What started in 2008 as The Comfortable Couch Company in North Carolina has flourished into COCOCO Home, a brand with national reach that produces and ships as many as 100 contemporary seating furniture pieces per week using more than 300,000 square feet of leather in the production. Founded by Steve and Danielle Sechrest, the COCOCO team is passionate about the quality and artistry of every piece of furniture they create.
New Challenges Due to COVID Restrictions
Prior to the onset of the pandemic, COCOCO Home operated like most furniture showrooms — inviting customers to visit in person to browse through their inventory and discuss the numerous design options available. It did not utilize any sort of live video interaction with customers who lived too far away to visit a showroom and limited itself to traditional telephonic exchanges, mailing swatches, etc.
However, during the COVID-19 shutdown, with the increased awareness of video calls, the team started to rethink the role of their showrooms, especially their flagship showroom in North Carolina. They realized that they could leverage the showroom experience to enhance service to their local customers and those who otherwise needed to travel to visit by using telepresence technology.
COCOCO has a wide selection of furniture in their facility and believes that educating their customers about various leather options and fabrics is very important. This interaction is central to their in-person customer experience. As restrictions eased and they re-opened, the team tried Zoom calls using cell phones but found that experience, while helpful, lacked the more fully-immersive experience they were looking for. That is when they discovered Ohmni Robot.
The Solution: Ohmni Robot for Retail
The founders’ son, Clark Sechrest, was familiar with telepresence and suggested that it might be a good solution for COCOCO. Based on Steve’s research, Ohmni offered the best balance of features and price. The high definition camera was the most important feature for COCOCO since they needed to deliver images that accurately displayed the color and texture of their fabrics.
Steve also liked the horizontal orientation of the screen and found the interface very intuitive and easy to use. Most of COCOCO’s customers find Ohmni easy to drive. If they are at all uncomfortable with the navigation, a COCOCO rep can move the robot around the showroom for them. Even though the floor is a bit bumpy — the store used to be a cotton mill — the robot has no issues getting around.
Customers Love Virtual Consultations
Using Ohmni Robot for retail, COCOCO offers Virtual Showroom Consultations to customers in one-hour time blocks with an average of 10-15 such appointments per week. Upon booking Chester (named after the Chesterfield couches they design), customers receive an email where they are introduced to Chester and learn how the robot will help make their shopping experience more immersive and interactive. COCOCO includes a pdf that shows how to navigate Chester but also reassures customers that if they have difficulty, an in-store salesperson can easily navigate Chester through the showroom for them.
“Our favorite thing about Ohmni Robot is the ability it gives us to interact with our customers in a natural and spontaneous manner. We enjoy telling our story to our customers and helping them make good decisions and the robot has been extremely helpful with that.”
Using the robot, a COCOCO rep can stand in front of the customer as they normally and demonstrate how deep a particular couch style is, for example. They are able to sit with customers at the leather sample table and conduct the same presentation as they would in person discussing the advantages of various styles, showing all of the available colors at the same time. Customers have almost uniformly responded very positively to the experience.
Recently, Chester facilitated a tour for a customer in the Cayman Islands while her parents explored the showroom in person to give their perspective.
Since using Ohmni, sales have been exceedingly strong, and there is no question that the robot consultations have played an important role in driving sales since a very high percentage of people who use the virtual service place an order. Even the employees use Chester — they log in to the robot to attend team meetings.
“This has become a big avenue for us to help customers all over the country. This has taken our ability to connect with customers to a different level.”
COCOCO will continue using Ohmni Robot beyond COVID-19 and perhaps expand its use to its other showrooms so they can host virtual consultations as business picks up. It is also considering giving customers the ability to access Chester for self-guided tours after-hours to give customers additional flexibility with showroom visits.
“We have had very strong sales, and many, many of the people with whom we have used our robot for virtual consultations have ended up placing orders, and many of them have mentioned that experience as having been especially helpful in making their decisions.”
Visit Our Store
Ready to purchase your very own Ohmni Robot to take your sales to a new level? Head over to our store for more information.