A commercial reality that for over 70 years has been operating in the furniture and interior design sector, now has reached its third generation. Located in Cernusco sul Naviglio, on the outskirts of Milan, Arredamenti Perego was founded in 1938 and has gradually transformed from a craftsman’s workshop into a solid commercial reality, working with about forty brands, Italian and international, with a medium/high target. The showroom, of over 2,000 square meters of exhibition space, is an elegant building on two floors and has about ten employees, to which are added external collaborations in case of special needs.
In the showroom, we met Federica Perego, who, together with her sister Cristiana, architect, leads the company today.
The first question could only concern the situation immediately linked to the health emergency, from the period of closure to the restart.
We certainly did not experience easy moments, at the beginning of the lockdown, but we are not used to crying over ourselves. After the first moment of dismay and concern for the future, we got back on our feet and started thinking about the future. Of course, having had to close the showroom, we immediately embarked on a path of virtual activity, as most Italian businesses do. Once we established an operational connection with our employees, to whom we have always been very close, we started to tighten the relationships with our customers; both working with the projects already in place and working on estimates and sketched projects even in that period of closure. The way but also the goal was to network, with call conferences, video calls, WhatsApp groups, ads in particular on Facebook and Instagram. To all this must be added the meetings in the early morning, every Thursday, with a group of entrepreneurs from various product sectors and professionals with whom, for years, we operate in a sort of network, and evening cocktails with customers. Even if all was virtual, it has been very challenging physically.
How was the reopening for the company?
We have felt a sense of recovery since the beginning. We booked immediately many appointments, but we also have been able to count of a good number of potential clients that we can call ‘of passage’, a type of customers that however for us represents almost 50%. Now we have to see if this recovery, which everyone expected, will consolidate in the next few months.
Given the brands you work with, it is logical to expect a strong commitment to the customer…
This is one of our strengths! In 2016, we created, together with some partners, the DOMO Specialist brand, through which we offer our customers a real design service, ranging from construction and renovation, electrical systems and home automation, gardens and terraces, doors and windows, furnishing and technical curtains, plumbing and air conditioning, roofs and tinsmithing. Each of our projects is thus understood as a customized, tailor-made suit. DOMO Specialist has done nothing but further increase our ability to offer services for furniture and interior design, for which we use the collaboration of architects and interior designers. From the initial project, which is created starting from the clients’ needs, whether they come to the showroom with their architect or relies on the expertise of my sister Cristiana, who is an architect, to the assembly and installation phases, all our work is inspired by the very close relationship that we establish with the client each time. In this way, among other things, we create a mood of satisfaction and word of mouth that has always been the most concrete way for us to have new clients.
How much has changed, and where, the consumer?
It has changed a lot. Until a few years ago, the brand was everything. The customers came to the showroom with a very specific request: “I want a kitchen of this brand. I want a sofa of this other brand…”. Now, most of the customers come to the showroom with their cell phone in hand and immediately show us images taken from various blogs and Pinterest and tell us: “I want a setting like this”.
For the average customer, the price, the service and the project, in this specific order, are what count the most. For those who have more money available and know more about the subject, the ranking is reversed: in the first thing they care about is the project, then the service and finally the price. I wanted to put the accent on the importance of the after-sale service, for which we have a dedicated person, who follows all the phases and intervenes immediately when it’s the case. This is another key to our work, a service of assistance, advice and intervention that we will never give up.
How do you always stay informed of the news in the sector?
As visitors, we take part in the Salone del Mobile and Cersaie, which remain two extraordinary moments of in-depth study and knowledge of the products. Then we refer to magazines, catalogues, and dialogue with representatives. Still, they have to be quick and punctual in bringing us the news of their companies, because we can’t afford to risk that some potential customer will talk to us about products that we don’t know yet. We always talk about this subject in our showroom. We also take part in courses and a whole series of transversal events, concerning cultural aspects and other fields, such as art, food and fashion, events that we organize in our showroom, to ease customer loyalty.