Yale Lighting + Appliance, Boston
The way Yale Appliance management sees it, the only way to compete as a brick-and-mortar operation is to have better salespeople selling better product so customers have a better shopping experience. “In the Internet age of instant feedback and reviews on Yelp, Google and Angie’s List, service must be the most important element of any business,” according to the company’s entry statement. “Service is our core competency.”
In business since 1923, the 30,000-square-foot showroom devotes about half its selling space to lighting, with the balance going to appliances, plumbing and accessories. In the past year, the company worked hard to improve the shopping experience all the more by adding 10,000 square feet of selling space, moving its warehousing, and updating its operating and social media platforms.
A culture and commitment to excellence makes Yale unique. An expert staff is at the heart of Yale’s success and associates receive ongoing training at least three days a week. This year, there will be more half-day off-site training. The company aims to hire people of good character, compensates them well and offers an extremely competitive benefits package. Quarterly bonuses are based on meeting targets and each department has different quarterly goals. This year, Yale’s 110 employees will receive $400,000 in bonus pay, a sign that each team member understands his or her own role in overall company performance. Likewise, the company is generous to its community, donating merchandise and more than $100,000 each year to local causes.
Strategic blogging, targeted e-mail campaigns, Facebook and Pinterest posts are part of a well-defined social media strategy. The blog is viewed more than a million times in a year; 21 e-mail campaigns have a 45 percent open rate, with a click-through rate of more than 30 percent. The key to sales through these efforts, according to Yale’s entry statement, is relevance and behavior. “We want to inform without being overbearing,” the statement explains. “We have stopped advertising and shouting at people through outbound media, and started answering their questions through blogs and videos.”