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How Freedom Furniture Plans to Return to Profitability
Freedom Furniture is taking new steps towards its digital transformation following a somewhat rocky start, to restore the chain to profitability.
Freedom Furniture is housed under Greenlit Brands, which operates retailers including Fantastic Furniture, Snooze and OMF.
The furniture retailer has ‘stabilised its technology challenges’ by building new services and capabilities. This is to drive a transformed view of its digital platform, creating a singular view of its data.
Freedom currently operates 58 stores across ANZ and has been underperforming in its profits and sales. As such, this new digital transformation aims to redevelop its personalised customer experience both online and in-store.
Freedom is using Boomi to assist with the digital transformation, which has replaced its legacy on-premises system with a more up-to-date SaaS application. While it’s traditionally a bricks-and-mortar business, the importance of having a fully operational and easy to use online platform is sacrosanct in today’s age.
“Freedom is a bricks and mortar company, and that’s important for the furniture industry where customers want to feel our products before taking home a new couch, dining set or otherwise,” shared Ricard McPartlin, the CIO at Freedom. “However, we’ve also rapidly expanded into homewares and simultaneously seen our ecommerce business explode with demand – particularly throughout the pandemic when shoppers aren’t spending for travel and can’t visit us.”
In what was traditionally considered a ‘backroom’ operation, the IT system has also been extended into the internal design team, which Kate Hopwood leads. Hopwood has previous experience working with Kmart, often cited as the ‘brains’ behind its transformation. In this role, Hopwood has changed 75 percent of Freedom’s product range, reflecting customer preferences and supporting local suppliers better.
“We’re continuing to increase the blend of affordable quality offered with distinctive Aussie design flare, and our goal to bring in more Australian and New Zealand suppliers – from mattresses right through to furniture and homewares – has overwhelmingly been supported by the consistent view of data Boomi enables,” she said.
“Historically, IT was a back-room function that worked in the dark with highly-customised bespoke applications that weren’t always delivering what the broader business needed. Boomi has been the driving force in turning this around and has effectively moved IT from the backroom to the boardroom.”
It’s not just the product range and ease of use that has improved due to this digital transformation, but it has also enhanced the customer experience and employee engagement.
“Freedom Furniture’s digital transformation is not only bringing customers an incredible selection of furniture and homewares but making every interaction a seamless and personalised one as shoppers update and refurnish their homes and home offices,” shared Nathan Gower, the Managing Director ANZ at Boomi. “With Boomi connecting all the digital dots in the organisation, Freedom has the data and insights it needs to better understand what customers want, and therefore source unique – and increasingly local – products that are reminiscent of this iconic, heritage brand.”
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