November 26, 2021

How Designers Can Raise Their Profile and Compete Online

How Designers Can Raise Their Profile and Compete Online

The interior design industry has been ripe for disruption –– we were the ones willing to step in and make it happen. Decades of clunky processes coupled with savvy customers have made for a perfect storm that could cut the designers out. That is, unless they’re ready and willing to embrace a new, more streamlined way of buying.

Meet SideDoor.

We are a tool exclusively for designers to buy and sell products through curated collections that offer their customers a window into the trade-only world –– without losing commission. Let’s dive into how it works and how you can utilize the platform to raise your profile and compete in an increasingly online design world.

Here Are Your Challenges as an Interior Designer

From the Client Side

Clients no longer want to wait –– they’re more educated than ever and used to getting what they want, when they want it. They’re savvy and they can do their own research, and for better or worse, can try to figure out their own design aesthetic with the scroll of an iPhone.

Additionally, they expect a quick turnaround time on product selection and want to know pricing and details immediately. You meet with them today and they want instant gratification on this transaction. Plus, they’re used to buying from mainstream vendors. Clients use designers as the middleman who picks things out, then they go buy them online.

From the Industry Side

The design industry has relied on traditional and legacy business models. We’re used to trade vendors with sales reps and a system that involves accounts, purchase orders, order minimums, and other barriers. There’s a multi-step process to set up each account each time you want to place a new order with a new vendor. You waste time finding a sales rep, setting up an account, putting together the PO and credit card authorization, tracking the shipment, and coordinating delivery.

This results in legacy industry operations that take advantage of a complicated process, fragmented designer relations, and prevent designers from reaping the benefits. This stems from the antiquated belief that designers are great at picking out pretty things, but they’re not business people.

We both know that’s not true.

Looking Towards the Future

Designers in North America spec out more than $77 billion in product every year...but designers themselves don’t see a fair profit. Additionally, $55 billion of home furnishing will be sold in 2021 online, and that could be $348 billion by 2027.

Right now, Wayfair and Houzz are seeing major profits from those product earnings. Why aren’t you?

And, here’s a harsh reality check: those big-box retailers are spending big money every month targeting your customers. Now, it’s on you to win them back.

Here’s Your Solution

Make it Easy, Digital, Transparent

First, ask yourself, Is your net profit justifying the value you provided? If not, it’s time to embrace a new system. SideDoor streamlines this all into one process with up-to-the minute availability and access to designer net pricing. SideDoor is a simple tool that seeks to offer one thing: a way for you to monetize your taste. We help interior designers, e-designers, stagers, and home influencers raise their profiles and get their fair share of design profit.

This new world is easy, digital, and transparent. How can you bring this to your clients when the internet offers any product at their fingertips? You have to sell your skill, taste, and knowledge –– not just your to-the-trade access.

Keep this in mind: you are a creative director not a purchasing agent. Retailers are spending ad revenue to hit your customers before you do, so it’s time to compete on speed and efficiency.

Be Your Own Brand

In the current economy, you need a consistent and curated presence across your website and social media, and your social channels should all drive to your website. When you drive the right traffic to your website, the next step is to make it easy for them to hire you and buy from you.

Once they’re on your website, they need to stay and spend their money there. Think about it as browsing in a store. The longer you can keep them there and sell them an experience, the more likely they are to make a purchase. You’re in the business of selling a better way to live to your clients –– you’re the salesperson.

Here’s Your Easy Process

Sign Up and Curate

SideDoor is a free sales tool that allows designers to create shoppable collections and share them with clients and fans. Social networks are your showroom;  they’re all becoming social commerce platforms. This is your chance to curate the internet and reach your followers. Offer curated collections on your product organized by category, item type, and style. Make it easy, make it shoppable.

Share and Embed

Design a collection once and repurpose it to sell to others. You can embed your collections into your website, so no longer are you only making a profit on one design, instead you can share it with your followers and you could make a profit selling that room hundreds of times over.

Additionally, you can monetize your website, mood boards, emails, blog posts, and social accounts. The possibilities are endless.

Sell and Earn

Wondering how this free tool works? When you use SideDoor, you’ll see both your net pricing and the pricing your client pays –– you make the profit in between. We have one designer earned an extra $12,000 in commission in her first month alone. That’s profit that previously would have gone straight to the vendor!

With SideDoor, you don’t have to deal with dozens of vendor accounts and minimums. Never again waste time calling to check stock and shipping. Once your client purchases from one of your SideDoor collections, all logistics and procurement on the product within that order are handled by our team, even if it means working with 12 different vendors. Our talented group of specialists will take care of the POs, coordinating freight, tracking orders, and even handling claims. That means you can get back to doing what you do best: being creative, designing, and earning more revenue.

And, we make it easy, when the product is delivered, your commission is deposited into your bank account.  

The Frequently Asked Questions

Now, we’re going to answer a few FAQs that we’ve received from designers across the country.

How does SideDoor make money?

We centralize orders for all of these designers. We make the spread between stocking dealer and designer net price. You make the commission between designer net and client price.

What if I already have my own accounts with trade brands?

You should do whatever is easiest for you, but the benefit of SideDoor is going to one place to see what’s in stock, being able to seamlessly use the item in collections, and taking advantage of the hands-off process once the item has been purchased.

How do you handle returns, damaged goods, and other issues?

A lot of these to-the-trade vendors don’t take returns –– it’s a complicated process to return a console. Damages, however, are worked out on SideDoor’s end. We communicate with the freight and delivery company to iron out any issues regarding damages. You are not responsible and do not have to spend your own time on the issues.

Trucking and logistics are a nightmare right now. How do you handle logistics problems right now?

Yes, it is a nightmare right now, but it does not have to be your nightmare. Our team is aware of the current status of shipping day-to-day, so if you tell us where an item needs to go, we’ll get it there.

What are your partner brands seeing with lead times and how are you handling it?

As a designer, we allow you to go to one place to see inventory stock and lead times. We don’t want you to waste your time chasing down available items. We provide continuously updated information directly from the brands so you can provide the most up-to-date, in-stock items to customers. Your customer doesn’t want to wait 12 weeks for their dining table –– they want it now. We let you deliver that availability to your customers.

Does SideDoor integrate into my website for transactions or are they sent to SideDoor?

We handle the transaction because we handle tax withholding, payment processing and fees, and logistics. These interactions can be branded for your business, but it’s powered by SideDoor.

I found the same table from a vendor’s website for less. Can you offer that price?

We work with brands to offer the Internet Minimum Advertised Price –– the lowest price they can sell online. Some large online retailers will sell items at a loss and below that price, but it is not legitimate in the eyes of the brand.

If I create a moodboard, can I add tags to individual items?

Yes, it is super simple and our team is available to walk you through it.

Can I buy items myself? If so, how does that work?

Of course! This is a designer’s marketplace. You can buy these items at the designer net price, use designer checkout, choose whether you want it shipped to a receiver or directly, enter your info, and check out. It’s simple and easy.

Ready to Get Started?

SideDoor streamlines and makes your design business more efficient and more personal. We’re ready to disrupt the detached experience of shopping through major retailers. If you’re ready to make it easy and free to monetize your taste, apply to SideDoor today.

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