Prognosticating Outcomes for Home Furnishings Retailers in 2016
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!