What happens when your friends ask you to go out but you want to stay in? La-Z-Boy introduces an artificial intelligence (AI) assist way to move the guilt of declining your friends.
Introduction – La-Z-Boy
Snapshot – La-Z-Boy Inc.
Also known as: La-Z-Boy
Founded: 1927 (96 years)
Headquarters: Monroe, Michigan, United States
Number of stores: Over 530 stores in 15 countries (June 2022)
Revenue (FY2023): US$2.3 billion up 2%
Profit (FY2023): US$150.6 up 0.2%
Retail Gross Margin (FY2023): 9% – up 0.2%
Slogan: Long Live The Lazy
Loyalty Program: None
La-Z-Boy has been known for its recliner chairs for many decades. Its furniture including upholstered recliners, sofas, stationary chairs, lift chairs, and sleeper sofas has been featured in many well-known movies and TV shows (most famously in an early Season 2 episode of the NBC comedy, “Friends”).
The company operates six brands including La-Z-Boy Residential, Joybird, Hammary, England Furniture Co., Kincaid Furniture, and American Drew. After experiencing a decline in the early 2000s, the company bounced back from employing less than 6,000 people in 2006 to more than 11,000 strong in 2023.
With the play-on word “recliner”, the La-Z-Boy Decliner is a new marketing push attached to a contest. Dubbed as “The chair that declines invites for you.”
On the contest’s website, the furniture company invites participants to “Experiencing the joy of missing out has never been easier thanks to The Decliner, an A.I. powered recliner prototype from La-Z-Boy that generates a cancellation excuse via SMS text simply by pulling its handle.” Running from August 7 to September 11, 2023, La-Z-Boy asks participants to submit excuses as part of their entry. The contest is open to select residents of the United States and Canada (terms and conditions can be found here.) Three “Decliner”s could be won.
La-Z-Boy introduces The Decliner (Source: YouTube)
The new La-Z-Boy Decliner Source: La-Z-Boy
The Decliner’s artificial intelligence (AI) will automatically text excuses to your friends should you want to stay home for the evening. While this is a limited-time contest, the possibility is endless when it comes to the number of excuses artificial intelligence can generate.
Artificial Intelligence In Marketing
The La-Z-Boy Decliner is a great marketing campaign that plays on the nostalgia of the classic recliner chair. The fresh component is the use of artificial intelligence to come up with an infinite number of excuses. While the winners’ friends might not be very happy with so many rejections, the ease of incorporating this technology could extend beyond generating excuses.
Imagine the possibility that the chair could also anticipate other needs like pizza ordering before watching a movie or a football game. If the La-Z-Boy Decliner has an open API that could be integrated with the calendar, food ordering, and other mobile applications, an automated workflow could be set up to create instructions for different scenarios. With a swing of the lever, a person’s favorite foods could be ordered for delivery.
The La-Z-Boy Decliner hits the tip of the iceberg in using artificial intelligence for the company to extend connections with existing customers. If the implementation is sound and the winners actually make sure of the technology beyond the fun elements. The company should consider expanding this use case into other product offerings.
While the contest’s premise centers on the fun elements, there are opportunities for the brand to build new partnerships which could lead to additional revenue generation.
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