Palliser rolls out Studio gallery program at retail

Physical store footprint combines with digital custom tools to bring upholstery line to life for consumers on the sales floor

WINNIPEG, Manitoba — When Palliser launched its Studio gallery concept two markets ago, the goal was to combine technology with product selection to engage consumers with a wide selection of SKUs and options.

Thus, consumers would not only see the footprints on the floor but also ways to tailor it to their liking on a kiosk featuring a 3D modeling tool that lets them see various SKUs in multiple fabrics, leathers, configurations and leg options, not to mention with pillows and companion accent pieces such as storage ottomans.

Customers also can see what their preferred footprint will cost as they design it in the system. In turn, their selections afford the company real-time information on what types of designs are doing the best in the marketplace.

The Design Center at the company’s High Point showroom offers a wide selection of custom leathers and fabrics.

So far the concept appears to be resonating as the company has signed up Studio footprints at around 200 store locations across the U.S. and Canada. The company is just starting to install these galleries, which are expected to range from 3,000 to around 15,000 square feet, William A. Doherty III, senior vice president of product design and visual merchandising, recently told Home News Now.

Doherty said the gallery concept is not necessarily unique in the marketplace. However, it gives Palliser the opportunity to introduce the company’s expanded lineup to consumers who may not be familiar with the brand.

The company showcases a mix of its upholstery in its High Point showroom, giving retailers ideas on how they can display vignettes in their own Studio galleries.

Thus, instead of just having a sofa/loveseat/chair combination along with a sectional or two on the floor, retailers and their customers have a more comprehensive mix including stationary and motion sofas and sectionals along with ottomans, recliners and accent chairs available in 75 leathers and 75 fabrics.

“The whole idea is to differentiate ourselves from our competitors at retail,” Doherty said, noting that the goal is to create a niche and visual merchandising story on the sales floor that helps set the company apart.

A digital kiosk lets customers pick their fabric, leather and configuration, be it one or two pieces or modular sectional footprint.

“So when a customer walks into a multiline store, we want to be able to create a presentation that speaks to our brand and again differentiates us from the others. We want to have a cohesive story and we want consumers to know they are in a Palliser area, if you will, and be able to dictate the tone of the space.”

He said that the concept helps retailers as well by offering a presentation that is both appealing and “helps define the area and breaks up their store from the monotony of sofa, after sofa, after sofa.”

“We have been out there selling the concept and that has been our pitch, and so far it’s been phenomenal,” he added of the response at retail.

The concept remains on display in the company’s showroom in Space 400 of 220 Elm, showcasing multiple seating categories. It also has a design center with a selection of custom leathers and fabrics and a touch digital screen similar to what’s available for consumers to customize and build their product at retail.

The display helps retailers visualize the wide selection of custom options, while also offering a sense of how they transition between colors, textures and hues.

“We try to make it easy to coordinate, and you can see how it easily moves from blues to greens to neutrals and cognac colors,” Doherty said, noting that the vast majority of the fabrics have a performance element, with offerings that are suitable for the entire room. “So they can choose what’s best for them. Our job is to educate the retailer and ultimately get the end consumer the right product in their  home. It is about selling from strength. So, if you don’t want leather that’s fine; we also have fabric, we have leather alternatives and we have accent patterns. We just want to make sure we are checking off all the boxes so ultimately, when you get the product in your home you are happy.”

Thomas Russell

Home News Now Editor-in-Chief Thomas Russell has covered the furniture industry for 25 years at various daily and weekly consumer and trade publications. He can be reached at and at 336-508-4616.

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