What’s new with Coaster?

It’s exactly that: the emphasis on new for an importer that has worked overtime to keep dealers up on what’s in stock locally.

SANTA FE SPRINGS, Calif. —  As consumer demand slows and retailer warehouses fill up, whole-home furniture resource Coaster Fine Furniture has been making a series of marketing moves that better speak to retailers’ new needs.

And “new” is the operative word. For the first time, the importer is flagging items in its popular print catalog as new. It has updated its dealer portal to call attention to what’s new and will be moving to do the same soon on dealers’ in-store kiosks.

The company, which typically introduces new product in Las Vegas, also brought out many first-time-seen products at the April High Point Market for the first time in recent memory.

It’s a significant adjustment for a company that’s been pushing retailers to take advantage of its technology throughout the pandemic (and long before) to promote what’s in stock and ready to ship from their closest Coaster distribution center. That in-stock messaging won’t be going away, but Coaster’s new work on “new” is adding another layer of service that’s just now rising to a priority on retailers’ shopping lists.

Coaster’s Marlene Vidal

“I heard  so many people coming in this market and say, ‘What do you have new?’ not “What do you have in stock?” Marlene Vidal, Coaster’s corporate sales and marketing manager, told Home News Now. “It’s surprising. It keeps changing.”

Even before market, Coaster had initiated a plan to change, too. In the past, its catalog would hit retailer stores at the beginning of the year, and then retailers would have to wait months for the new product they were seeing to show up in Coaster’s U.S. warehouses. Last year, because of the supply chain issues, Coaster decided it would behoove the company and its dealers to time new product and its annual catalog to arrive at roughly same time.

So the print catalog was delayed so that it would hit retailers in Q2, Vidal said. This time they got it right after High Point Market. What’s more, Coaster changed the look of the catalog — actually four books covering its bedroom, living room, dining room and office and accents categories — so that new items were flagged “new.” For almost a year during the pandemic, Coaster didn’t have anything new, Vidal said, again choosing to focus on that earlier demand for whatever is in stock. Now, the catalog is chock full of new. She estimated some 400 to 500 SKUs are new for 2022.

Coaster’s dealer portal now flags new product and features a “new arrivals” tab , making it more in sync with the importer‘s popular print catalog.

“We also started amping up e-blasts to our dealers, announcing when things hit the warehouse so they can log into our Coaster Connect (dealer portal) and take a look,” she said. 

And just like with the catalog, a few weeks ago, Coaster launched a “New Arrivals’ tab on the portal so dealers can easily see and sort for what’s new (as well as filter for “in stock only”). The company has not yet flagged new items on its Coaster Retail Connect in-store kiosks, but that’s coming, Vidal said, adding that a refresh of the kiosks is slated for later this year.

“This year our goal is to align all of our portals to have the same information … to improve and enhance the front-end experience as well as the back-end experience,” she said. 

The company wants to demonstrate that its retailers are top of mind, that, “We’re hearing their feedback and we’re trying to make these improvements to make it easier for them to sell Coaster products.”

Clint Engel

Clint Engel is a veteran home furnishings industry journalist and executive editor of Home News Now. Please share your feedback with him at clint@homenewsnow.com

View all posts by Clint Engel →

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