How to beat competitors in 2024: tips from sales experts
The Forum on How to Beat Competitors in 2024? Key Competencies for the Furniture Market has taken place today at Mebel 2023.
The Forum brought together a large number of representatives of furniture companies operating in an environment of actively changing demand for furniture products, expanding online trade channels and intensifying competition in the market.
The main topic announced by the organisers was the dynamics and trends of the furniture market in 2023-2024. This was the subject of the first session, which was conducted by Managing Partner at Big Time Retail, author and lecturer of courses at MIRBIS Business School, corporate consultant and coach Stanislav Kazakov.
“In order to compete, you need to understand two things. The first is who our client is, and for whom we are competing. I can say that half of the companies in Russian business cannot answer this question, even though the client has changed quite a lot recently. The second is who we are competing with for the client,” said the business coach.
Stanislav Kazakov gave the latest statistics on the Russian furniture market, drawing particular attention to the steady decline in the average purchase receipt and the significant number (up to 66%) of potential buyers who felt their financial situation had deteriorated. In addition, there has been an increase in pent-up demand, when people would like to buy something but find it impossible to afford for economic reasons.
On the one hand, the statistics shows that the share of imports has dropped significantly but, most interestingly, it continues to decline. This is happening despite the fact that the market is being dynamically explored by manufacturers from China. Managers of domestic furniture production are faced with a choice either to work within the existing capacities or to increase output. The problem of business scaling is becoming a key issue, as it is associated with the risks of further fluctuations in the market environment and its unpredictability.
“Those who have occupied their market niche and effectively substituted imports have growing sales. In 2022, 2 billion orders worth 5.7 trillion roubles were placed online in the Russian Federation. This is 12% of all retail business and 30% of retail sales of all non-food sales in the Russian Federation,” said Stanislav Kazakov.
Effective digital marketing is becoming not just desirable for companies, but a prerequisite for their survival in a competitive environment. Many are working with this channel, but the furniture market remains one of the most backward in terms of digitalisation, both in terms of production and sales. Most furniture companies have really weak websites. According to Stanislav Kazakov, this is where the main potential for their development and competitiveness lies now, as online sales continue to grow and will reach around 220 billion roubles in 2023.
The speaker also dwelled on other aspects of successful furniture business, connected with attentive attitude to the client, who is oriented not only to the purchase, but also to its support from the seller, the client, who wants prompt elimination of possible problems, who is interested in flexible customization of the model range depending on their needs, and in a skillful combination of online and offline strategies and platforms for selling furniture products.
The forum also touched upon various aspects of the furniture business, which were covered during several sessions conducted by Executive Chair at the Association of Development Directors, CEO, partner of the Sustainable Development Strategies Russian Consulting Group Evgeniy Pecherin, and General Director at KPG Training Centre, corporate consultant and coach Natalia Lebedeva.
Press Service, EXPOCENTRE AO