Value City Furniture is a Columbus retail institution that has expanded with stores and online sales across the country. Owned and operated by American Signature, Inc., the furniture retailer continues to be family owned and is headed today by Jonathan Schottenstein, president of American Signature.
Like many businesses, the company is adapting to a new reality and retail environment in the midst of the COVID-19 pandemic.
Chief marketing officer Alejandro Alvarez of American Signature, which is based in Columbus, in an email told the CJN about how the business is faring and adapting to serve its customers.
CJN: Tell me about the state of the furniture business over the last few weeks. What kind of changes has Value City Furniture had to make?
ALVAREZ: Just like most retailers with stores or showrooms, our business has been negatively impacted by the coronavirus pandemic. As a fast-moving company with a tight family culture, we were able to make quick adjustments to the way we service our customers as well as the way we work together as a team. Our customers’ safety and well-being have always been our first priority. As such, we made the difficult decision to temporarily close all of our Value City Furniture and American Signature Furniture stores. Because we have a responsibility to the safety and well-being of all our associates, we are also working on ways to provide them with support during this challenging time. What has not changed is our commitment to earning and keeping our customer’s trust.
CJN: What kind of innovative solutions have you employed to make things work?
ALVAREZ: We have consciously decided to focus our attention on the things we believe matter most to people during these times: empathy and understanding. This is why we are committed to working with our customers to answer any question or request they may have; from rescheduling in-home deliveries, to offering them no-contact alternatives. At the same time, we are aware that some of our customers may experience financial hardship as a result of COVID-19 and we are working with our lending partners to offer assistance for credit customers when possible.
CJN: What have you struggled with?
ALVAREZ: We believe that struggles present opportunities for improvement and innovation. Our focus on the customer and our family of associates is fostering new, more efficient processes and communication methods as well as potential future opportunities to serve the customers the way they want to be served.
CJN: Is there any part of your business that is doing well under such circumstances?
ALVAREZ: Our e-commerce site, vcf.com, had recently undergone significant changes that have proven to be fruitful. We had recently redesigned the site to feature our Designer Looks collection – offering designer styles at down-to-earth prices – more prominently and re-envisioned the checkout process to make it faster and more intuitive. We continue to deliver online purchases while closely following the safety measures we’ve added to our distribution and home delivery processes. Customers can also request that purchases be left at their front door when we call them at the time of delivery.