in our back.”
Not many arrows have struck. To the contrary, Tuscany has made so much progress marketing via social media channels that it earned recognition from Facebook this month for its success in developing a new interactive website and boosting social media engagement across multiple channels.
Kelle is so enthusiastic about what’s happening at Tuscany that, as a member of the Home Furnishings Association, he’s eager to share his ideas with everyone in the association.
Here’s what warrants the most attention: He’s spending 75 percent less on marketing than he once did, and he’s getting better results.
Evidence links ads to sales
“I have never been so convinced by concrete evidence that a sale is associated with a specific ad or boost,” he says. Tuscany purchases no television or radio advertising. Print media ads, placed exclusively in a magazine that focuses on women in the North Atlanta area, account for only 10 to 15 percent of its ad budget. Additionally, Tuscany designers produce design and interior-centered articles accompanying each monthly ad. Those articles in turn automatically generate blog posts on Tuscany’s new website. Most of the rest of the ad budget is devoted to Facebook, Instagram, Google Business and YouTube.
Tuscany unveiled its new website in January, which Kelle and his son, Kameron, designed. They hired a web developer to engineer it, but Kameron does all the photography and videography. “He’s been a godsend for us,” his father says. A recent college graduate, Kameron is Tuscany’s social media marketing director while also pursuing a career in film editing in Georgia’s robust movie and television industry.
20,000 social media followers
Tuscany claims 20,000 followers on its social media channels, and the number is growing, Kelle says. “We hardly ever lose them. We have them for life.”
To a large extent, the followers drive the content. When they visit the website or some other social media platform to view specific products or ask about pricing, “we give them the pricing and dimensions, then we post it for everybody to see, including multiple locations throughout our new website,” Kelle says.
Everything is seamless. Videos posted on YouTube or photos posted on Instagram automatically populate the website and Facebook page, Kelle says. There’s always fresh content. And, while it looks like maintaining these channels is labor-intensive, the opposite is true. “I want simplicity,” Kelle says. “I don’t want to work on it.”
Tuscany prefers relationships to transactions
Tuscany could easily generate sales directly from its website and social media platforms, but that’s not what it wants to do, Kelle says. It prefers to build long-term relationships rather than execute one-time transactions. It engages shoppers online, allowing the staff to learn about them and their needs, but the personal interaction that follows makes certain that the customer’s purchase is just right. Tuscany designers make home visits and are equipped with iPads in the store so that customers can see all the possibilities. The iPads also help facilitate sales.
The most productive social media channels are Facebook and Instagram, the first points of contact leading to 30 percent of sales, Kelle says. Facebook’s support staff has helped Tuscany learn how to better utilize Facebook tools to reach more customers and increase engagement. Boosting Facebook posts costs a little but greatly expands reach.
Keeping up with technology with sophisticated consumers is a challenge but pays off when it’s done right. Tuscany is pioneering the way.
“Being on the cutting edge is a big thing for me,” Kelle says. And he doesn’t mean the cutting edge of incoming arrows.