DESIGN HOUSE GETS A BOOST FROM IMPROVED ONLINE PRESENCE
For the interior designers at Hamma Galleries, the coronavirus lockdown in early 2020 didn’t mean a slowdown. In fact, it was the opposite. The three-strong team, confined to their homes like the rest of Bermuda, took the opportunity to overhaul the East Broadway furniture store’s website and plan a revamp of its showroom, while working remotely with clients on ongoing renovation projects. They also ramped up the company’s social media presence.
“We had to close and we actually didn’t stop working,” said junior interior designer Carly Gill.
“We saw a surge in work. We haven’t really slowed down.”
It was senior designer Jennifer Dearing’s idea to use the time off-site to bring Hamma’s website up to date.
Ms Gill explained it was a case of transforming a “static” site mainly consisting of links to suppliers to a place where customers could browse the entire inventory and place orders. She said: “It’s a huge task and something we have always wanted to do. “We had pages and pages of inventory to upload, meaning thousands of items which we categorised as best as we could. “We basically tackled both the website and our showroom at the same time because we had to increase our visibility.
“We had to focus on getting Hamma out there to the general public. It was a question of ‘how do we keep this business going?’” The efforts of Ms Dearing, Ms Gill and fellow designer Catherine Stewart paid off.
Hamma, which opened in 1968 and specialises in luxury brands, has experienced an influx of new customers who had never visited the store but were attracted by the improved website. Regular clients have also appreciated the new online resource, along with other interior designers and contractors on the island. “It’s been completely beneficial,”
Ms Gill said. “It increased our visibility, which was our main goal. We definitely have been brought up to date from this. “As designers, we have creative minds. It’s always about problem solving. This was a no-brainer.” She said that since the shop reopened to the public, in the summer of 2020, the website had remained popular and customer numbers in store were higher than pre-pandemic.
“We have more foot traffic,” Ms Gill said. “I think people still want to see furniture in person.” She described how working from home had led to a surge in demand, which continues, for home office furniture, including desks, storage units, office chairs, filing cabinets and desk lamps.
All those items and other Hamma staples, such as bathroom vanities and closet solutions, can be found on the website and in the second-floor showroom. Ms Gill said online customers can place all their items in a cart to purchase and staff then call to take credit card details. “It’s nice because it stills offers a personalised service,” said Ms Gill. “With us, customers have the advantage of having experienced designers on hand.”
Hamma Galleries is at 1 Lane Hill, East Broadway, and the new website address is www.hammagalleries.com.