For Wichita Furniture, the experience of buying furniture is as important as the furniture itself. President and Founder Jay Storey stands by the idea that “associate experience” plus “guest experience” equals success. “Every day we come to work, we try to figure out how to improve the process.” Part of that process is ensuring that employees (associates) “believe in what we’re doing and are a part of our family,” says Jay. The other part is embracing what customers need. With that focus, Jay began as a one-man show in 1989, selling on consignment and transporting furniture to people’s homes in his pick-up. Today, Wichita Furniture has a 59,000-square-foot showroom of brand new furniture and delivers 3,000 pieces each week.
Jay is focused on building a robust e-commerce platform. “We already know that 90 percent of our customers go online and shop before they come into our brick-and-mortar location,” he says. In this effort, Google has become an indispensible resource. Their website traffic increased almost 50 percent in 2016, and Jay attributes the lion’s share of that growth to AdWords, Google’s advertising program. “AdWords not only drives traffic to our website, it brings qualified customers through our doors—people who have seen our products, know what they’re looking for, and are ready to pull the trigger. As a result, we’ve seen a drastic increase in our sales per guest,” he explains. They also use Google Analytics to gauge the effectiveness of their website and marketing campaigns, while YouTube lets them share content to familiarize people with their brand and products. “Just last year, we saw 14 percent growth because of our web presence,” says Jay.
Wichita Furniture served over 35,000 customers in 2016 alone. “And we’re just getting started,” Jay remarks. Now they’re developing a new web platform, where the consumer can not only make purchases, but track orders, schedule deliveries, and arrange service calls. “We want to be the best furniture company that we can be, and digital tools are going to get us there. This year, it’s our goal to just dig in and get maximum extraction out of everything Google and the web have to offer,” he explains. As Wichita Furniture forges ahead, they’ll continue to focus on their customers, employees, and community. “When you’re generating enough business that you can give back and grow within your community, that’s the most gratifying part,” Jay says.