Purchasing furniture and home decor is a fairly standard experience. Customers browse online or wander through a stark showroom, order their pieces, and move on with their lives.
RH (formerly Restoration Hardware) turns that on its head by creating an immersive experience that builds a lifestyle brand, not just sells products. RH’s unique approach to membership, social media, and physical stores has created a loyal following and incredible growth.
Here are five customer experience strategies from RH.
1) Build loyalty through a membership model.
RH takes a unique approach for furniture brands with a membership model required for all purchases. For $175 annually, customers can save 25% off all full-priced items and 20% off all sale items. The discount encourages customers to commit to the brand and creates a sense of exclusivity and luxury. The annual fee easily pays for itself in one purchase, making it worthwhile for customers. Instead of feeling like a number or any other shopper, RH members feel part of something bigger and have a sense of loyalty and ownership to the brand.
RH states, “Our goal is to provide the best possible customer experience – from shopping our galleries, source books and websites to our white-glove delivery. We look forward to offering the highest level of quality and service.” By focusing on loyal customers as members, the brand can deliver a targeted and high-quality experience because customers have (literal) buy-in.
2) Blur the lines of traditional retail.
When many brands are reducing their physical spaces, RH is building large, free-standing galleries to showcase its products. But these aren’t typical furniture showrooms. RH galleries bring in natural light, landscaping, stunning architecture, and even restaurants to create an experience that evokes emotions and also happens to showcase its products. Every aspect of the experience is designed to feel different from what customers are used to from other brands.
RH Galleries create a beautiful and enjoyable shopping experience, but they are also places people love to explore and visit when they aren’t prepared to buy furniture. The approach is crucial in an industry where customers aren’t often buying repeat products close together—the goal of buying a well-crafted furniture piece is that you won’t need to buy another for a while—but RH Galleries keep the brand relevant for customers.
3) Reward loyal customers with complementary services.
Joining the RH membership program isn’t just about the discounts. Members also receive services to take the experience to the next level. Members can access complimentary design services where an interior designer offers an in-person or virtual consultation to discuss their needs and style and make recommendations. Designers present customers with personalized product, textile, and color options for one room or their entire home.
The benefits of this strategy are two-fold: it streamlines the experience for customers by integrating design services so customers are more likely to be satisfied with their purchase, and it elevates the typical shopping experience. RH demonstrates it cares about its customers and products by ensuring they have the personalized care and styling to make their homes beautiful.
4) Bring the magic back to retail.
CEO Gary Friedman is open about his willingness to change the status quo, stating, “I’m interested in bringing the magic back to physical retail, whatever investment that takes in money, creative involvement, and time.”
RH aims to add magic to every customer interaction and turn mundane or overwhelming shopping experiences into special activities where customers feel excited, encouraged, and empowered. It’s not just about going to the store or browsing a website to find a new couch—it’s about building a magical experience that transports customers.
5) Use digital to enhance the shopping experience.
RH is known for its immersive in-person experience and even mails physical catalogs, but its digital platform adds to a compelling shopping experience. Much like it changed physical retail, RH aims to reconceptualize what a website can and should be. Its website walks the fine line of being an immersive experience while also being simple and easy to navigate.
With video and detailed photography to showcase the products, the website highlights the designers and the reason behind the designs. Instead of simply pushing products, RH tells a story and sells a lifestyle.
Noticeably, RH is absent from all social media channels. It’s a move to control the narrative, make the brand more exclusive, and drive potential customers to the in-store or online RH experience.
RH understands the power of customer experience and builds an immersive and connective experience around every turn. Instead of cutting corners and slashing costs, RH leans into the customer experience to build a brand people love.
Blake Morgan is a customer experience futurist and the author of The Customer Of The Future. Sign up for her weekly email here.