Crate and Barrel is seeing positive returns in extending its sales and marketing channels beyond CrateandBarrel.com and its 107 stores. CEO Neela Montgomery, who joined the retail chain in 2017, has embarked on a series of marketing and sales agreements with other companies, including wedding registry site Zola, furniture rental firm Fernish and Gwyneth Paltrow’s media/retail company Goop, to get more consumers experiencing and buying Crate and Barrel goods. And those relationships are bearing fruit.
Montgomery shared early results in a presentation at the Shoptalk conference Tuesday. More than 30,000 couples have registered for Crate and Barrel products through Zola since October, when the arrangement went live, Montgomery said. Zola is a registry that offers products from many brands and retailers, and couples can maintain a single registry there rather than create registries with multiple retailers. Montgomery said the intent is to be where shoppers are and if that’s Zola, it wants to be there. She noted that Crate and Barrel’s own registry program is the fourth-largest registry business in the United States, and 80% of the retailer’s registry sales are online.
Crate and Barrel is also working with startup furniture rental company Fernish. Fernish is active in Seattle and Los Angeles. 85% of Crate and Barrel’s customers are homeowners, but the age of first-time homeowners is creeping upward. Montgomery said it’s now 34, but consumers in their 20s and early 30s still want nicer furniture pieces, but don’t want to commit long term if those pieces won’t fit in their next apartment or eventual home. “We want those customers to like Crate and Barrel and CB2 earlier,” Montgomery said.
A marketing arrangement between Crate and Barrel’s CB2 brand and Goop also played out successfully, Montgomery said. It involved a co-branded marketing campaign that spanned print, digital and live events at CB2 stores, and involved 50-plus products. The Goop lifestyle may be polarizing for some consumers, but it drove positive returns. “People love or hate Goop, but it’s one of the most successful collaborations we’ve ever had,” Montgomery said.
Montgomery is focused on building up the experience consumers have in its stores and is doing so in part by blending digital and physical assets. The retailers now offers one-on-one furniture and décor consultations in its stores through its Design Studio service. That service includes staff decorators creating digital renderings of how products will look in consumers’ homes, and there’s an augmented reality component as well. 76% of shoppers who use the Design Studio service make a purchase.
Montgomery said to expect to see the brand roll out more retail concepts that are service-based in its stores. “There will be more services and there will be more events,” she said, noting how the retailer will open a full-service restaurant in its Oak Brook, Illinois, store this spring, its first foray into the space.
Today, 45% of Crate and Barrel’s sales are online, and that’s OK by Montgomery. She says the long purchase journey involved in buying items like furniture and other home décor items involves consumers doing a lot of research—on the website, on social media, in stores and more. “You may just be completing the journey online,” she said, but all components work together to create the sale.
Crate and Barrel is owned by Otto Group, a privately held German holding company. When tallying together the online sales of its multiple retail holdings, Otto is the eighth-largest online retailer in the world, according to Internet Retailer research.Favorite