HIGH POINT – When WaterMark Living opted to open its South Main Street showroom in High Point for fall Premarket for the first time this year, Chad Harper, national sales manager for the outdoor manufacturer, admits that they were not sure what traffic was going to be like.
“It was our first time, but with Casual Market Chicago cancelled, we wanted to be there for our customers and for the industry regardless,” he said.
And the company had some encouragement. This year’s earlier, unofficial June High Point event had gone well for the company, even though the showroom had only seen about 10 customers during the course of the event. Those buyers, Harper said, were serious, and the company wrote a lot of business between them.
So, when Harper and his team heard that some key container buyers planned to be in town for Premarket, the WaterMark Living team rallied, opting not just to open the showroom up for those customers as is customary for the manufacturer outside of its traditional market dates, but instead bringing in all of its reps and opening up the showroom just as they will in October.
And the decision proved to be fruitful, with Harper noting that the company accomplished several goals over the course of Premarket.
“Foot traffic was good at the market, but the traffic coming into the showroom was off; I thought we would have more with Chicago being cancelled,” explained Harper. “However, that didn’t matter because the people coming in were there to buy because they can’t get product.”
Harper said people coming into showroom’s biggest concern was shipping, and that led to a lot of new business for the mid-priced manufacturer, who said it was prepared to ship quickly. In fact, the bulk of WaterMark Living’s written business from the market came from new buyers to the brand.
“People were coming into the showroom just asking ‘do you have product, and can you ship?’ And of course our answer is yes,” he said.
More specifically, Harper said the WaterMark Living can offer shipping in three weeks with special order cushions and for in-stock items shipping in just three days.
“We manufacture our own cushions, we have plenty of stock, and we have containers hitting every day,” noted Harper. “Customers can quote three to four weeks with us, and that’s something you can’t find a lot of right now, so it was important to the folks coming in.”
Deep seating was a hot product for the manufacturer, along with dining sets, but, overarchingly, trust and shipping security was front of mind for every outdoor shopper in the showroom.
“People really just wanted to know that we were going to be there for them, and that we would be able to deliver, and that’s a big part of why we wanted to be at market in the first place,” Harper explained. “I wanted anybody coming out to market to understand that we were still there for them and that we have product for them. We wanted to support the industry and our customers as they take on new markets and just open up our doors to them.”