After finally deciding that we needed a new dining table we faced the task of finding one to fit the long but rather narrow space in our kitchen/diner. The one that had been brought with the house had been custom made so we were hoping to find a table to fit without the expense of having one specially made.

I’d recently seen Oak Furniture Land advertised on television and knew I wanted an oak table so decided to give them a go. Bolton was the most convenient but despite knowing where the Retail Park was, finding the store was more complex than I’d thought with the intricate road system and huge number of stores. I eventually saw the distinctive green oak leaf amongst numerous other furniture retailers which made me think that it would be great to later have a look at others to compare prices.  Walking through the doors to Oak Furniture Land I was met by a very clean, solid, orderly if rather boring environment. I didn’t see a store guide but it was immediately obvious that the beds were all at the top of the escalators and the rest of the furniture was mostly in room settings which flowed from dining room, lounge to the bedroom.  The furniture was neatly displayed with plenty of space around the pieces so that it was easy to have a good look from different aspects. There was lots of information point of sale on the pieces of furniture and the store didn’t give the impression of being heavily into discounting although there were lots of sale offers available highlighted in red.

Very soon after arriving I was asked by a lady sitting at a desk if I wanted any help – I said at first I just wanted to look around but shortly after as I stood looking at one of the dining tables another assistant approached and asked what I was looking for. I explained that I was looking for a 5ft dining table and the assistant immediately showed me some that fitted the bill. I then explained that I needed it to be around 2ft6ins wide but that it could actually be longer than 5ft and after thinking for a moment, the assistant took me to his computer saying that he thought there might be one style that would be suitable. He quickly found the Galway 6ft x 2ft 8ins and asked if that might fit the bill. I asked if he had one in the store to look at and he immediately knew there was one on the upper floor which he took me to see.

The assistant asked about chairs and told me the price of the dining set with 6 standards and then one with 6 luxury chairs. I asked what the difference was and he showed me examples of both and explained the difference.  There was no pressure to buy and I took down the details I needed to tell my husband, the helpful assistant telling me to look online to show my husband pictures etc.

I was impressed by the service and the store – not an overly exciting experience, but good solid oak at good prices.

Shopper viewpoint: It, unfortunately, takes more than impressive service and good prices to get that all important sale in today’s tough trading times. It takes a customer journey that has some emotional engagement as well. Our experience shows there are six dimensions to successful store environments that help make the shopping journey a great experience: Using our SHOP™ strategic process our SHOPPER teams rigorously explore each of the dimensions in our mystery shopper visits.  Are Oak Furniture Land missing a trick or two? We think so!