As part of our D2C special in October's issue of Furniture News, Lynne White, head of business development at boxed sofa brand Swyft, shares her insights on why consumer-facing brands take B2B directions …
When did your D2C brand first take a B2B route, and why?
We always wanted to go this route. My role was created specifically to launch and develop the B2B sector – we knew it was a market that Swyft would work extremely well in, both with retailers and also on the interior design, home staging, build-to-rent and landlord sectors. These sectors still face similar issues that B2C has, where lead times are still long and compromises are being made to enable a faster turnaround to buy a quality sofa.
How did you approach that market?
We made sure we did lots of searching for the right retailer and trade partner through many different channels. One pivotal point in our strategy was when we attended two trade shows in January 2020 – this was the first time Swyft had been showcased physically outside of London.
The response was immense, and our strategy was formed literally there and then. We launched with our first trade partners in March 2020, and have gone from strength to strength.
We knew we didn’t want Swyft to be everywhere, so I have been really selective with who we partner with – we work as partners, which really helps develop that relationship between us, the brand, and them.
It’s important to me that our partners really understand what Swyft is about. We are not just a flatpack sofa – we are young, dynamic, and offer sustainability. We move at a rapid pace. Partners have been excited that we launch new models regularly, and offer an exciting product range at a great price and excellent quality. They really appreciate our customer service level too, so if by chance something does go slightly awry, we move fast to rectify it too.
How does your trade-facing communication differ from your consumer-facing work?
My role is all about the trade. I have a trade manager who now mainly manages our interiors side – he works with customers that need help with their interior projects, he can offer great advice and, for those that need it, we can now offer Crib 5 fabrics for those projects.
We do send out marketing emails to those trade customers which use more trade-related terminology and more designer-led communications. We usually have many communications with a trade customer before they order, and they enjoy the benefit of that personal service.
We have also created a store PoS to help our retail bricks-and-mortar partners to promote Swyft in-store, and offer giveaways so they can promote Swyft to their social media followers, too.
What’s the growth potential – and limitations?
I will limit the number of retail partners we have (I have just launched with John Lewis as our national retail partner). As long as our factory can manufacture stock, then we can continue to grow and there shouldn’t be many limitations.
The potential is huge, and I feel we have only scratched the surface of supplying into the B2B sector.
Can you provide an example or two of how you successfully work with trade partners to achieve results?
Launching in John Lewis is a massive result – and is testament to the strength of such a young and new – yet exciting – brand, that constantly delivers. We launched three weeks ago, and we are already well above the forecasted numbers.
Read more in October's issue of Furniture News magazine.