Business leaders across sectors agree that the COVID-19 pandemic brought about a sudden acceleration of the digital economy.

In comments to Digital Island magazine, Stephen Xuereb, Operations Manager at The Atrium, agrees that digitalisation has been fast-tracked thanks to the pandemic. In fact, the impact was so significant that the company’s online sales spiked three years ahead of previous projections, with the company’s online platform becoming its ‘only lifeline’ during lockdown, he says.

“A crucial part of this process was to have a team on-hand to promptly reply to all messages received, as this gave customers the confidence to proceed with their purchase,” he says.

However, while online has been very successful for The Atrium recently, Mr Xuereb still believes most of their clients would prefer to shop in-store for major purchases like bedrooms or kitchens. “They want to physically experience the look and feel of the product,” he explains, “so I anticipate many customers will eventually return to conventional modes of shopping.”

Nevertheless, Mr Xuereb still expects online sales to continue to increase, and says the company intends to keep building on its digital offering. “Home furnishing has evolved into being seasonal, with trends, colours and concepts changing regularly. All items are displayed as concepts in store; whereas, so far, online clients can only see every item individually.

Thus, our next goal is to find a way of offering this ‘concept view’ on the website too, so customers can browse through complete set-ups rather than just individual pieces. We think it will make all the difference!” he adds.

This interview forms part of a larger cover story which appeared on the latest edition of Digital Island magazine.

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