Geolocation and constant innovation: Natuzzi’s global strategy relies on the Google Maps Platform and Web Geo Services expertise
Founded in 1959 by Pasquale Natuzzi, Natuzzi manufactures and sells sofas, armchairs, furniture and accessories on all continents under the brands Natuzzi Italia, Natuzzi Editions, and Divani & Divani by Natuzzi. With more than 550 single-brand shops, it is the world’s best-known European lifestyle brand in the sofa industry.
Ethical Italian design and geolocated global strategy
“The Natuzzi Group’s mission is to create value with integrity, for customers, employees and shareholders.” Franco Paradiso, who has been with Natuzzi for over 30 years – “growing up with and in the company” – could introduce it starting with its record-breaking figures. Instead, he mentions its ethics code, “which is not merely a set of rules to be followed or theories to be applied, but a working tool in the broadest sense, a benchmark for anyone who works with us”. This can be summed up as “total respect for the law and a strong sense of accountability, towards society and everyone involved”.
Today, Franco Paradiso is Digital Marketing and CRM Manager for the brand founded by Pasquale Natuzzi in 1959 in Taranto. In the 1980s, Natuzzi began manufacturing coloured leather sofas with an alluring design and unrivalled comfort. Natuzzi Style captured the markets, from Puglia to the United States, and in 1993 the company was listed on the New York Stock Exchange.
Over the years the group has launched several brands. Natuzzi Italia is the flagship brand, fully embodying Italian craftsmanship and with a strong design focus. “We control 92% of our raw materials,” Paradiso explains. “We have a tannery and a polyurethane plant, and our quality promise is to guarantee materials that are rigorously tested and free of harmful substances.” Natuzzi Editions (with factories in Brazil, Romania and China) and Divani & Divani by Natuzzi cater to families and more casual consumers.
Over the years the collections have been enriched with other types of furniture and accessories, leading to Natuzzi Total Living. Today Natuzzi is a leading global player in the furniture industry, with over 550 shops, factories and sales offices around the world. Rooted in the values and traditions of Italian craftsmanship, Natuzzi’s history is one of growth and innovation. Speaking of technology, Paradiso gets right to the point: “Geolocation is the key to everything” – and Google Maps is the only solution. “Google’s maps have always been the most efficient, complete and up-to-date. And through their APIs, they can be easily integrated into platforms and websites." Whether for advertising, promotions or web strategies, the process always starts with localised metrics. “This also saves us a substantial amount of money. For instance, if we had to communicate everything equally within a huge territory like America, we would need an enormous budget while not achieving expected results.” So communication is weighted according to how widespread the sales network is locally.
The group is experimenting with e-commerce channels in three markets, but sofas remain a product that many people, especially those over 50, prefer to see and try out in person. “So the aim of digital media is to drive the consumer to the nearest sales location.” The main tools include geolocated landing pages, mobile maps and the store locator feature on Google Maps API, which alone generates 60-70% of activity on company sites. During the pandemic, Natuzzi launched a streaming customer consulting system to circumvent the lockdown. The company is always ready to seize opportunities for innovation on customer experience. As proof of this, Paradiso describes the Natuzzi “Augmented Store”, which uses virtual and augmented reality to let you view how your furnished living room will look in 3D, so you can adjust your choices accordingly.
“Google Maps have always been the most efficient, complete and up-to-date. And through their APIs, they can be easily integrated into platforms and websites.“
—Franco Paradiso, Digital Marketing and CRM Manager at Natuzzi
Web Geo Services: the bridge to the future
Paradiso points to innovation as a constant goal for the Natuzzi brands, adding: “ we need an expert partner who keeps us informed of new developments and provides us with the best solutions.” That’s why they chose to rely on the expertise of Web Geo Services. “We needed to publish and expand all our platforms using maps,” Paradiso explains. The launch of a new platform is the most critical moment for a digital channel. “Web Geo Services’ contribution has been fundamental. They liaised between our IT systems and web agency, so that nothing adversely affected our systems.” This was a key role, as Natuzzi explains, since even though the company has its own IT department, having a partner with solid expertise in geolocation is necessary for certain operations, especially on the websites, which are always changing. Web Geo Services helped Natuzzi navigate and implement Google’s new business model, from the use of the new console to the expanded range of Google Maps APIs. On the future of their partnership, which began in 2017, Paradiso is confident: “It’s going strong and we hope that will continue for a long time to come.”