27 May 2024, 14:46
By Furniture News Feb 20, 2024

Snug in the city

Like so many disruptor brands, sofa-in-a-box pioneer Snug started out as a digital native, but quickly came to appreciate the benefits of going multichannel. This autumn, the modular sofa specialist, which is now owned by ScS, opened new stores in Westfield London and Islington Square – giving customers in the capital even more chance to “sit before they commit”, says Snug’s head of retail, Rebecca Leathers …

How big is Snug’s physical retail estate?

Snug is currently available in 27 different physical locations, which includes a mixture of solo Snug pop-ups and concessions in both ScS and Bridgman, with further expansion planned for the future.

Are you seeing good transactional growth in bricks and mortar? 

We’re one of the UK’s first digitally native sofa brands, but can really see the value in having a physical presence. Although the majority of upholstery sales are accounted for digitally, we recognise that by increasing our bricks-and-mortar footprint we’re able to create an even bigger proposition, complementing our ecommerce offering while fuelling our growth ambitions.

Consumer habits are changing, and our customer journey is constantly evolving. Our goal is to seamlessly blur the boundaries between online and in-store, offering our customers an omnichannel approach that allows for a positive shopping experience, regardless of their location in the UK. Whether through live shopping, phone interactions, in-person visits or online browsing, we’re committed to providing surprise and delight moments at every customer touchpoint.

What makes the stores helpful in conveying your offer? The ability to demonstrate your ranges’ modularity or mechanisms in person, perhaps?

Pop-ups are becoming a key part of our brand footprint, allowing us to bring our digital experience into a physical space whilst reaching new audiences across the country.

Our locations offer an opportunity to grow the Snug community, placing us at the beating heart of some of the UK’s most-loved shopping destinations, with friendly and knowledgeable Snug staff who understand exactly what homeowners are looking for. We don’t want to be known as ‘just another sofa brand’, and so to make the experience more enjoyable, and to convey Snug’s brand DNA, we focus on creating an experiential space that sets us apart from our competitors.

Modularity and ease of installation are two of our strongest USPs, so being able to demonstrate these in person is a big win. By providing a physical space to showcase the creative and adaptable nature of our sofas, we’re able to give our customers who prefer to sit before they commit a place to experience first-hand just how comfortable our sofas really are.

Another key USP for Snug is speed, and we’re very confident in our offering. A customer can come into one of our stores, buy a sofa and have confidence it will be delivered in days, not months, which has been a key part of our identity from the very start.

How have your physical concessions/stores evolved?

Our first pop-up opened in Leeds back in 2021. Originally this was only planned to be temporary, but, after seeing great results, it quickly became a key pillar in our retail portfolio. Since we joined the ScS family, we’ve been launching Snug concessions in a selection of ScS stores across the UK, with more openings planned this year.

How do the new London showrooms differ from your existing outlets?

Westfield was our first London-based Snug-only store, which was closely followed by our Islington Square location. Our new Westfield London pop-up perfectly represents our brand DNA, showcasing our playful personality with a dedicated cinema area and a range of engaging customer activations. From interactive workshops to TikTok challenges and more, it allows us to inject something different into one of London’s busiest shopping centres, setting us apart from other retailers in the space. 

How important are capital locations to the brand? 

Capital locations are key for brands like us – especially a prime shopping location such as Westfield London, with its regular year-round footfall. As one of the biggest and best-known brands offering modular sofas, it made sense for us to open stores where our customers are. 

Being able to fit through tight doorways and awkward-shaped hallways is one of the many benefits of Snug. We previously ran a survey that revealed that one in three people struggle to fit a sofa into their home – looking specifically at London, 51% said they faced this same problem, emphasising the significance of these capital locations to our business.

Westfield London’s opening was accompanied by special events including in-store Halloween film screenings and a sofa assembly challenge. What else do you have planned?

We’re known for going against the grain and doing things differently, which is why we like to offer shoppers something they won’t find anywhere else. As consumers become fatigued and overwhelmed with the market, it’s important we offer a new shopping experience that surprises and delights customers while continuing to innovate and push the boundaries.

At Snug, we’re passionate about making our customer journey as interactive as possible to cater to the changing consumer habits that prioritise an omnichannel approach to shopping. To best service our customers, we feel strongly about creating a genuine connection with our customers through a seamless shopping experience from online to offline.

What do you hope to achieve from such audience engagement exercises?

They allow us to showcase our personality on a wider scale. We pride ourselves on being different and challenging the norm, so this is always at the forefront of every decision when planning in-store activations. Not only this, but seeing a product in-person encourages conversation, allowing us to build relationships with both existing and new shoppers interested in the Snug brand.

How is the sale of ScS likely to impact the Snug business/brand?

It’s definitely still business as usual for Snug. If anything, it has just encouraged us to aspire to be even bigger than before. It’s an exciting opportunity for all involved, and will open more doors for us across new markets. To be connected to another well-respected member of the furniture industry only allows us to continue growing the Snug brand.

Are there any plans to expand Snug’s product portfolio/styles?

We are always looking at ways to expand and optimise our product portfolio, building on customer feedback and consumer habits – whether that’s introducing a new collection, fabric or style to our existing collections, just as we did with our award-winning Stitch & Switch range last year.

As a reactive brand, we really value feedback from our customers and use this to help guide our product development and keep us ahead of the game. There are new range extensions planned this year, which will allow us to continue offering our customers even more choice and flexibility when it comes to sofa buying.

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