CHICAGO — As Interior Define’s product offerings keep growing, so, too, does its brick-and-mortar footprint, in both size and scope.
The Chicago-based direct-to-consumer customizable furniture maker and retailer is amid a rapid expansion plan, which started last year with a goal of having 30 new stores in place by the end of 2022. These stores are typically around 5,000 square feet or around double the size of Interior Define’s older showrooms.
This aggressive expansion comes after a big year in product growth. Interior Define significantly grew its product assortment in 2021 with a more than fourfold increase in product categories over the previous year and has similar growth plans strategized for 2022.
Officials note that there’s a connection between product category growth and the need for more and bigger stores.
“With our expansion into broader collections and categories, we needed more square footage in order to highlight the breadth of our growing assortment, and we found this larger square footage drove substantially more sales per square foot as a result,” Jill John, Interior Define’s chief customer officer, told Furniture Today, “so we made a move to secure those larger locations knowing the eventual upside.”
John said the larger floor plans drove 200% to 300% lifts in the markets and allows Interior Define to showcase some 80% of its product assortment, with room to add more as those offerings expand.
“(It also makes) room for growth across recently introduced categories — including the dining collection with dining chairs, counter stools, dining tables, benches and buffets — and expanded into more than 10 new categories to build out the living room, dining room and home offices to help customers create an entire space that is uniquely theirs,” she said. “Interior Define will continue to build out the lifestyle segment into 2022 with an aggressive roadmap of product introductions also including bedroom.”
In recent months, the new Interior Define Studio formats have opened in Dallas, Atlanta and Charlotte, N.C., with Santa Monica, Calif., and Minneapolis coming soon. Additionally, plans for a spring opening in Baltimore were recently revealed. John said the company uses a wealth of information to determine where its best opportunities lie.
“Being a data-first brand, we know where our existing and future customers are,” she said. “We start by prioritizing overall market size and growth potential, and then compare against proven demand we have seen in those markets, focusing on our most valuable customer segment. As a result, when we follow this formula and open new Interior Define Studios, we see higher engagement, conversion rates, average order size and NPS scores.”
One new feature in each of the new stores is the Interactive Design Studio, which offers consumers the opportunity to see, touch and share customization options in person by showcasing fabrics, cushion fills, leg options and more. John said the concept bridges the gap between the brick-and-mortar experience and online by bringing the website’s limitless options to the store.
“Interior Define has always offered customers the option to meet one-to-one with the talented team of Design Experts to help guide them through the full customization process, start to finish, at no cost,” she said. “Similar to the online experience, technology will also play a major role in the Define Studios, providing Design Experts with the data and tools they need to better serve the customers.”
And with a workforce that is 70% female, Interior Define is working to mirror that representation in the boardroom. Today, around 60% of its executive team is women, and John noted that it’s purpose driven to bring as many different perspectives to the table.
“Women bring different perspectives and approaches to business, resulting in a more inclusive workplace. Gender and racial diversity in the workplace is a core value that has always driven the culture of Interior Define and will continue to do so,” she said.
“Organizations with higher levels of diversities tend to outgrow those with fewer diversity percentages. So at Interior Define, we believe a more diverse culture can leverage different perspectives, structural and cultural differences, which ultimately drive more effective solutions.”