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From Home Furnishing Business

Game On

By Bob George

Market is behind us. And, the feedback from retailers who attended was there was some good product that will contribute to making it a great 2017.  The retail environment, without a doubt, is soft with the just-completed Q3 down .04% over Q2 and up 1.68% over the same quarter last year.  This was the worst quarter this year.

While the fundamentals are in place for a better performance, the consumer is distracted and lacks the confidence to purchase consumer durables, especially home furnishings.  Consumer sentiment can be swayed by a number of things but few influences are as powerful as the experiences and opinions of past customers. However, the good news from our just-completed consumer survey shows that home furnishings is fourth behind cars and computer equipment.  We finally beat phones, but now most plans give you the phone for free.

It is like whistling in the dark to reflect that in the past ten elections the furniture industry has had only one bad year following the election and that was the start of the Great Recession.  This is not intended to take us down a dark and gloomy path, but to recognize that the mood of the industry is one of hesitation.  The challenge for management is to “accentuate the positive and eliminate the negative.”

Challenge the store buyers to present the new product to the sales associates  with the same excitement that the buyers had when they placed the order.   A caveat – if the buyer did not feel this excitement, they should not have purchased the product. Furniture industry leaders predict robust consumer demand for the unique, the different, the exciting.

Communicate the early results with testimonials from the floor.  This is not just the fact that the product sold, but why it sold! It remains important to distinguish whom the target market is for a particular product or service and how to best approach that desired consumer.

Feature new products on the website.  You have selected these products for your consumers in your market.  Make High Point introductions important to that consumer.

In other words, it’s Game day! Make your store roar!!

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