This case study highlights Groms.com and its co-founders, Polina Kutaeva and Joakim Mellander. Groms is a U.S.-based online furniture retailer and customer of OneStepCheckout. Kutaeva was kind enough to open up about her personal situation, how she and her partner set up their online business, and the recipe for their successful venture.
Her story is special and intense — it’s all about grit and innovation. In this article, we will highlight the top drivers for Groms’ business success, hoping it will inspire you, help you ask the right questions, implement innovative strategies … and maybe have a little fun.
Brand Positioning: Product, Price, Placement and Promotion (the 4Ps)
The 4Ps is a classic market strategy framework that helps you define how your proposition will be unique and meet consumer needs.
The idea for Groms was born when Kutaeva and Mellander realized that neither they nor their friends could find affordable, good-quality design items to furnish their houses, and, when they could, the biggest pain point was making sure that the various items fit the room and went well together.
They identified a clear gap in the U.S. furniture market and translated it into a business strategy:
Core target audience:
Thirtysomething middle-class professionals with an eye for aesthetics but no time to fiddle around with style and room layouts.
Product and services:
High-end furniture that is durable and looks like what you see in home decor magazines. Comes with free interior design consultation to make the below placement/distribution channel work.
Mid-range. There is a clear gap between high-end luxury brands and the bottom end of the market.
Distribution will be online to reach as many consumers from the core target audience as possible. The audience is tech-savvy and knows that browsing saves time compared to physically visiting stores and showrooms.
The key challenge is to create a sensory-rich shopping experience, similar to what consumers would expect from a luxury furniture store. Therefore, the founders focused on the artistic direction of the site and created a library of stunning looks shot in super high resolution.
The communication channels of choice are those that can do justice to the visual effect of the home design look, and spark desire, conversation and inspiration. They did this through:
● Paid ads, particularly on Facebook
● Organic social media through their Facebook and Instagram accounts: Groms Home (30K followers) and Polina Design Academy (11K followers)
● Influencer marketing: influencers contact Groms to promote their products
● Streaming: opportunities with shows such as “Queer Eye” or “Dancing with the Stars” participants
● Remarketing and abandon cart emails to boost conversion at the bottom of the online sales funnel
Bringing Your USP to Life With e-Commerce Innovation: Mix-and-Match Feature on Magento 2
Technology is about solving users’ pain points, and the ambition of the founders of Groms from the start was to remove the hassle of not knowing what pieces of furniture fit together from a dimension and proportion point of view but also from an aesthetic point of view.
As such, they briefed their Magento Agency, Bemeir, and the team came up with an innovative Magento 2 customization that would allow consumers to pick items from the Groms website and mix and match them to create their dream look.
Here is a live demo of the mix-and-match feature.
You can also play around on their live site.
Not only is the experience fun and engaging, riding on the popularity of Facebook games such as Home Design or Escape Garden, it is also unique and makes Groms stand out in the furniture retail landscape.
Last but not least, to save your look and share it with your friends, you need to create an account. What better way to capture leads and grow by word of mouth?
Community-led Growth: Inspire and Sell Through Aesthetics and Empathy
Co-founder Polina Kutaeva adds a magic touch to Groms that brings the business to life. In the past, growth was led by product innovation and push, then by marketing with high-frequency, high-reach campaigns. Today, especially for online businesses that address a very specific segment of the market, it’s more about finding that niche, nurturing it and giving consumers what they need. That’s why Kutaeva gets inbound requests from influencers who want to promote her brand.
If you watch her Instagram stories, you can see how human and personable she is. Check out her Groms Q&A Instagram story highlights. This is such a great idea to bring more oomph to a typically boring FAQ and reinforce your company’s USP, or unique selling proposition.
Kutaeva is genuinely interested in her community. She asks questions, she listens and she is generous with her most precious asset: her time. Because she listens, she gets better insights into what her community needs, wants and struggles with and, as a result, she came up with another service to offer: Home Design MasterClasses.
Use Science to Turn Your Art Into Gold
After you master the art of engaging the right people with your brand, you need to apply the science to convert all your magic into actual sales.
Notice how well Groms drives Instagram users from its beautiful posts directly to the relevant SKU page on their Magento 2 store.
For over 10 years, studies have shown that cart abandonment is still the biggest challenge for e-commerce websites. It’s still high, at about 70%. That means that out of 10 shoppers who are in awe with your brand and choose to buy a product, seven drop off at checkout.
The reasons for this behavior can be grouped into three major themes:
- Shipping and returns: costs are too high, delivery is too slow and the return policy is unsatisfactory
- Checkout process: forcing users to create an account, form filling too long and complex, not seeing totals upfront, site crashed
- Payments: having to enter financial information, not enough payment options, credit card declined
With those insights, the Groms team, in collaboration with Maier Bianchi from Bemeir, decided to use the OneStepCheckout extension to address a big chunk of the checkout barriers listed above in one go while adhering to the premium style guidelines of the brand.
Here is a short video of Bianchi showcasing the checkout customization he performed for Groms’ Magento 2 store and what exact pain points they are addressing.
We hope this article gave you a good feel of how to use digital marketing and e-commerce to bring your brand and products to life, especially in industries where aesthetics and sensory experiences play an important role. The key thing to nail is to make sure all this work pays off and converts into actual sales by identifying friction points at every step of your online sales funnel and finding hassle-free ways to remove them.