Amazon is reputed to be opening brick and mortar stores. This is a big buzz at spring market as they are exhibiting in High Point. Marketing Home Furnishings will be going by to check them out. Stay tuned for a report.
The age old question from retailers used to be “how do I drive more in-store traffic?”.
Now, this question includes, “how do I drive more traffic to my online website.”.
Whether you are a traditional home furnishings retailer, a lifestyle store or an interior designer with a retail showroom, everyone is interested in finding new consumers.
Yes, of course, there are many ways to try and reach consumers via, billboards that have web urls, local publications that feature your phone, twitter and facebook links, your retail store windows direct marketing with incentives, and literally all kinds of print media.
With all of the aforementioned options, it is no wonder people are confused. However, here are two specific FAST ways to get engagement with your prospects and to build solid relationships with current customers.
Two Short Answers:
1.Videos! 60 second videos that engage the consumer in powerful ways via great story telling, education and advocacy. Check out Lazy Boy’s great story telling video which is an amazing blend of nostalgia that brings the quintessential Lazy Boy recliner into the 21st Century living room with chutzpah. The “old” becomes “new” again.
2.Mobile applications that expand your reach as you find consumers wherever they roam……and on their terms. Cities and towns now have mobile apps that are “free” and offer retail webpages on the host site. Residents and visitors alike can identfy our store and “opt in” via the mobile app. Also for approx. 10k, you can have your own mobile app build that you own and host on your private server.
While “to the trade” print media is prolific and High Point is replete with fabulous publications, the home furnishings industry professionals consume this media. While you may get great ideas about products, designs, etc. it truly does very little to attract people to your store.
Here are some samples of top rated mobile apps that consumers love to use featured by Elle Decor online.
Best wishes in the choices that you make!
The Marketing Home Furnishings Advisor
“Winning” is a big word in 2016 with the imminent Presidential election. Retailers across the country struggle with the “revolving door” of staff especially in the high rent areas like New York and San Francisco.
Winning involves successfully identifying, recruiting and training staff. These are activities which are essential yet comprise a huge time sync.
Many retailers are not schooled in how to truly identify the best hire. They often need some “refreshment” insights in order to find new ways to look at candidates. While they may know what “feels” like the best fit, there are specific tools that can help them refine their process and make it “spot on”.
How do you define the “best fit”? Marketing Home Furnishings encourages retailers to always be on the “hunt” for motivated talent. Many times retailers make “desperation hires” and this rarely works out and proves to be a very costly strategy. No question that this is one alternative to having no one on the retail floor but, again, can be very, very expensive in time and money.
Marketing Home Furnishings finds a kindred spirit in Shane Spiller, a retailer who “lays it out” from experience and encourages retailers to sort for “passion”. We agree that this particular attribute is significant in an employee.
For more read….
Is Your Retail Hiring in the Toilet?
Beyond “passion”, what other key attributes are mission critical?
Below are Five Important Aspects that Retailers Need to Study and Pay Attention to in Interviews with prospective hires.
Ability to Focus: Needs to be able to focus on the demands of the moment).
Follow up: Does what they commit to do
Conceptual Analytical Abilities (allows one to “think on their feet” with customers).
Distractibility: Retail hiring authorities need to discern if an individual is so distractible that they cannot actually perform the required tasks of the job in an appropriate amount of time.
Communication Style: Is this person an individual who is sharp toned and shows “crital affect”, anger or frustration easily? Conversely, is the person a more “positive” communicator?
There are diagnostic scouting assessments that can help a retailer figure all of these interpersonal and attentional dimensions out. These assessments can be used very successfully in figuring out the “best profile” for one’s retail environment as well identifying prospective candidates who fit the profile. In addition, diagnostic assessments can be used very successfully as a training and coaching tool for all employees.
For more information on how you can “win” with hiring at a cost you can afford;
Linda L. Carey
www.facebook.com/Marketing Home Furnishings
Certified TAIS Assessment Specialists
Granted…having a beautiful website that is oooh la la is a wonderment to those who actually see it. Otherwise, it is like have a splendid billboard on a dirtroad…no one sees it.
So, how do you differentiate yourself and your product offerings in the digital ocean. How do you “get caught” or “picked” as Marketing Home Furnishings’ Digital Advocate, Linda Carey says.
Simply Put”, building ones’ authority online is the key. Great content is the ultimate bait for “all things google” and it loves for you to educate your audience. Your search engine rankings will always go up with great content that ‘adds value” to others.
Content is then placed in “high authority” online newswires and is visible direct to consumers or other business participants.
Syndication of “built-to-last authority” content gets you name squarely placed on the “market watch-financial” pages of many national major news networks including affiliates of CBS, NBC, Fox, Wall Street Select and Worth…just to name a few.
Furthemore, as a client of Marketing Home Furnishings, you are educated in specific ways as to how to “repurpose” your content and continue to maximize your investment. There is no need to ask for copyright permission reprinting rights, etc.
Your authority continues to build as you share your good press via links to various social sites which help you to “stand out” in the digital ocean. Consumers of your authority articles will then be more likely to check out your site, thus creating much needed traffic.
Summarily, they start to “pick you” because of the bait that you threw into the ocean for them to find.
Your Home Marketing Adviser
*Ask Us About a Complimentary Authority Marketing Assessment
Let’s face it folks, the reports on retail are not good starting the new year. Macy’s is laying off 4000 employees and it goes on from there. Is it all doom and gloom?
Just a moment, the real dip has been in apparel sales. If you are a home furnishings retailer and have scaled your business and aligned your purchases with your own local market demographics, you may feel encouraged. If you have found home furnishings accessories that are tantalizing to most any consumer purchasing demographic, then give yourself a pat on the back.
A good example is Global Views https://www.globalviews.com/showrooms/index
Also, if you allow your customer to order online, and can ship to them, then this is a huge plus. Consumers are highly fragmented these days and overloaded with information and resources, albeit not “vetted” resources. Therefore, building “trust” is pivotal.
This “trust” allows new business development opportunities for smart, savvy retailers to get a leg up on the competition. The web and mobile web is no longer about just “engagement tool” but are “personalization” tools. This trend towards “personal touch” is not a news flash for great retailers who have been doing this all along…but the digital interace with consumers must follow along. This digital trend for “personalization” is just starting to uptick and you can get traction using your brains and ingenuity along with some good technology.
Also, here is a cold, hard fact, if your store features a “kitchen sink” catch-all with no clear identity to the consumer, how can they know what your store offers them. If you have never done any web analytics to see what consumers are searching for online in your geographic location, avoid social media like the plague, or have not updated your shopping experience via digital engagement with custom mobile apps or a mobile responsive website, then, yes, you may have a challenging year.
Google search results are now skewed to mobile responsive websites effective last April of 2015. Unlike a “mobile responsive website”, a custom mobile app built on the IOS or Android platform can help you locate and identify new customers who may actually be shopping down the street or a few blocks away. Retailers can also create push notifications for these prospects once they have “signed on” and build a relationship with them. Suffice it to say, there are a bezillion ways to engage them and get them to order with you “in-store” or “online”.
Think about the shifting demographics of consumers who are purchasing and what they are seeking. Baby Boomers are “downsizing” home furnishings and need portability and mobility options. This means throwing out the old and getting the new models to help them “age in place”. Baby Boomers are also spending a ton on condos and vacation homes vs. the “homestead” per say where they reared their children. Now they simply want to have fun with their friends and entertain their grandchildren. How might you elicit a response from these retirement folks who have discretionary income to spend with you?
Another niche is the “acquiring” Gen X’ers, Gen Y’ers and Millennials
. They are having babies, working and taking care of “mom and dad” in some cases. How might you purchase home furnishings that simplify life for these consumers?
Summarily, my future prediction for home furnishings stakeholders is bright in 2016 is this “do the right things right”, i.e., determine your identity, find out who is looking for what in your geographic area, where they are spending their money and coming up with creative solutions to attract and personalize their shopping experience using technology.
If you do these things, no matter whatt, you will have a very good chance to make a profit this year.
Summarily, the future of 2016 looks bright for those who “do” versus those who “don’t”. You can take this prognostic statement for 2016 to the bank!
Checking it Out! High Point Past-2014
Upon arrival at the High Point market, I was a bit concerned that the show traffic seemed somewhat diminished compared to the October market or Spring market 2013. Of course, as I know from my own home furnishings and giftware exposition experiences, it is not the number of people who show up but the quality of orders that are written which make or break a market for individual manufacturers. So deferring to the age old axion,”quantity does not connote quality”, I set off to “see what I could see and hear” through engagement with participating manufacturers, old friends, new acquaintances and former vendors.
So…what did I see?
Global Views and Studio A, decorative accessory and accent furniture companies, continue to delight their prospects and customers. Their ability to magnetize the customers with their alluring designs, trendsetting expressions of color and “perceived value” is unsurpassed by any manufacturer in this space. While I only got to wave at Frederick (one of the owners) as I passed by and through the showrooms, I hope my affirming “wave, smile and nod” gave him the only message he really needed from me.
Phillips Collection showcased extraordinary artistically engineered museum quality home “statements” which incorporate natural earth elements. “Eye catching” and “unique” are two words that describe Phillips’s global assortment of home furnishings. While I missed their “always great” cocktail soiree I was invited to attend (as usual) this year, rumor has it that it was the “piece de resistence”. Jason Phillips, an owner, is one great guy to do business with in High Point. Check them out here.
Oh, my visit to Chandra’s classy new showroom was a “be still my heart moment”. While always attracted by the wonderful natural fibers and color stories of Chandra’s area rug offering, I was stunned by their new show suite. Pandering pandered to minimalism, clean spaces and urban-chic designs which now include furniture as well as their “always superb” area rugs. Walking into this showroom was like taking a fresh breath of air. Upon entry, I observed an educational video introduction to Chandra displayed “easily” on the entry way wall. A customer could relax in comfortable seating, have some refreshment and simply “inhale” while absorbing the “zen” of Chandra as a respite before or after their product search in large “shopping friendly rug vignettes”. Oh, lest I forget… the opportunity for social expression and “sugar” were wedded and all too delightfully in a sophisticated room appointed with a chalkboard wall and stainless steel top island. Replete with candies in glass bowls for the taking, customers passing through stopped to write their sentiments on the chalkboard wall and to partake in some sweets.
Last but not least, I always enjoy seeing Ravi, the owner, and I met his lovely new wife as well. Never disappointed with Candra’s offering, I was, again, delighted with not only their product expression but their amazing environment, hospitality and warmth.
A Small Business Trendsetter
“Authority Marketing is Good For Your Business”
Have you noticed that it is almost impossible to get ranked on Google if you are not investing in Google Ad Words ?
Even if you are doing so, your authority will wax and wane based on how much your competition is willing to spend.
Why not do something different to help you with your influence and authority marketing?
This will set you above your competition in your town, community, nationally, etc.?
Yesterday at High Point Market I sat in on a great “hot topic” seminar delivered by Storis Corporation at the National Home Furnishings Association (NHFA), which is a great find at Market for anyone in this business and in retail.
The subject: Marketing to Gen X and Gen Y’ers.
Now I ask you, “Why you should care?” … Well as a “boomer” who also has heard a lot on this subject already, the message was still compelling. I must say that I truly enjoyed hearing the presenters’ thoughts and seeing the data!
While many have made points about these generations throughout the years, the differentiating factor is technology and how these generations are literally incorporating it in to every facet of their lives and decision-making. While the presenter made the point that these “kids” are becoming Baby Boomer Mom-Dad-Grandparents’ tech navigators and consultants (a thought I find scary), there is a lot of truth to this premise. This is what makes the study of Gen Y’ers and Gen X’ers so fascinating!
I encourage all retailers to start the engagement process with these “friends,” and find out how they can serve you while you are serving them.
If you are planning to stay in the retail business for the next 5 to 10 years, these generations are your future. Meet them where they are hanging out….on Facebook and Twitter, of course!
While you can engage with them “on location ” at these spots, don’t expect them to leave for long to visit your website unless you have given them an authentic reason to “click and travel” and made it easy for them. Your “Reason” might be a coupon, a contest, an entertaining video, or simply comprehension of their stated needs with an authentic solution. This is after you are deemed credible and likeable in their eyes and have earned your “Facebook Friend” stripes!
Making friends and effective relationship marketing in today’s world has definitely taken on a new dimension! It involves engagement and interaction how, when and where your audience wants it… including with tech-savvy Gen X and Gen Y’ers. Retailers who grasp the opportunities are going to be huge beneficiaries.
Reporting “live” from High Point North Carolina, the home furnishings capital of the world.
Monday, October 24, 2011
High Point Furniture Market
HOT TOPIC – Quick Market Glimpse Reveals the following:
Made in the USA is back by popular demand!
In my opinion, this trend is driven by the following and is here to stay:
(1)The overarching fear of more job loss coupled with the fact that Americans are realizing the best place to find a helping hand is “at the end of your own arm.” Big corporations do not hire the vast majority of Americans… small business does… and while big corporations are outsourcing work overseas, Small Business America is hiring and producing right here at home!
(2) The realization that along with the “good cheap stuff” consumers love, there is also a U.S. marketplace replete with imports of poor quality and defective materials. Even food ingredients that have landed here from off-shore markets for consumer consumption have been questionable. (I reference infant formula and pet foods as 2 notable cases.) Another example in the home building business is toxic drywall. Sick yet?
(3) The realization that we always were and can remain innovators! Americans really make something here that has more intrinsic value!
Note: Monday High Point Market Reveals that “Sustainable Fashionistas” are demonstrating this market sustainability through regeneration of fabrics into clothing. Big event tonight sponsored by DeStripped Magazine will showcase the local designers who are innovating and regenerating. Good on them! Go to Market Square Courtyard tonight at 7 to 9 p.m. and join in with innovators who have a unique, creative spark!
Marketing Home Furnishings Reporter-On the ground in High Point Market!
The Home Furnishings Industry Is Over Baby Boomered!
OK, Folks… I am a Baby Boomer and proud of it. I happen to like the fact that I was born in the fifties and experienced the last vestige of real freedom from too many government regulations and the dying breed of people with good manners. Common sense was quite common for Baby Boomers… and still is.
So with that said, I must now gripe about the current state of the Home Furnishings Industry which is OVER BABY BOOMERED! Yes, we have demonstrated great talent, brains, product ideologies… and, alas… now fading beauty! We have done well. Super!
So what’s next for the Home Furnishings Industry?
Are we just all going to die and leave the industry to flounder and become a Baby Boomer graveyard?
Succession Planning is a must!
It is necessary NOW, and it cannot be brushed under the polypropylene carpet anymore! Of course, this is not a “news flash” to anyone who has really thought about the dilemma.
As an aging Baby Boomer, I will now reveal that my first glimpse as a student in High Point was in 1972. My, my…it seemed to me that High Point represented a vast ocean of successful “VIP” straight males who figuratively “ran the show” and/or sold the heck out of furniture. The demographics were heavily weighted, of course, towards the upwardly mobile male Baby Boomer.
Haven’t things changed? Today when attending the High Point International Home Furnishings Show or the World Market in Las Vegas, I see women everywhere now and gay males! So… what’s wrong with this picture? Good grief!… nothing ‘cept the vast majority of these demographic representatives are also aging Baby Boomers …….. that’s what!
Here’s another scoop!
When I conduct my not-so “clandestine” web analytics of some major Home Furnishings Industry Suppliers’ websites (who respectfully shall remain nameless), I find that the predominant profiles of visitors are females between the ages of 55 and 65. This demographic alone, in a nutshell, describes a huge, scary problem for the Home Furnishings Industry… a problem that represents a challenge!
Who better to find a solution to this than …
You guessed it … Baby Boomers! 🙂
Suppliers, there are virtually no young buyers even shopping online at your website suppliers! YIKES!
Hey… I love us guys, too, but this is ridiculous.
The industry is replete with aging Baby Boomers, and the succession planning has yet to be addressed in a comprehensive way. Select “not for profit” organizations within the Home Furnishings Industry are doing “their part,” like WITHIT (Women In The Home Furnishings Industry Today). However, the vast majority of suppliers, buyers, wholesalers and retailers are aging Baby Boomers. I see only a small minority of anyone between the ages of 21 to 30 during Markets in Las Vegas, High Point, New York or Atlanta for that matter.
When I look at other niches that are attracting young people as cottage industry participants, I see where fashion reins supreme. A trip to MAGIC was most revealing in that there’s a boatload of young faces who are spinning their dreams with fashion. Granted, the barriers to entry are lower, but this is where you will find the entrepreneurs who are jumping out to claim their fame and fortune… not in Home Furnishings. Yes, they are tweeting, digging, facebooking and gmailing, plus they are exhibiting their designs at fashionista related trade events. They are super charged and psyched.
So…what’s wrong with us?
In my opinion, the U.S.A. Home Furnishings Industry needs to innovate with a national, comprehensive, public relations/awareness campaign integrating internet marketing genius and social media (which is both available and affordable) with television, radio and print media to get the message out there that:
- This is an industry to consider for a career and
- There are mentors, capital and resources available to those who are savvy enough to want to be a part of something great.
I am convinced that the capital resources must come from those “captains” or “angels” in the industry who have experienced great success in days past and who are interested in benevolence and/or the thrill of incubating entrepreneurial innovation. Most classic venture capitalists are not interested in taking chances in this industry sector.
Bright, young entrepreneurs are needed in all sectors – manufacturing, retail, wholesale, design, etc. – who will also attract their contemporaries to realize that there is a “real” business here.
If not, sooner than later, the shrinkage of the industry will continue. There are already too many suppliers, not enough buyers, a retraction of retailers, and a huge deficit of Gen Y’ers and Millennials in the buying marketplace.
Home Furnishings Industry Veteran
Online-Offline Marketing and Planning Consultant