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Temple & Webster returns to sales growth, invests in AI

Pureplay furniture and homeware retailer Temple & Webster says it has “returned” to year-on-year growth as it continues to invest in AI technology.

Despite the current macroeconomic slowdown, the business says sales grew 10 per cent in the last four weeks when compared to the previous corresponding period.

Although trading improved over the half to date, sales fell 5 per cent.

CEO Mark Coulter, said the Australian furniture & homeware category remains “highly under-penetrated” in terms of its shift to online compared with other leading markets.

“We recognised early that in this inflationary environment, customers would be looking for choice and value and we have successfully adjusted our range, promotional activity, pricing and on-site merchandising to reflect these changing customer needs.”

To increase productivity, the company has increased its investment in Renovai – an Israeli AI startup – which helps digitise the interior design process.

“For an online-only business without physical stores or in-person sales staff, the potential for AI to significantly lower our cost of doing business, drive conversion and customer benefits is going to be material,” said Coulter.

Through the technology, the business currently offers product recommendation mood boards on the website which has resulted in a “significant increase” in conversion rate for customers who use the tool.

Likewise, ChatGPT regulates presale product queries – contributing nearly 25 per cent of all customer enquiries – helping the company maximise conversion rates from this channel and increase customer satisfaction.

Coulter said the investment would help further drive the business’ “competitive advantages” and build market share.

The company has also used AI to enhance product descriptions across all its products which has led to increased sales and higher revenue per visit.

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