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JUNE 2012

INSIGHTS FOR TODAY’S HOME FURNISHINGS PROFESSIONAL

The Shi ft STOP iGNORING THE OBVIOUS SCAN & SCRAM GOING SOLO MADE IN USA—WHO CARES?

NHFA

National Home Furnishings Association

WHFA

Western Home Furnishings Association

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SERVICES • INVENTORY • MERCHANDISING • PRODUCT • TECHNOLOGY • COMMUNITY

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INSIDE featuresNOW technology shift 12.

Stop the Madness

17.

Scan & Scram—New Consumer Habit

20.

Social Shopping—Huh? manufacturing shift

34.

Made in America

37.

Buying in the USA

Does anyone really care?

39.

Remade in America

Learning from Lincolnton Furniture

consumer shift The Solo Economy—MoneyMatters

45.

yourVOICE

09.

Roving Reporter

10.

Retailer2Retailer

09.

Inspired Reading

23.

HFIC—Wrap Up

28.

High Point Highlights

33. 30.

Community Today What’s Selling NOW

count onIT Now We’re Talking

04.

A Message from the NHFA President

06.

08.

TechNOW—Inbox

Editor’s Letter

40.

Membership Marketplace

42.

Product Focus—Casual / Outdoor

44.

Quick Fire Marketing

46.

Industry Scoop

47.

Calendar

48.

The Now List

Snapshots—On the Red Carpet at HFIC 2012

on the cover 12

Stop the Madness On board or OOB

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thePlayers RetailerNOW

What we are so passionate about. . .

To have the courage to pursue purposeful dialogues that challenge conventional thinking, to engage and entertain our readers by delivering content that creates a fervent following ready to change the landscape of our industry.

Q: What is your favorite summer cocktail?

Melissa Dressler Editor melissa@retailerNOWmag.com

Lisa Tilley Art Director lisa@retailerNOWmag.com

RetailerNOW is the magazine for today’s home furnishings professional. Developed for a specialized community, RetailerNOW brings a unique editorial focus on progressive and relevant issues concerning the home furnishings industry in the retailer’s voice, with a focus on issues impacting retailers NOW.

Fresh squeezed (by my hubby) Ruby Red Grapefruit, splash of soda & Ketel Vodka—served poolside.

Larry Carroll Account Manager larry@retailerNOWmag.com

Tim Timmons Associate Publisher tim@retailerNOWmag.com

Cindi Williams Business Development cindi@retailerNOWmag.com

Contact Information:

Editorial Collaborators:

Mailing – Editorial:

Berry Mojitos

500 Giuseppe Ct., Suite 6 Roseville CA 95678 Mailing – Advertising 3910 Tinsley Drive #101 High Point NC 27265

Manhattan is my “year round” favorite but in summer I do a lemon twist instead of the traditional cherry. Much more refreshing! Hah!

Online: retailerNOWmag.com Phone: Editorial: (800) 422-3778 Advertising: (800) 888-9590 Social: facebook.com/retailerNOW

Andrew Tepperman, Tepperman’s Carol Bell, Contents Interiors Donny Hinton, Colortyme Marty Cramer, Cramer’s Home Furnishings Rick Howard, Sklar Furnishings Travis Garrish, Forma Furniture

2012 National Home Furnishings Association Officers Marc Shewel, President, Schewel Furniture, VA Dianne Ray, Chairman, Garden City Furniture, SC Cherie Rose, President Elect, The Rose Collection, CA Rick Howard, Sr. Vice President & Treasurer, FL John Wells III, Sr. Vice President, Wells Home Furnishings, WV

2012 Western Home Furnishings Association Officers Chris Sanders, President, Everton Mattress Factory, ID Valerie Watters, President Elect, Valerie’s Furniture & Accents, AZ Lael Thompson, Broyhill Home Collections, CO Chuck Kill, Treasurer, Bedmart, AZ Tom Slater, Slater’s Home Furnishings, CA

Twitter.com/retailerNOW Pinterest.com/retailerNOW

Southern Home Furnishings Association President:

Robert Dossenbach, Dossenbach’s Finer Furniture, NC

Subscription: $70/year Retailer Now, ISSN# 2166-5249 is published monthly (except March and December) by the Western Home Furnishings Association, 500 Giuseppe Court, Ste 6, Roseville, CA 95678. Application to Mail at the Periodicals Postage Prices is Pending at Roseville, CA and additional mailing offices. POSTMASTER: please address changes to: RetailerNOW, The Western Home Furnishings Association, 500 Giuseppe Court, Ste 6, Roseville CA 95678. If you would like to stop receiving RetailerNOW, please send an email to unsubscribe@retailerNOWmag.com. If you would like to only receive an electronic version of RetailerNOW, please send an email to gogreen@retailerNOWmag.com. © 2012 National and Western Home Furnishings Associations. Published by the National Home Furnishings Association and Western Home Furnishings Association. Material herein may not be reproduced, copied or reprinted without prior written consent of the publisher. Acceptance of advertising or indication of sponsorship does not imply endorsement of publisher or National and Western Home Furnishings Associations. The views expressed in this publication may not reflect those of the publisher, editor or National Home Furniture Association, Western Home Furnishings Association and Western Retail Services Corp. Content herein is for general information only; readers are encouraged to consult their own attorney, accountant, tax expert and other professionals for specific advice before taking any action.

Southeastern Home Furnishings Association President: Mark Godwin, Hainjes Inc., AL

For a complete Board of Director listing, visit retailerNOWmag.com NHFA Staff Steve DeHaan, NHFA Executive Vice President • (800) 888-9590 x6124 Karin Mayfield, Sr. Director of Membership • (800) 888-9590 x6154 Jordan Boyst, Member Services Rep • (800) 888-9590 x6132 Dianne Therry, Member Services Rep • (800) 888-9590 x6167

WHFA Staff Sharron Bradley, WHFA Executive Director • (916) 960-0345 Karpice Crawford, Membership Director • (916) 960-0346 Mike Hill, Member Services Rep • (916) 960-0263

NHFA

National Home Furnishings Association

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WHFA

Western Home Furnishings Association

England SEHFA SHFA New Chapter

South Eastern Home Furnishings Association

Southern Home Furnishings Association


THERE aRE somE THings TEcHnology can'T impRovE

THE oRiginal social nETwoRk

furnishing life's greatest connectionssince 1962 Space B-1350 | World Market Center | July 30-Aug 2 | Las Vegas Contact your Emerald Home sales representative or call 253-922-1400


President’s Message

DIAMONDS IN THE ROUGH

—A Message from your NHFA President

A

few weeks ago I found myself standing before 20 juniors and seniors in a business class at Ferrum College in Ferrum, Va. As Executive in Residence (for one day), I had been invited to visit this classroom and then deliver a keynote address to as many of the campus community who might appreciate a local furniture storeowner’s words of wisdom (less than one hundred, it turned out).

Entitled Still Here, that speech—which consisted of a brief history of Schewel Furniture Company and some reflections on the persistence of this family-owned enterprise over 115 years—can be found on my blog website, myoccasionalpieces.blogspot.com. The students in the class, however, were more interested in practical matters, namely, what qualities Schewel Furniture Company would be looking for in a prospective employee. Schewel’s operates stores in small towns and cities in Virginia and North Carolina—some of which may employ as few as 10 individuals. The success and profitability of any store is dependent on the skill level of its manager, who must build an effective team, motivate his staff to maximize sales, and maintain a high standard of customer service.

Marc Schewel Schewel Furniture NHFA President

The sobering news for these students is that probably only 10 percent of our store managers are college graduates. The most important attributes for advancement in the company are experience (on the sales floor, in our credit department, in inventory control, even in our warehouse), a willingness to work hard, and an appetite for learning.

One of the most gratifying aspects of this business is the fermentation process—watching persons of limited education and modest, even disadvantaged backgrounds, emerge from obscurity, mature over time, and blossom into superstars. We call them “diamonds in the rough”. For example, a warehouse worker replaced an alcoholic and ran a store for 30 years. A single mother of three, formerly on welfare, was named “Credit Manager of the Year”. A part-time collector became a resident expert in data processing and now oversees our Distribution Center. In a small town in Southside Virginia, we tolerated a revolving door of disinterested, incompetent managers until one day, in desperation, we implored a young, female office clerk to the job. I don’t know if she had ever graduated from high school, but I do know she was common-sense smart, sales-oriented (every year she won a mattress contest for non-selling personnel), and extremely averse to failure. She was reluctant to accept. “I don’t know anything about running a store,” she said. “Trust us,” we said. “You’ll learn.” And she did—quickly. She immediately turned over half the employees; having worked with them for a number of years, she instinctively knew which ones would help her succeed and which ones would impede her. She understood that the place she needed to be was out on the floor—meeting customers and closing sales—as opposed to her predecessors, who were content to find paperwork to keep them occupied. Her profit-andloss statement was impenetrable, but intuitively she comprehended that she could make more money by eliminating unnecessary costs. Within three years, sales had increased 50 percent and profits by an even greater amount. I am sure all of you can boast of similar success stories in your own organizations. Collectively, they are just another reason why—in spite of frustrations, inconsistencies, and daunting challenges—our passion for furniture proprietorship remains all-consuming.

marc@schewel.com

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Editor’s Message

from the editor

L

et’s face it—the world of retailing isn’t the same as it was 10 years ago, five years ago, two months ago, or even yesterday! Shift happens, things change and life goes on. Those that can adapt will be successful. Those that don’t will close.

So how do you keep up? One, you need to be aware of what is happening in other industries. Take a lead from industries that are once again making consumers excited about buying their products. Read magazines outside of our industry—get out of the bubble. Attend a show like Consumer Electronics Show (CES) or South by Southwest (SXSW) and see what makes these industries HOT. Find ways to incorporate new technologies and experiences into your showroom (and online). This issue looks into three areas of retail that are greatly shifting today: technology, consumer lifestyles and manufacturing. Online, eCommerce, social shopping—insert new buzzword here—the World Melissa Dressler Wide Web and the technology to have it anywhere and everywhere is Editor, RetailerNOW changing how your customer shops. When women shop today, they often take their new BFF, the smartphone (which sometimes talks back to you—thanks Siri). The emergence of technology has greatly changed the landscape of retail, and it is going to continue to change. The next generation of shoppers is being taught to shop online instead of malls—that is their norm. Will you be ready? Not only is your customer using technology, but there is a good chance she is on her iPad in her very own apartment. Yes, she lives alone. A new trend of living solo has hit the nation. Gone are the days of feeling like you must live with someone and people are choosing to live alone. How will you capitalize on this new market? The world of manufacturing is also shifting, with some manufacturers deciding to move production back to America—both in furniture and other industries. Reshoring (another buzzword) could be great news for Americans, with an influx of jobs expected, especially in the Southern states. It is still a little too early to see how it all pans out, but there are promising signs in the forecast—but will Americans care?

What I’m Loving… (916) 960-0385

Melissa@retailerNOWmag.com @retailerNOW

After crafting wallpaper and fabric for the last 126 years, Thibaut launched their first line of upholstered furniture at the April High Point Market—it’s to die for. One of my favs from their collection is the Stirling Chair in olive. Its clean design makes it perfect for a formal dining room, while the fun color is great for a breakfast nook.

Follow other products I love on my blog and on Pinterest. Blog: www.retailerNOWmag.com www.pinterest.com/retailerNOW


Tech

TechNOW Do your salespeople complete transactions w/an iPad. Let us know 800.422.3778

Hot Tech Square Register

Members call us. We have an App for that 800.422.3778

Connect with us @ retailerNOWmag.com

Salespeople running around your store with tablets? Now give them a tool to instantly swipe a customer’s credit card and complete the sale. The Square card reader and register allows you to accept credit card payments on your Android, iPhone or iPad (it’s free, you just pay the processing fee). Editor Note: While it has been around for some time, I witnessed Square firsthand while wine tasting recently—it was an awesome user experience (and my signature looked great on the iPad screen!). – MD

https://squareup.com

Good to Know Social Login Ever created a username and password for a website and then almost immediately forget it? Or, do you use the same password over and over? Your customer certainly has, and if you have eCommerce available on your site, you should look into offering Social Login. Social Login lets customers sign in with their Facebook, or another social media account, eliminating the need for yet another password. There are numerous benefits for retailers to utilizeSocial Login, such as: • Customers spend more time on websites and purchase more than traditional users • Allowing users to “social share” items from your site, which can greatly increase your word-ofmouth referrals • Gives you access to demographic and psychographic information about your customer, often including his/her location, interests, hobbies, etc. Privacy concerns are a hot topic with the rise of social media, but a recent Facebook survey said that 70% of those polled were comfortable sharing personal data on the network. Millions of customers are using Social Login—whether it is right for your business or not is for you to decide.

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Put it to Use

Top Tweets:

Del Sol Furniture in Phoenix, AZ recently added Social Login to their website to make it easier for their customer to leave comments and share news on their pages. “We made it possible for people to connect to our page by using their Facebook login, so now they can easily leave comments throughout the site,” Alex Macias shared.

@HFIC2012: You will never get dumber by making someone else in this world smart #hfic2012 @sanderssays

Cool Apps Penultimate: Gives you the fast, tactile gratification of writing on paper, with digital power and flexibility. Take notes, keep sketches, or share your next breakthrough idea—in the office, on the go, or at home on the sofa. (iPad only) Great tool for markets! Facebook Pages Manager: Pages Manager helps admins connect with their audience and keep up with activity on multiple Pages, all in one place.

www.retailerNOWmag.com

@RetailerNOW: 1 out of every 8 minutes online is spent on Facebook via @KevinJDoran #HFIC2012 Follow us @RetailerNOW

Inbox

we love to hear from you! melissa@ retailerNOWmag.com

Our Readers Email I just received my copy of the RetailerNOW magazine. Wow! Very impressive. This is a real magazine with real content from members. I think you guys did a great job on it. This is a major step forward in building a real alliance. Keep up the good work. Mark Navarra, Jerome’s San Diego, CA


Your Voice I Saloni, Milan

Roving Reporter | RICK HOWARD, Sklar Furniture, Boca Raton, FL

M

ilan is the world’s center for design! So it is no coincidence that I Saloni is the world’s finest furniture design show and it draws people from every corner of the world. It is extremely well attended with a few hundred thousand attendees! What an interesting strain it puts on the transportation systems in the morning and early evening. But everyone enjoys it nonetheless.

Because the showrooms are constructed annually, specific for the week of the show, the manufacturers go all out to make sure their stand properly reflects their brand. The result is some incredibly creative presentations. With this much visual stimulation it is hard to stay focused on the companies that you have on your list. But focus you must, as there are millions of square feet you would have to wade through otherwise. We all used the ISaloni app that let us navigate to those we needed to see. But even with

a sharp focus and determination, we were always pulled to something new. There was so much to tempt the buyer. Upholstery colors again this year were quiet and comfortable, soft browns, taupes, light grey, and mid tone beiges were popular with stronger accent colors on the pillows. Woods tended to follow suit with warm walnut tones, tobacco and soft matte lacquer colors. Many showed their vignettes on worn recycled carpets, thread bare in spots and together with large tables grouped on top. The effect was very warm and comfortable. The new innovative designs were practical and, for the most part, price sensitive. It is apparent that most of Europe is feeling the pinch of an economic slowdown; much like it was here a few years ago. Having said that, it was a very upbeat show being visited by so many thousands of people, you could not help but catch the enthusiasm for the whole scene. Milan, and the I Saloni in particular, is a place that I return to annually to be inspired and create ideas that help us shape the immediate future of our business. They are the trendsetters!

Follow our Roving Reporters’ journeys and check out photos online at www.retailerNOWmag.com.

Inspired Reading People Are Idoits and I Can Prove It!

The 10 ways you are sabotaging yourself and how you can overcome them

By Larry Winget We talk a lot about the things we want.

I want more money. I want a better relationship with my spouse. I want good responsible kids. I want a promotion. I want to be healthy. I want to be smarter. I want to retire. I want, I want, I want… AS SEEN @ HFIC 2012!

But do you know what people really want? They want what they’ve got. It’s a simple formula: You have what you want because your actions produced your results. Not your words and certainly not your wants. Do you have a plan for success? Why not? It’s time to cut out the endless chatter about the things you want, the things you wish you had. It’s time to stop wasting your time with excuses and explanations for why you aren’t quite where you need to be. This book is the swift kick you need to cut out the bad habits that are keeping you from your goals. Figure out what you really want, not what you say you want, and get started on your action plan for success. Send your reading recommendation to melissa@retailerNOWmag.com.

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Your Voice

2

Retailer Retailer Q What changes have you made in your business to remain relevant to today’s consumer?

Todd Bye

La Crosse Clock La Crosse, WI

Clocks are what we mainly sell and are known for first. In many peoples’ minds, clocks are just something used to tell the time. Responding to customers perceptions of what we offer is always a challenge but it can be fun. We will be told things like, “I don’t need a clock. I have one on my cell phone.” But you can’t see the time when it’s in your ear, can you? For us, inspiring them to see a clock not as a utilitarian “need” but a cool decorative home accessory that can be both functional and stylish and to buy it from us is an everyday challenge, but fun at the same time. We always consider our message, which is why we changed our slogan to, “Time isn’t the only thing on our side”. We work to get people to see the style, value and fun, not just the function, in what we offer and include that message in all of our ads. “It’s not just what you say but how you say it.”

Read more of Todd’s answer at www.retailerNOWmag.com. 10

JUNE | 2012

Alex Macias

Muebleria Del Sol Phoenix, AZ

We have really invested in our websites, and we now have an employee dedicated to social media. Part of investing in our website was to make it fully bilingual. Even though we cater to a mostly Spanish-speaking consumer, we felt that it was important to have everything available in both English and Spanish. Along with making our website bilingual, we added an area to join our mailing list, a news feed providing fresh and relevant content, a room planner and a career page that allows people to apply online. We also have made it possible for people to connect to our page by using their Facebook login, so they can easily leave comments throughout the site.

Read more of Alex’s answer at www.retailerNOWmag.com.

www.retailerNOWmag.com

Jim Fee

Stoney Creek Furniture Stoney Creek, ON, Canada

We have spent a lot of time over the last six to eight months really refreshing our showroom. We have also made some personnel changes that has allowed for a newly revitalized visual team, as well as, our new custodial team that has the store looking cleaner than ever. All of this, we hope, will make the in-store shopping experience better and more relevant than ever. I still think that an engaging showroom display will always be more impactful than an online experience. To help engage the consumer, and hopefully drive them to our store, we have been sending out a monthly newsletter informing our customer’s about what is new and going on. We are working on developing a stronger social marketing strategy and gathering mobile members to send exclusive offers, incentives and information to. Hopefully a stronger social presence, along with our well-visited website (which is also going through some enhancements) will keep us relevant to the consumers in our marketplace.


STOP

End the debate & open your newest location

THE MADNESS By Johne Albanese

50 Million

consumers who have never known life without the Internet... you were taught to go to the mall— they learned to go online. 12

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The Shift

It’s Time to Stop the Madness

I

wonder sometimes if it is human nature to ignore the obvious. You know what I mean. It happens to all of us, often more than once. Something is staring us right in the face, something so clear and compelling that it’s like being hit in the face with a fan blade, and yet, ignore it we do. Or perhaps it’s more a matter of hoping to avoid change or of holding on to wrong until you hope it becomes right. Whatever the case, we do it a lot.

And now, perhaps the most significant paradigm shift in consumer purchasing practices since the credit card is upon us and despite the clear and obvious implications, we don’t seem to want to act. I can’t be sure which one of the above reasons, or others that certainly exist, can be used to explain it, but this much I do know. We must absolutely let go of whatever the reasons are, and snap out of it (my thanks to Cher in Moon Struck). It’s time to stop ignoring the obvious and start embracing eCommerce in the home furnishings industry. We need to accept the fact that despite the naysayers, consumers WANT to be able to purchase home furnishings online from the comfort of their own homes and/or offices (sorry bosses but it’s a fact). We must let go of trying to be the ones who accurately predict why it won’t work and start paying attention to those who run the show… our customers! What are our customers saying? By using their most powerful voting tools (their money) consumers have overwhelmingly stated that they want to buy our products online. Just look at the facts. In 2002, sales of home fashions online were miniscule, nearly immeasurable. In 2011, according to the U.S. Department of Commerce, consumers spent over $13 billion on home fashions purchases that were made online. Yes you read that right! It’s become a major growth engine for businesses that have NOT ignored the obvious and spread their wings into the iSales space.

Consider these examples: XX At the end of 2011, Williams-Sonoma reported that in the past year, their Pottery Barn and West Elm businesses experienced nearly 20% growth in their online business versus low single digits in their brickand-mortar. In fact, their online business is now nearly HALF of all PB and WE volume. It comes as no surprise that in 2012 the lion’s shares of their capital expenditures are going into their eCommerce efforts. XX TJMAXX/Home Goods announced that in 2006 they tried eCommerce and had horrible results so they shut it down. In 2012, they announced that eCommerce will be the primary growth engine for them for years to come and they are focusing significant resources toward eCommerce. Some change in five years. A major home furnishings retailer has stated that after starting eCommerce five years ago that their “online store” will be their largest volume store in 2012 (out of over 100 locations!!) XX Don’t even get me started about Anthropologie, IKEA, Wayfair, Hayneedle, or the other dozens (and perhaps tens of dozens) of online retailers of home furnishings These lists go on and on and I don’t want to bore you with statistics. Okay, I take that back. Some of these are pretty important. For instance: XX In 2011, over 100 million Americans made online purchases. XX The majority of purchasers were in the home furnishings demographic “sweet spot” of between the ages of 25-54. XX Millennial’s recently stated in a study by Furniture/ TODAY that they would buy online BEFORE they would shop in a traditional furniture store. That’s over 50 million consumers who have never known life without the Internet, a laptop and a cell phone. For them, shopping online was learned the same way as we learned to shop at the mall! XX More than half of all consumers asked stated that the primary reason they want to purchase online is convenience. XX Online sales of home furnishings is by far the fastest growing segment of sales for the industry, outpacing traditional channels by as much as 400% annually in terms of percentages of growth

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The Shift

Retailer’s Comment “Showrooming is simply a new form of the same competitive challenges we’ve always faced as a retailer. At Tepperman’s we understand that our responsibility is to provide our customers with the styles, values and services that they’re looking for, the education to help them make the best decision for themselves that they can, and to package all of that together as a really positive experience. If we accomplish that then we will be able to successfully compete... period. We’re fortunate to have our stores in cities that also happen to be communities. In each of our locations we’re proudly part of those communities and so we’re able to provide a very different kind of relationship experience. Customers know that we are here for them and that they are our focus—they can’t get that from an online retailer.” Noah Tepperman, Tepperman’s, Ontario, Canada Learn more about combating showrooming on page 17.

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So now we know just a few more reasons why offering our products for sale online is important, if not critical, for our success. Further, based on real-world examples that exist (Pottery Barn, Raymours, El Dorado, etc), a HYBRID model seems the most fitting for the consumer’s needs as well as the industry as a whole and the most likely to provide the very best volume potential. This model (brick- andmortar with an iSales component) solves the vast majority of problems that eCommerce might present to our industry. Local-focused eCommerce combined with your existing stores is the right model. This allows for both convenience shopping as well as the right kind of consumer service and delivery for our products. It also allows bricks and mortar retailers to carry far more product than just what is in their stores. So, in short, every retailer who is willing is already more than half the way there. So let’s stop finding reasons to say no and get started. There are several things you need to be successful at locally-focused eCommerce. They include: • A great eCommerce website • A strong social media presence • An integration strategy for your existing assets (warehouse, salespeople, customer service, etc) • A basic understanding of Google Places, Google Adwords Express • Search Engine Optimization • Search Engine Marketing • And a commitment to be very very responsive to consumers. Whew! That’s a mouthful, right? Is that enough to scare you away from acting? Don’t let that happen.

www.retailerNOWmag.com

Within our industry, there are a number of companies that can provide very cost-effective solutions and services that assist you in getting your new online “store” launched. You don’t need to build an entirely new staff of experts to manage this “location”. The best solution for most retailers will be to outsource this work to one or more of the various companies that exist and that are ready to help. In effect, they become your eCommerce business partner and they make sure what needs to happen, happens to ensure the success of your eCommerce presence. From there, you continue to focus on the operations of your company and simply integrate the new location into the business. There are literally dozens if not hundreds of companies in our industry who offer one piece or another of the overall web experience, and you can create your eCommerce business using an a la carte system. In addition, several companies offer complete solutions, allowing you to remain focused on your core business while allowing them to manage the development, execution and in some cases, the operation of your eCommerce location. Ultimately, there are lots of choices and many of them are very good. You just have to decide how you want to operate your new “store” and then pick your partners. Of course, if you have the wherewithal, you can also do it all yourself. With all of the opensource systems (translate: free) in the marketplace, it’s certainly a doable option. It wouldn’t be my first choice but that’s a decision you have to make based on your own internal strengths. If you found out today that a major retailer was going to open a 100,000 square foot home furnishings store next to you, it would cause the blood to run cold in your veins. I’m here to tell you that they are already there. And the reason they get your business has less to do with your pricing and your store than the fact that you are not offering your consumers the ability to buy online. Showrooming, a new term that has entered the lexicon


The Shift recently, is not a matter that should be addressed with changing how you operate your business—it should be addressed by being online yourself. Of course, manufacturers also will play a prominent role in making eCommerce a priority. A great example of a company who truly gets it is Stein World. Under the direction of Jack Johnson, they have rebooted their entire corporate strategy plan by inlaying eCommerce into the mix. They believe strongly in the hybrid model and of a local eCommerce focus. Just this past market they outlined their new plans to their retailers, and I expect to see great things from them in the eCommerce space in the months to come. But all manufacturers need to rethink their position on eCommerce. They can start by getting rid of archaic Internet policies that are more detrimental than beneficial and focus their efforts on an embracing of the channel rather than treating it like some small piece of extra business. They need to create pricing models that are based on, and exist within, the legal boundaries as outlined by the Supreme Court in 2007. These models need to be designed to attract business while defending the brand value of the manufacturer. Such models actually assist retailers of all kinds and ultimately help the consumer understand the true value of their offerings. In a sense, it’s a winwin-win for the manufacturer, retailer and consumer. And ultimately, manufacturers need to come to terms with the need to offer direct home delivery of their products. More and more retailers are going to begin requiring this of manufacturers in the next two years as consumers are looking for shorter and shorter delivery cycles. By resetting their packaging, product design and shipping practices, manufacturers can create consumerready products. Truthfully, the first manufacturers to focus and execute on this will find themselves in an extremely attractive competitive position. I know that there are more parts to this puzzle than I’m able outline here. But the key point of this discussion is to simply understand that it’s time for you and your company to put yourself where consumers in your market want you to be. They want to see you take full advantage of the implacable advantage that every local retailer has over those from distant places and that is proximity. Take full stock of your most significant advantage and start working on your new online “location” today! Johne Albanese has over 25 years of home furnishings experience and has served in senior business development and marketing roles in the home furnishings industry for Bassett, Natuzzi, American Drew, Lea and others. An early adopter of all things web, Albanese convinced Bassett to put an online store on CompuServe (before the web was the web) in the early 1990s. Since that time, he has continued to follow the emergence of the Internet as a primary shopping channel for home furnishings. Albanese currently serves as an iSales and iMarketing consultant to retailers and manufacturers within the home furnishings industry. jfalbanese@gmail.com

Retailer’s Comment “Although El Dorado has had an online presence for over 15 years, it’s only in the last few years that we’ve begun to take full advantage of our web store. This occurred only after we decided to treat our online store as a regular store, with its own manager, merchandising, and customer service departments. Overall sales growth and the ability to offer our services and products to a much larger audience is only one of the benefits from being online. Our online store is open 24 hours, 365 days a week and a large portion of our online orders occur after regular store hours. We have found that with the proper tools in place, we have the ability to more closely and quickly monitor what products our customers are interested in. We then take this information and can immediately make adjustments to our line-up, display, and processes in our online store, as well as our brick and mortar showrooms. Surprisingly, a lot of what happens online drives what goes on in the showrooms. Services that were only available to our online customers like delivery tracking, electronic invoice delivery, and online payments have also become available to our showroom customers.” Mariam H. Farach, Web Store Manager, El Dorado Furniture

$13 billion

the amount consumers spent on home fashion purchases online.


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The Shift

SCAN How this new consumer trend can affect your bottom line By Martin Roberts

Scenario: An enthusiastic customer comes into your store, eager to purchase a new sofa. She sits on it, tests it out, even puts her feet on the ottoman—she wants this sofa. While engaging with your salesperson, she is also engaging with her new shopping companion, the smartphone. This companion doesn’t leave her side and is her instant access to the world outside of your showroom—including a better price for that very sofa she is sitting on. “Showrooming”, also referred to as, “Scan and Scram”, is the latest trend in consumer behavior. Consumers have always wanted to get the best deal and lowest price available on the products they purchase. However, in the past, other factors weighed in on any decision to purchase from one vendor or another. Now this balance has shifted. As a result of the proliferation of tech-savvy smartphone users, the state of the economy and a variety of new apps, showrooming has become the new challenge to brick-and-mortar retail stores. Customers view products in stores then buy from the least expensive online retailer. First appearing in the realm of retail bookstores, consumers have learned to browse around a store to select items they wish to purchase. They use this opportunity to actually see, feel and touch items. Then they use the new apps that are available on their smartphones, like Price Check by Amazon or eBay’s RedLazer, to scan the bar code or a QR code. A QR code (quick response code) is a two-dimensional bar code that can be read by a smartphone and provides a tremendous amount of information including links, text, multimedia content and more. Other apps can provide information about an item with just a photo or a name. These apps can list retailers who carry that identical item, the prices they are charging for it as well as consumer comments and reviews. Consumers locate the retailer offering the best price and purchase from them. Now this trend is evolving and invading other industries. Home furnishings retailers are definitely not immune. Brick-and-mortar retail home furnishings stores need to recognize this new trend and make a real effort to combat showrooming now.

Did she only buy the clock and is looking for a better priced sofa online?

www.retailerNOWmag.com J U N E | 2 0 1 2

17


The Shift

A customer will visit your store and wander around looking, touching and even photographing or measuring a product to “make sure it fits in their space”. It may seem like you’ve got an enthusiastic buyer! They may be enthusiastic buyers, but not necessarily from your store. These consumers are on a research mission. They will go home, sit at their computer, do some surfing and purchase the same item from any retailer who has the lowest price. For this new breed of consumer, price seems to be the only issue. To combat this scary, new trend, brickand-mortar retail storeowners must figure out how to convert these browsers into buyers. For a retail furniture store, this starts by examining what you offer customers who walk in your door. Some of the big questions are: XX What can you offer customers that they can’t get from an online retailer? XX How do you make these things just as important or even more important than just price alone? XX How will you combat “showrooming” in your store?

One of the ways to fight back is to make sure the items you are selling are, in some way, unique. Unique customizing prevents copying. Focus on service, knowledge and expertise. Make service a Unique packages, priority. Emphasize excellent in-store service as well as good pricing, a in-home service both before variety of sales and after a sale. Rethink the and deals, financing widely used cost saving strategy of hiring fewer employees. plans and other Replace apathetic employees “one-of-a-kind” who stock shelves and unpack offers that can boxes but can’t sell your products. Invest in a sales only be accessed team who will enthusiastically in-store will help promote your brand. bring customers in. Spend time with customers sharing your knowledge and helping them make educated selections considering their personal circumstances and needs. The professionalism and expertise of a well-trained sales team and competent staff who are polite, welcoming and go out of their way to take care of customers, will keep them coming back and recommending you to others. JWT Intelligence agrees that there is a “need for retailers to create unique experiences and environments… these could make a difference

between a loyal customer and one with a wandering Web browser.” Some of the strategies used have been to design attractive and appropriate displays and signage that best showcase their products. “Staging” is a successful technique used by real estate professionals to increase the appeal of the properties they want to sell. It works in retail home furnishings stores as well. Refresh your in-store environment, keep it interesting and appealing and present your products as “rooms” that help customers visualize the end product. Package your products so it is a much better deal to buy a few pieces together from you than one piece online. Offer variety and demonstrate your understanding of their need to create a unique space that fits their lifestyle and home. Building a connection with customers will promote loyalty and keep them coming back. For a recent client in Alaska, we redesigned their showroom with separate areas for customization. For bedroom furniture, this includes options for headboard detail, finishes and hardware selections. Another space provided customization opportunities for tables and chairs that includes choices of finishes and colors, leg design and more. And, we created unique rolling carts and racks that allow the sales team to bring fabric and trim selections to the customer while they continue to admire their furniture choices. These new store designs and customer service innovations help to provide an experience for the consumer that no online retailer can ever match. Unique packages, good pricing, a variety of sales and deals, financing plans and other “one-of-a-kind” offers that can only be accessed in-store will help bring customers in. Create incentives for consumers to want to buy from your store. Become a part of your community, get to know the people who live there and participate in and support community events. Creative thinking, unique products, staging, signage, displays, accessories, lighting and investing in people who will help maximize every opportunity to “Sell More, More Often” will help combat “showrooming” and the “scan and scram” mentality that is invading the industry. Martin Roberts is a design industry veteran with design credits recognized across the globe. Martin founded Martin Roberts Design, LLC, www. mrobertsdesign.com with offices in New York City and Stamford, CT. In addition to being a leader in retail design, visual merchandizing and branding, he is a well-known speaker and provides consulting services throughout the home furnishing industry. He can be reached by phone at (212) 365-4809 or by email at martin@mrobertsdesign.com.


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The Shift

SOCIAL—It isn’t just about Facebook

shopping is the new queen in the social arena

I

By Melissa Dressler

f you think the social arena is just about Facebook—then you are light-years behind your customer. Just as you get a grasp on connecting with your customer through one social media platform, she is moving on to the next— and in this case it is more than just a conversation.

She is curating, buying, and sharing her experience with her friends—all from

the comfort of her home. Best of all, it is fun.

With eCommerce sites popping up all around, you can no longer rely on the excuse of: people won’t buy online because they will want to feel the fabric or see the color in person. The fact is people are buying everything from jets to sofas online, without even seeing it. Gilt Home recently said the fastest growing category of their online flash sales site was sofas! Aiding in this process, and making it a fun, unique and a social experience for the customer is a new wave of shopping—social shopping. Consider it the “tangerine tango” of the eCommerce world. Often combining social media and eCommerce, social shopping takes in many different aspects of the social web, including likes, friends, voting, comments, etc., and focuses them on one of America’s favorite hobbies—shopping. Social shopping has been a big hit in the fashion industry for the last two years. Sites like Polyvore, which has more 20

JUNE | 2012

than 13 million unique visitors a month, allows users to curate product images from all over the web and build “outfits”, which they can then easily buy with the click of a mouse.

Some of these sites will link directly to your online store, while others are cashing in on the opportunity to sell directly to your customer.

www.retailerNOWmag.com


The Shift

Retailer’s Comment

Social shopping helps deliver quality content.The number one challenge with “online” production is delivering quality content.The better the content, the easier sales become. The closer we can get to actually putting the merchandise in someone’s home without actually putting it in their home, the easier the sales become. Frankly this type of shopping is the answer to the question “why would someone buy something that they can’t actually sit in”?

Kevin Aiken, Colleen’s Classic Consignment, Las Vegas, NV While social shopping sites take on many forms, such as flash sale sites like Gilt, Fab.com and One Kings Lane, the area that is really seeing growth are sites that allow users to be social curators and create ‘boards’ or ‘lists’ such as Pinterest, Polyvore and Olioboard. Most of these sites have an eCommerce tool that will allow a user to buy directly from the retailer’s website. There are literally thousands of sites out there that are now offering your customer a social shopping experience— and the number of sites grows daily. If there are so many, where should I focus?

It’s overwhelming—I should know—I was distracted for hours just researching (and joining) sites for this article (thank you social login)! There is no right or wrong place to focus your efforts and find ways to partner with these sites. The best place to start is to ask your customer what sites she visits. Also ask the specific site about their audience and reach. Lastly, you could look into some of the industry specific sites, such as Olioboard, Pure Home and Houzz. No matter where you end up, know that social shopping is the first step in a shopping revolution. If you aren’t ready to dive in, at least visit a few of these sites—it will give you tremendous insight into the mind of the female consumer! Learn more about the social shopping players and the next generation of shopping in our July issue!

Social Shopping Sites Changing the Retail Landscape With thousands of sites, where do you start? We did a little bit of the legwork for you and listed some of the more popular sites to check out. Buyosphere (buyosphere.com): Where people help people shop. Instead of wasting time searching through sites and images on your own, Buyosphere asks the question to a community of peers and they offer recommendations (and links to the sites!) Fancy (thefancy.com): Part store, blog, magazine and wishlist. It’s a place to discover great stuff, to curate a collection of things you love, to get updates on your favorite brands and stores and to share your discoveries. Mulu (mulu.me): A social platform for sharing the things you love and making the world a better place at the same time. Users can ask questions such as: I’m looking for a poster bed that is a good balance of contemporary and modern styling? Olioboard (olioboard.com): For interior designers and design enthusiasts, Olioboard is an easy and intuitive application for creating digital mood boards. Pinterest (pinterest.com): If you don’t know what this is yet, we have A LOT more work to do. Polyvore (polyvore.com): The web’s largest fashion community site, where users are empowered to discover their style and set trends around the world. Also includes interior design and furniture. Pure Home (purehome.com): Pure Home is a community for anyone seeking inspiration to explore new color palettes, discover decor trends and products for their home, and connect or share with like minds. Stylmee (stylmee.com): Allows users in the fashion and interior design communities to create virtual 3D boutiques. Svpply (svpply.com): Site members can keep track of the things they want to buy, and to browse a personal feed of products from across the web, curated and filtered by the people and stores they find interesting.


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EVENTS

Wogie Badcock, Joe Cory Susan & Heather Hanley

One of the “can’t be missed” general sessions

Gaining the Edge @

2012 Home Furnishings Industry Conference

“Industry changing? You bet! No one wants to deal with change. Most are scared of change. Shut up, deal with it and get a life.” —Larry Winget

T

he 2012 Home Furnishings Industry Conference this past May in Palm Springs, CA kicked off with a no nonsense approach to business and life. Opening session speaker, Larry Winget, offered a hilarious wake up call to the industry in his “Truth be Told” session. Larry shared business principles that work for anyone, while offering simple truths attacking traditional business wisdom. “Larry’s talk was a great slap to the forehead... it’s all about hard work and excellence— common sense stuff that we all know and forget to put into practice. Great job to the HFIC staff for bringing him to chat with us. It was really refreshing to laugh and learn,” said Giff Gates, Gates Furniture. Focused on Gaining the Edge in business, the two and a half day event helped the 370 retailers, vendors and manufacturers take a deeper look at their businesses and find new ways to be successful. Winget’s comments were often repeated throughout the event, reminding everyone why they were there, and why they were in business. The opening night continued to be a riot with “Minute to Win It” games played after the Welcome Dinner and Reception. The competitive spirit was alive as teams competed at events such as “junk in the trunk” and “hoops”. In the end, the Pink team was victorious, having the fastest times and highest scores. The night wasn’t over though, as attendees went into the Late Night Lounge for Serta’s “Date with Destiny”. The party went on late www.retailerNOWmag.com J U N E | 2 0 1 2

23


EVENTS

Michael Allen, Vicky & Scott Selden

Pedro & Ana Maria Capo, Martin Ploy, Suen Capo, Chuck Reilly Chris Cooley, Bryan Edwards

Peggy Burns, Travis Garrish, Carol Bell, Tamara Scott-Anderson

Davene & Terry Adams, Jeff Weinstein

“Another GREAT into the night, with many taking a job done by the

turn to karaoke, dance and play a game of Wii bowling.

HFIC staff. The The next morning started off with

Gaining the Edge sessions featuring

sports contest Satya Tiwari, Surya Rugs, and Pedro Sunday night Capo, El Dorado Furniture. Satya shared the story of his father, Surya,

reminded me of and how Surya Rugs got its start in my camp days India in 1976. He also shared his company’s seven pillars of success

as a kid—great which are: Be Passionate, Be Bold, Be memories! Met Transparent, Be Entrepreneurial, Be Young, Make an Impact and Have

some great people Fun. Pedro followed with his own

inspiring family story, sharing how his

and continued to family came from Cuba and started a learn. Can’t we prosperous furniture business. Pedro started off his presentation like he

do these twice a does every meeting with his staff— year?” —Ron Cooper, asking people to get up on their feet, Profit Management Promotions

24

JUNE | 2012

and shake it! Pedro shared insight into how El Dorado Furniture continues to keep their stores fresh, such as removing product off the floor if it doesn’t sell in two weeks. A Product Showcase allowed attendees to shop for new products and services at “event-only” pricing. The 15,000

square foot Showcase featured 56 exhibitors showing everything from new software systems to the latest in children’s bedroom products. The “Let’s Make a Deal” Product Bonanza later that evening featured amazing, show only pricing for one hour. Attendees came, bought and enjoyed a round of cocktails before hitting the desert for a night on the town. The RetailerNOW Launch Party saw attendees partying into the wee hours of the morning, while RetailerNOW delivered up a “scoop” or two at an ice cream bar. “I’d like to compliment the team on a very well run conference,” said Doug Wolf, Alleghany Consignment. “It was as nicely done as any I’ve been to, including the “good ole days”! You did an especially good job of getting, and keeping, people in the exhibit hall. We were very pleased with the traffic, and efforts to keep the exhibit hall active fun and full! Making it the center of the show and bringing great value to exhibitors.” Tuesday morning had everyone gathering again for another Gaining the Edge session


EVENTS Marty Melcher, Bob Aita, Wogie Badcock, Bobby Papazian

Sherry Clark, Lori Green, Sherry Sheely

David Masin, Shane Spiller, Wogie Badcock : Cyndi Harkness, Jan Shuel, Chris Gates

Lara & David Anthony walking the red carpet

The crowd got on their feet during Pedro Capo’s Gaining the Edge session

RetailerNOW Launch featuring Bruce Cochrane, Lincolnton Furniture. Bruce shared his family story of moving manufacturing from the U.S. to China, and then back again (read more of Bruce’s Remade in America story on page 39). After another two rounds of breakout sessions, attendees filed in to hear the last presentation by former Yahoo! CSO, Tim Sanders. Tim shared his success of using confidence that catapulted him from a sales executive at Mark Cuban’s broadcast.com to Chief Solutions Officer at Yahoo! in less than four years. The two and a half day event full of fun, education and networking ended with a memorable Living the Dream Gala event, sponsored by Serta. Attendees donned their best formal

attire and walked the red carpet. Paparazzi snapped away and caught the “stars” of the evening as they made their way into the ballroom. Big band music had people “swinging” throughout the night and a flipbook photo booth station had attendees laughing and having fun. Everyone was a star. “It is always fun for me to attend our industry conferences. I leave each time having learned something new,” said Wogie Badcock, W S Badcock Corp., Mulberry, FL The next Home Furnishings Industry Conference will be in New Orleans, LA, June 2-4, 2013. For more fun, photos and information about the 2012 event, visit homefurnishingsconference.com.

“A highlight of the conference for me was having Pedro Capo pull back the curtain of El Dorado to get a better understanding of how they continue to be successful,” said David Gunn, Knight Furniture. “The family and their story is so inspiring, but the real take-away for me was the attention to detail. Pedro’s ‘ Do It Today ’ philosophy was one of the first things we implemented after the conference.”

RetailerNOW the new, bold publication by the NHFA and WHFA was launched during the 2012 Conference and received rave reviews! Everyone questioned who was our actual cover model (we will never tell!) and joked about which retailer it was. What we heard:

I love the ‘no nonsense’ approach—it dovetails so well with the conference!! —Jody Seivert, One by One Companies

Great! Keep up the good work. —Angel Lopez, Dearden’s It’s a home run. I want to read it. The color and layout makes it exciting! —Cherie Rose, The Rose Collection

It’s an incredible first issue. Our industry NEEDS this type of energy now more than ever, and it is exciting to see it happening. We will all be better and more prosperous because of these projects. Thank you for believing and making a difference! —David Gunn, Knight Furniture


EVENTS

In Closing (until 2013 New Orleans!) A note from Larry & thank you to our generous sponsors The Cold, Hard Truth If you thought you have heard it all from me, you haven’t.

Ron Page, Randy Coconis, Mike Root, Chad Coconis, Bo Coconis

The cold, hard truth about success: You don’t think your way to success, happy your way to success or positive attitude your way to success; you WORK your way to success. Success comes from HARD WORK and EXCELLENCE. And it takes both. You can’t get there with just hard work. I know people who work really hard at their job but they aren’t any good at their job. So in the end, it doesn’t really matter how hard they work. And excellence alone isn’t enough either, as I know people who are

excellent at their job but don’t work hard enough for their little bit of effort to make a difference. It is always the combination of hard work and excellence that creates long-term, sustainable success. And remember this: work doesn’t care whether you like it, love it, or are having fun doing it. Work doesn’t care whether it is your passion or whether it is your purpose. Work only cares whether it gets done and would appreciate getting done in the most excellent way possible. —Larry Winget Larry Winget is a five-times New York Times/Wall Street Journal bestselling author translated into 20 languages. Find out more at www.larrywinget.com.

Jason Harrow, Marty Cramer, Fred Nader, George Nader, Gary Absalonson

Joey Gunn, Knight Furniture, Amy Schmidt, April Johnson

Marc Schewel, Marty Melcher, Chris Sanders

A big thank you to our 2012 Home Furnishings Industry Conference Sponsors: Signature Sponsor: Serta • Premier Sponsors: Aspenhome, Furniture Today, Home Furnishings Business, Leggett & Platt, International Market Centers, MicroD • Titanium Sponsors: AICO/Amini, Ashley, Coaster, Emerald Home Furnishings, FurnitureDealer.net, GE Capital, High Point Market, Myriad Software, Nourison, Surya, TempurPedic • Platinum Sponsors: Best Buy for Business, Diakon Logistics, Furniture Wizard, Innovative Delivery Solutions, Med-Lift, Sleep-Ezz, Kidz World, Phoenix A.M.D, R&A Marketing, Simmons, Zenith Global Logistics • Gold Sponsors: American Leather, Aramark Uniforms, Fairmont Designs, Guardian Products, Inc., Hooker Furniture, Pacific Furniture Dealers, Steve Silver Co., STORIS Management Systems • Silver Sponsors: Diamond Mattress, DSI Companies, Guardsman Furniture Protection, Lane Home Furnishings, PROFITsystems, Sandberg Furniture • Bronze Sponsors: Aireloom Mattress, AVB, Century Lighting, CFMA, TwinStar/Classic Flame, Credit Source, Elite Leather, Flexsteel Industries, Furniture of America, Great America Furniture Services, Kincaid, Klaussner, Lea, Mail America, Netsertive, Oriental Weavers, Profit Management Promotions, Standard Furniture, Trendwood, Inc., Truckskin, Tyler Net, Vanguard Furniture Co. 26

JUNE | 2012

www.retailerNOWmag.com


a guaranteed gross margin regardless of selling price. “The combination of a consignment store and a full line home furnishings business is perhaps the most exciting retail idea in the last 25 years.”*

*Jerry Epperson, Managing Director Mann, Armistead & Epperson, Ltd., speaking at the 2012 Nationwide Marketing Conference.

That get your attention? It should. If you own a home furnishings business, and you’ve been looking for a way to grow your store’s cash flow, without investing a penny in additional rent, remodeling or inventory, Allegheny Furniture Consignment (AFC), a complete, turn-key integrated consignment website and operating software package with proven policy and procedure manuals may be just what you’re looking for. Here are just a few of the reasons to consider consignment:

• • • • • • • • • • •

A competitive advantage for your existing store. Source of profit without executive distraction or risk. Guaranteed gross margin regardless of selling price. Repurpose underperforming real estate or space. NO inventory investment. New source of traffic for your business. Low overhead. No leasehold improvement dollars required. Huge demographic range of consumers. Flexible merchandise philosophy. Exclusive geographic markets available.

If you’re intrigued by AFC’s potential, please call Doug Wolf at 814-742-4380 ext. 1127, or email dwolf@wolffurniture.com

Consignment is the fastest growing retail channel in the last decade.


EVENTS

April Market Dazzles

High Point

This past April, thousands in the home furnishings industry took off for High Point, NC, for another unforgettable Market experience. New showrooms were opening, buyers were shopping and overall, there was a sense of excitement in the air. All were curious of what 2012 will bring to the industry. A.

Here is a look at some of the highlights of the April High Point Market. Retailers of the Year The National Home Furnishings Association honored and awarded two of its members with the prestigious Retailer of the Year award in April. Belfort Furniture in Dulles, Virginia, led by Mike Huber, and Lawrance Furniture in San Diego, California, led by Howard Haimsohn, were awarded the 2012 Retailer of the Year and enjoyed a Gala filled with family, friends and industry supporters. Belfort Furniture was named Retailer of the Year in the over $10 million in sales category. Mike and Kristi Huber opened Belfort Furniture, as it is known today, in 1987 with one employee. By 1992, the 35,000 sq. ft. Belfort Galleries opened. Belfort Basics opened in 2003, followed by Belfort Mattress & Kids in 2004, Belfort Interiors in 2005, and in 2006 Huber created a new state-of-the-art 83,000 sq. ft. warehouse.

B.

C.

D.

A: Retailer of the Year, Belfort Furniture: Rick Zullo, Lauren Huber, George Huber, Peggy Huber, Mike Huber, Kristi Huber, Lacey Huber, Matt Huber B: Retailer of the Year, Lawrance Contemporary: Howard & Julie Haimsohn C: Pillar of the Industry: Jerry Epperson presented John Bassett III, Vaughan-Bassett Furniture, with the award D: IHFRA Past President & Distinguished Service Award: Richard Gillispie with his wife Patricia

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Lawrance Furniture was named Retailer of the Year in the under $10 million in sales category. It was originally founded as Modern Furniture Company in 1937 by Herman Haimsohn and a friend. In the mid-1950’s Howard’s father Ed took over the family business and changed the merchandising strategy from a general furniture store to a modern specialty retailer. The third generation of the family entered in 1976 when Howard joined the ranks. Today Howard and his wife Julie operate the leading retailer of modern and contemporary home furnishings in San Diego County. The International Home Furnishings Representatives Association (IHFRA) also awarded John Bassett III, of Vaughan-Bassett Furniture Co, with the Pillar of the Industry Award and Richard Gillispie, IHFRA Past President with the Distinguished Service Award.

Congratulations to the 2012 Retailers of the Year, Belfort Furniture and Lawrance Furniture! www.retailerNOWmag.com


EVENTS

Style Spotters @ High Point Every corner you turned during High Point Market, there was a new trend and style to be seen. Clean lines, dark, dramatic colors and contemporary looks were abound. The Style Spotters—who are bloggers and/or interior designers—posted and curated their favorite looks on Pinterest and attendees were asked to vote for their favs. This Market’s Style Spotter winner was Traci Zeller, owner of Traci Zeller Designs, who received 958 likes and 1308 repins on her boards. “I have a clean, classic aesthetic and, during this market, I was particularly drawn to strong lines and great color,” she said. “The products I chose are stylish, sophisticated and versatile with superb attention to detail. Everyone wants a current look that does not appear overly trendy, and the way to do that is to reinvent the classics for today.”

Isn’t this C.R. Laine Whittier Swivel Chair fantastic? The green ikat polka dot is right on trend (so fun!), and a swivel is so functional in today’s multi-purpose spaces. C.R. Laine (H/W 310 N. Hamilton, 2nd floor) #HPMkt 40 likes

2 comments

51 repins

Uploaded by user Melissa Berard Harrison, Great color combo...

Plum, purple, violet, lavender - whatever you want to call it - is hot, hot, hot ... in every shade and hue! HGTV has a new line of home furnishings, HGTV Home, and I predict a huge hit. The Alaine Leather Wing Chair, shown here in Grandeur Plum, has fantastic nailhead detailing and is available with a matching ottoman. Stylish and very comfortable, it’s the perfect “living room appropriate” alternative to a recliner! HGTV Home (IHFC C1003) #hpmkt 35 likes 46 repins tracizeller.com

See some of her popular pins on right and view all of the Style Spotters pins at http://pinterest.com/StyleSpotSpr12/.

Product Launches @ High Point Coplin Loveseat Henredon’s Upholstered Furniture collection Silk Collection, Huppe Tippett Occasional Chair, Martha Stewart Fine Furniture

Charleston Mirror, Oomph Clarendon Ottoman, Thibaut

Next Generation-NOW

City of Hope

An intimate group of the next generation of the industry met for “Chatter Over Cocktails” during the April Market. Hosted in Café Blossom in the Fairmont Designs showroom, the group saw many new faces, including a group of furniture design students from the Appalachian State University in Boone, NC. “The Chatter Over Cocktails event is a great way to get the Next Generation of our industry together to network and share stories. This group is the future of our industry,” said Kevin Doran, R&A Marketing.

The annual Spirit of Life Gala raised $1.5 million for City of Hope at Market. The event was held at the Grandover resort to honor Jeff Seaman of Rooms To Go and Bob Sherman of Serta, who received this year’s Spirit of Life Awards. A total of $2.5 million was raised this year by the home furnishings industry.

Chatters Over Cocktails

Raises $1.5 Million

The next High Point Market is October 13-18, 2012. For more information, visit www.highpointmarket.org.

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Your Voice

RetailerNOW sat down with Adam Young, RC Willey, and Nick Gates, Gates Home Furnishings, to discuss the ins and outs of social media. While the size of their operations greatly differ (one store compared to 13), their social media experiences were very similar. See what they have to say is happening in social media, today.

RetailerNOW:

How do you use social media for your business?

ADAM: We use social media for many different reasons. One of them is to bring potential customers to our social media sites and show them what we offer—whether it is a promotional offer, giveaway, special offers that they can either use in store or online and show that we have a variety of different products in all of the categories we sell, appliances, mattresses, furniture, electronics and flooring. NICK: We decided that we would tackle one social media outlet and then move onto another one from there. When we tell customers to follow us on Facebook, we tell them that our Facebook page is the inside scoop to everything going on in our store. We cover everything from employee birthdays, promotion (including Facebook only promotions) and new products in the store.

NICK GATES Gates Home Furnishings Grants Pass, OR One location www.facebook.com/gatesfurniture 2,024 Facebook Fans pinterest.com/gatesfurniture ADAM YOUNG RC Willey Utah, Nevada, Ca, Idaho 13 Locations www.facebook.com/rcwilley 74,139 Facebook Fans www.twitter.com/rcwilley pinterest.com/rcwilley

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JUNE | 2012

NICK: The generating sales part is a sticky question [both laugh]. I just got done having a conversation with my dad about this. He loves the idea of social media and the interactions we are creating, but he hasn’t seen any real sales dollars attached to what we are doing on Facebook and social media in general. It is tough. We don’t have a way of showing on the bottom line how many dollars were generated directly from Facebook. I think it is a pretty big moving target. And Adam laughs too because I am sure he is having similar issues. ADAM: It is always going to be an issue—and yes, I have that issue too. We are always trying to showcase what it does for the bottom line overall, but at the same time, it can’t just be about sales. This is social media. If you just focus on sales, people won’t stay there, they won’t communicate back and forth, and they won’t want to follow your pages—they will bail on you as fast as they can. You have to make it more enticing for them to come to the pages, see what’s new and what you have that will be important for them to follow.

www.retailerNOWmag.com

RetailerNOW:

So, both of you are using it as a tool to create awareness and generate sales?


RetailerNOW: How

do you show the ROI of social media since social media is about building relationships as well as sales?

NICK: We have taken an approach that we need to combine our traditional forms of media with our social media campaigns. Any piece of traditional media that we are sending out, we are promoting that if you go online then there is supplemental material that you can only get online. It enhances the whole process. We may never be able to attribute a certain amount of sales to a social media outlet but we can use this to enhance and see if a promotion does well or not. It is hard to do a social media only promotion at this point so we are trying to get into the mindset now that it is a collaborative effort between our traditional and social media channels.

Nick Gates, General Manager, Gates Home Furnishings

ADAM: It is a truly sticky subject. We actually did try a social media promotion just two weeks ago. We only promoted it on Facebook and nothing else. We were successful on that. It really just depends on the offer, the variables, and how much extra you put into it, and in time, it will show that there is success in it. We had good numbers overall for just a one week promotion. We offered fans $50 off a $399 purchase of furniture, mattresses and flooring.

Read more about Adam and Nick’s social media experiences and their advice for others in the industry at www.retailerNOWmag.com.

Adam Young, Community/ Online Reputation Manager, RC Willey

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Your designer meets in the customer’s home to create the shopping cart and check inventory availability for delivery. The warehouse staff needs to quickly receive an item to load it on the delivery truck. The owner or manager is traveling and wants to get a quick glance of their daily or monthly business analytics. All of this can be done with a tablet or smartphone. Myriad Software understands how important it is to be mobile. Whether it’s to close a sale or review the important aspects of your business, a tablet or smartphone will provide access to your business management system in or outside of your daily operation. So if you’re looking for a business system that allows you to work when you’re in your operation and on the go, think Eclicktic™ and Eclicktic™ BE Mobile. Contact a Myriad Software sales representative @ sales@myriadsoftware.com

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What’s Selling

What’s Selling Would you like to know what products are selling in stores like yours around the country? Every month, What’s Selling Now will feature best sellers from across the country—in different styles, categories and price points. Here’s what’s selling now…

Submitted By: Travis Garrish

Cost: Queen bed—$649

Store Name: Forma Furniture

Retail Price: $1,399

Location: Fort Collins, CO

Product level: Bed upper end

Is the product: Made In America—No, Canada Warehouse ready—No Container Product—No

Why do you think it is a successful seller: Clean lines, simple, timeless contemporary design. The Anthricite finish is selling best overall. How available is the product from the manufacturer: 6-8 weeks lead times

Manufacturer: AP Industries Product Name: Element series, Capri queen bed Look for these symbols to let you know more about the products:

Made in America

Additional information about the product: Birch veneers and solids

Warehouse Ready

Container Product

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Made in America

By Melissa Dressler

MADE IN AMERICA

WHAT’S THE BIG DEAL? Manufacturing is coming back to America—Does it matter?

Re-shoring, in-sourcing, or on-sourcing, whatever you want to call it, has been a hot topic the last few months, from The White House to the last High Point Market. After decades of outsourcing our jobs and manufacturing to the cheapest labor (usually to China), there are now signs pointing to manufacturing returning to the United States. What does that mean for the furniture industry, and at this point, does it matter?

So what! I just SELL furniture—I don’t build it! So what does this mean for you, the furniture storeowner? After all, you just sell furniture, you don’t build it. You may not even live in an area where manufacturing is expected to boom. But it still will matter. First, and foremost, it shows a positive outlook of a growing economy in the future. Manufacturers will need to start hiring, and as more Americans become employed again, they will have more disposable income. This trickles down to your store, because the more income your customer has, the more they are willing to spend in your store. In the end, bringing manufacturing back to the U.S. isn’t just about the manufacturers or retailers—it is about their communities. Many communities became ghost towns when manufacturers packed up their facilities in the 1990s and headed to China. With this slow resurgence of business coming home, it gives these once devastated communities a glimmer of hope. 34

JUNE | 2012

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Made in America

Casegoods made in the U.S. will never be affordable

For more than a decade, China was always a top (and cheap) resource for manufacturing. They had a seemingly limitless supply of low-cost labor, a rapidly developing domestic market, and low currency and incentives to attract foreign investments. As time has progressed, the economy has greatly shifted in China—rising wages, a low unemployment rate, productivity issues and limits to automation has made China less appealing for companies. According to the study, Made in America, Again, by The Boston Consulting Group, China’s cost advantages of an exporter for North America are rapidly eroding, and thanks to years of unemployment and very little wage increases, the U.S. is once again becoming a more attractive place to manufacturer goods. “There’s a pendulum that swings all the time,” said Harold Sirkin, coauthor of Made in America, Again. “And now it’s swinging back.” From 2000 to 2009, exports from China for furniture soared from 7.5 percent to 25.9 percent, and the U.S. lost some 6 million manufacturing jobs (across all industries). Most thought it was the end to all U.S. manufacturing. Somehow, U.S. manufacturing was able to hold on and remains a robust industry, increasing productivity levels while decreasing employment. According to The Boston Consulting Group’s report, “The conditions are coalescing for another U.S. resurgence. Rising wages, shipping costs, and land prices—combined with the strengthening renminbi—are rapidly eroding China’s cost advantages. The U.S., meanwhile, is becoming a lowercost country. Wages have declined or are rising only moderately. The dollar is weakening. The workforce is becoming increasingly flexible. Productivity growth continues.”

The Boston Consulting Group predicts that by 2015, the cost of production in China’s coastal cities will only be about 10 to 15 percent less than the U.S. When you factor in shipping, inventory costs and other considerations, the cost gap between making a product in China versus the U.S. will be minimal—meaning casegoods built in the U.S. may one day be comparable in price.

But wait, not everything is Made in China! As furniture retailers and manufacturers know, not everything is made in China. In fact, years ago many furniture manufacturers started moving facilities into Vietnam, Indonesia, and even Mexico, to keep costs down. While manufacturing will likely continue to shift to these lowcost nations, the Made in America,

Proudly Handcrafted in the USA since 1946

rowefurniture.com

claytonmarcus.com

robinbruce.com

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Made in America

Again study states that these nations won’t be able to absorb all of the export manufacturing that is expected to leave China—mainly because they don’t have the workforce. When you add in the fact that these

other nations have an even lower productivity level then China, the cost savings aren’t that much. Mexico is one country that may benefit from this shift in manufacturing. With its close proximity to the U.S., low wages and duty-free trade agreements, Mexico might be a new source for some North American manufacturing.

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Even with this shift, not everything will be Made in America. The furniture industry will always be a global marketplace, and there will always be a want and need for imported goods.

Exporting Furniture Instead of Jobs

As we see more companies come back to America, a new trend of exporting is starting to occur—where we are exporting goods, instead of jobs, to China. The U.S.-China Business Council said that the Chinese spent $104 billion in U.S. exports last year, which is up 542 percent from 10 years ago. China is now the third largest buyer of U.S. exports, just behind Canada and Mexico. Fox 8 News in Greensboro, N.C., ran a three-part series last month on this new trend, and how it is impacting the furniture industry. Made in NC, Selling Fast in China, by Nicole Ferguson, tells a story of how a growing middle class of Chinese citizens love, and want, Americanmade furniture. During her story, she visits a home of a wealthy Chinese family that was recently outfitted with half a million dollars of Americanmade furniture, from manufacturers like Lexington and Baker. While prices weren’t disclosed, it was mentioned that the Chinese consumer is willing to spend up to 15 percent more than what it costs in the U.S., and they are willing to wait up to six months to receive their furniture. This new trend of outsourcing products, instead of jobs, might be just what is needed to bring manufacturing jobs back to America, and North Carolina. What do you think about “re-shoring” and manufacturing back to America? Continue the conversation online at www. retailerNOWmag.com, and see a list of Made in America manufacturers. To read the full Made in America, Again report, visit www.bcg.com. Watch Fox 8 New’s three-part series at http://tinyurl.com/furniturefox8


Made in America

Does the customer care? By Britt Beemer

Many people express their desire to “buy American,” but when it comes to actually paying for it, do they?

H

ere is the data based upon furniture shoppers over the last two years: There are 26 percent of Americans who say they will make every effort to buy American, but only 80 percent of those really make that effort to pay more than they planned to buy American. The sad thing about these findings is the 42 percent of families who formally “bought American” were either WWII veterans or immediate family members of WWII veterans. Not only is that generation nearly gone, but many children of those WWII veterans are also an aging population. In the end, 20.8 percent actually bought Americanmade furniture. But the future does not look bright because those “trueblue” American buyers are virtually all over 60 and predominately from blue-collar households. Many don’t expect to buy any more new furniture for many years. Additionally, those under 35 have little interest in buying American unless American-made means they pay less money.

The problem today is American-made is typically more expensive and in some cases like leather, “Italian-made leather” is premium quality over American leather. One of the determining factors behind “buying American” has been the U.S. auto industry which was muddled in fever by the bailout of GM and Chrysler causing some “American-only” buyers to give up since they were politically conservative and totally against the bailout. Mix a little politics with business and business always suffers! American furniture manufacturers need to re-connect with those 40 year olds who have more money and will pay more if they are given a reason, but buying American for America’s sake is not a winning marketing strategy today. America’s Research Group (ARG) is a consumer research-focused business development firm that provides clients the insight, strategy and tactics to increase market share. Founded in 1979 by C. Britt Beemer, Chairman, ARG’s expertise in consumer behavior has made it a key resource and its principal a trusted advisor to the nation’s leading brands and top retailers for over 30 years. For more information, visit www.argconsumer.com or email britt@ARGconsumer.com.

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Our Associations gratefully recognize all of our supporters whose dedication and committment has strengthened our industry.

Acuity A. Mutual Insurance Company Advertising Concepts of America Affordable Furniture AICO/Amini Innovation Corp. Aireloom Beding American Express American Leather Ashley Furniture Industries, Inc. Aspenhome Associated Volume Buyers Banner Marketing Becker Designed, Inc. Bernards, Inc. Best Home Furnishings Braxton Culler, Inc. California Furniture Manufacturers Assoc. Capital Marketing Concepts Cargo Consolidation Services Celerant Technology Century Furniture Century Lighting Coaster Company of America Color Ad Cory Home Delivery Service Craftmaster Furniture, Inc. Cramco, Inc. Davis Direct DĂŠcor-Rest Furniture Ltd. Delivery Solutions Diakon Logistics Diamond Mattress Co. Dom Granat DSI Companies Ekornes Elements International Elite Leather Emerald Home Furnishings Fairmont Design

Flexsteel Furniture of America Furniture Options Furniture Wizard FurnitureDealer.net GE Capital Great American Furniture Services Guardian Products Guardsman/The Valspar Corp. Hancock & Moore/Jessica Charles Harden Furniture Company High Point Market Authority Holland House Homelegance USA Home Furnishings Business Magazine Hooker Horich Parks Lebow Advertising Impact Consulting Services, Inc. Innovative Delivery Systems James Parker Insurance Associates Jofran Sales, Inc. Julius M. Feinblum Real Estate, Inc. Kincaid King Hickory Furniture Co Klaussner Home Furnishings Lane Home Furnishings Lazar Industries Lea Leggett & Platt, Inc. Liberty Furniture Lifestyle Enterprises Linon Home DĂŠcor Products Lynch Sales Company Magnussen Home Mail America Massood Logistics Med-Lift Mobility

NHFA

National Home Furnishings Association

WHFA

Western Home Furnishings Association

MicroD, Inc. Mohawk Finishing Products, Inc. Myriad Software Natuzzi Americas, Inc. NetSertive Nourison Industries Pacific Furniture Dealers Phoenix A.M.D. International, Inc. Profit Management Promotions PROFITsystems Protect-A-Bed Restonic Mattress Corp. Riztex USA, Inc. SAP Retail Serta Mattress Companies Simmons Sleep-Ezz Source International, Inc./4 Sales Finance Sourthern Motion Sphinx by Oriental Weavers Standard Furniture Steve Silver Co. STORIS Management Systems Surya Tempur-Pedic The Uttermost Company Tropic Survival Advertising & Marketing TruckSkin, LLC Twin Star/Classic Flame Tyler Net, Inc. Valassis, Inc. Vaughan Furniture Co. Versatile Systems Wahlquist Management Corporation World Market Center Zenith Global

SEHFA SHFA

South Eastern Home Furnishings Association

Southern Home Furnishings Association

New England Chapter

To become an industry partner contact:

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National Home Furnishings Association | 800.888.9590 Western Home Furnishings Association | 800.422.3778


Made in America

Remade in America

M

Restoring a Nation’s Confidence By Melissa Dressler

ade in America means a better America,” said Bruce Cochrane, owner of Lincolnton Furniture. Bruce has become a household name to many, especially in Lincolnton, N.C. A fifth-generation furniture manufacturer, Bruce sold Cochrane Furniture in 1997 to another manufacturer, and in 2008 the U.S. factory shut its doors and all production headed to China. Bruce headed to China as well and worked as a consultant to furniture importers. After years of witnessing arising issues first-hand, Bruce decided to bring manufacturing back to the U.S. with Lincolnton Furniture. “I felt like the technology and the productivity of the American worker would be the real game changer. It would allow us to compete,” he said. In January of 2011, Bruce assembled a team that began working on a plan to bring manufacturing back to America. “We started working on this concept, bringing in what we did in the past,” Bruce said. “The plan included different elements, including securing financing and equity—private equity. We had great success with securing financing with our local community bank but we had no luck with the big banks. The president of the local bank, who used to work at Cochrane Furniture when he was a kid, was willing to give us financing. He knew everyone, he believed in the furniture, and he knew we could do what we said we could do. We got started, bought equipment and decided we were going to manufacturer solid wood furniture with traditional cabinet joinery, that was Made in America and guaranteed for life.”

While Lincolnton Furniture’s story focuses heavily on bringing manufacturing back to America, the core to its success is the people that made it happen. “It is what we have done, it isn’t what I have done. It is all about the people—the people that work at Lincolnton Furniture have done this,” Bruce stressed. “I haven’t done it. I helped the process along.” It’s the people that are the heart and strength of Lincolnton Furniture. When Bruce started hiring, he brought in a core team of people that had previously worked for his family at Cochrane Furniture. Many had been unemployed for years, and

this was a business decision,” he said. “I told everyone up front that this has to do with making money and being a profitable business. The time is right to do this, and we are going to work together to be profitable and very successful.” The Lincolnton Furniture team knows they will face challenges, but they have confidence in their product and their team. Bruce encourages more manufacturers to bring business back to America, because it is good for the company, the industry and the people. “There are so many people that have taken their factories, and moved all of their efforts to Asia,” he said. “I

yet they are all really slaves to the offshore imports...

most felt unsure of their current abilities. “Our Purchasing Manager, Pat Hendrick, told me, ‘I have been praying about this. I can’t believe you called me, but I just don’t think I can do it again. I don’t think I can do it any more.’ And I said, ‘Pat you did it for 25 years, you can do it again.’” Bruce heard similar stories from many of his past employees—people had lost their confidence in their ability. They were in despair—thinking something was wrong with them rather than the circumstances. Bringing jobs back restored their confidence in themselves, and the world around them. It has started to revive a town once full of shuttered factories. His people and their stories have become an inspiration to Bruce. He knows that he is doing something risky, and that some still believe that furniture manufacturing will never return to the U.S., but he is confident that this is a smart business move. “This was not an emotional decision,

am talking about great companies, with great manufacturing history, yet they are all really slaves to the offshore imports. That is all they are. Just take the initiative to do what we have done at Lincolnton Furniture—it is not very hard. Yes, it is time consuming but there are so many people that are willing to step up and help. I had 18 people that worked for seven months, and they worked for nothing. No pay—they just wanted to be a part of it, and believe in what they were doing. There are so many people in these furniture communities that are willing to step up and do it. Not just willing, but eager and enthusiastic about it. The managers of these factories need to start their own domestic initiatives. And if they want to come in and look at what we have done, which is a great template for the future of furniture manufacturing— not only in the United States, but in the entire world—we welcome and encourage people to visit.” After all, Made in America means a better America…

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NHFA

National Home Furnishings Association

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WHFA

Western Home Furnishings Association

Retailers East of the Rocky Mountains, call (800) 888-9590 SEHFA SHFAwww.nhfa.org

South Eastern Home Furnishings Association

JUNE | 2012

Southern Home Furnishings Association

Retailers in the 12 Western states, call (800) 422-3778 www.whfa.org

www.retailerNOWmag.com

NHFA

National Home Furnishings Association

WHFA

Western Home Furnishings Association

SEHFA

South Eastern Home Furnishings Association

S


Product Focus Casual/Outdoor

Trends In Outdoor Style By Laurie Rudd

Discovering an individual style for outdoor spaces has become one of today’s top trends in home decorating. The following are a few of the latest tips and trends in the casual furnishings category that could prove handy when assisting consumers in creating their personal outdoor décor.

Casual Style—Luxury Design Trends.

Cannes Deep Seating—Pride Family Brands

Design options being introduced for spring 2013 span over-the-top sculptural wicker to intricate cast aluminum. Whatever the motif, one trend that has grown in 2012 is luxury; in style and in construction. “We are seeing a trend toward the higher end products,” said Rory Rehmert, vice president of sales and marketing, Pride Family Brands, cast aluminum casual furniture manufacturer, Hollywood, FL. “Among our 10 top selling collections this season, two are from our premium lines and carry some of our highest price points. We see this as an indication of consumers returning to investing in their outdoor spaces.”

Pulling it Together—Accessory Trends. A trend that does not see any signs of slowing down is the addition of unique accessories entering the outdoor marketplace with each season. Today, outdoor durability extends to lighting, art, rugs, sound systems and more. “Table or floor lamps are a popular outdoor accessory with weather resistant components and a diversity of designs from traditional to contemporary,” said Douglas Orians, vice president sales and marketing, Patio Living Concepts, Linn, MO. “Energy efficient LED lighting options also are being introduced with remote control color-changing capabilities to highlight outdoor entertainment and overall ambiance.”

Durable Décor—Indoor-Outdoor Trends.

Patio Living Concepts

The investment in outdoor furnishings is possible due to the category’s ongoing innovation focused on durability and lasting qualities. Ease of care along with fade, stain and overall weather resistant capabilities are now being seen as a growing trend for interiors as well. Hospitality venues are leading this movement with efforts to incorporate furnishings built for the out-of-doors into interior designs. Greater emphasis is also being placed on a flow-through style trend with a coordination of indoor furnishings spilling forth seamlessly to the outdoors.

Fashion Forward—Fabric Trends. Fashion today is an integral part of outdoor décor with the advances in outdoor textiles. No longer, however, is fabric coloration alone in determining al fresco fashion statements. The latest fabric trends include extreme textural weaves to the soft beauty of outdoor leathers. Additionally, the fabric selection process and the use of design consultants by outdoor furnishing manufacturers is a fast growing trend. “Manufacturers are realizing the potential fabrics provide in not only completing looks but in presenting a company’s overall fashion image and design philosophy,” said Marcia Blake, president and creative director, Outdoor Interiors, a full service design firm, Laguna Niguel, CA. Designer Marcia Blake incorporates accessories into a Pride Family Brands outdoor setting

With the excitement, innovation and growing interest in outdoor décor, the trends and opportunities to be found within this segment are anything but casual. Laurie Rudd is a veteran of the casual/outdoor living industry and an expert in the promotion of leisure and outdoor products and a free-lance writer on the topic of outdoor living. Laurie is the owner of Laurie Rudd Public Relations (laurieruddpr.com), Winterville, NC.

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JUNE | 2012

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Quick Fire

Ignite your marketing It’s Time to Pass the Baton to the coming generations of customers Right now, three unique generations are buying or seeing your advertising message every day:

Baby Boomers `` Born between 1945 and 1964, this generation is 76 million strong.

`` They control nearly 80 percent of financial assets and about 50 percent of all discretionary spending power. `` Their focus has switched from acquisition to preservation.

`` There are still sales to be made, though not nearly as many.

Generation X `` Born between 1961 to 1981, this generation is much smaller than the Baby Boomer generation (46 million vs. 76 million. `` X’ers have not fared as well financially as baby boomers: •

Expect some up and down years and manage your business accordingly.

Focus on making it through the next five years or so, when the much larger Generation Y begins to form households.

These generations, along with remaining Baby Boomers, are spending.

Coming up next month find out more about transitioning to the next generation in RetailerNOW!

Generation Y…the “Millennial” `` Born between about 1982 and 1998, this generation is 75 million strong: • •

Those numbers compare to the Boomers

Gen Y shows an inclination to marry and have children later to make sure they get it “right”.

`` This is the first generation to be raised with technology at an early age: •

To them, if it’s not on the Internet it doesn’t exist. If they can’t reach you through Facebook, Twitter or text, you won’t reach them at all.

`` It’s vital to understand what this means to marketing and communicating with this group:

`` This will allow you to take advantage of the same kind of growth observed when the Boomers came of age. How do you succeed in this brave new world? Here are three simple suggestions: XX Don’t fight change. Instead, EMBRACE it. You will be better positioned to succeed if you don’t have to scramble to catch up. YY When you create your five year plan (you have one, don’t you?), if it looks like your previous plan, ask yourself if your business will be better or worse off if you just maintain the status quo. Be honest with your answer. ZZ Do what’s necessary to implement a technology-based approach to your specific situation. It may mean investing in people or creating new strategic partnerships. Invest with confidence that doing it right will give you a competitive advantage when opportunity knocks. Prepare to pass the baton now. Every winner does it flawlessly. Quick-Fire Marketing is brought to you by R&A Marketing. Armed with more than 25 years of furniture retail marketing experience as a full-service traditional and digital marketing company, R&A is the industry’s premier agency for retailers in the home furnishings and appliances/electronics industries. Visit us on the web www.ramarketing.com or email us at info@ramarketing.com.

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The Shift

The Solo Economy

THE SHIFT IN HOW AMERICANS LIVE By Melissa Dressler POP QUIZ:

Two customers come into your store. One is a happy couple looking for a new bedroom set and the other is a single, 30-something female looking for a new sofa. Which is more likely to buy from you that day (and spend more money?)? If you guess the happy couple, then you most likely guessed wrong. A new trend has hit the nation—living alone. A new book, Going Solo: The Extraordinary Rise and Surprising Appeal of Living Alone, by Eric Klinenberg, talks about the biggest demographic shift since the Baby Boom—people are learning to live alone—and it could be a great thing for your business. Today, more than 50 percent of Americans are single, and 31 million live alone. That means roughly one out of every seven adults lives ALONE! About 17 million women now live solo, and about 14 million men made the same decision to be solo dwellers. And while you think it might just be the next generation that needs their space, the majority of solo dwellers (more than 15 million) are middle-age adults between the ages of 36 and 64—the prime target age range of any home furnishings store. Of course, the younger generation is also choosing to live solo, with about 5 million (and quickly growing) between the ages of 18 and 34. The good news for you—not only do solo dwellers outspend their married counterparts, there are more homes (apartments, lofts, townhouses, condos—you get the point) to fill with beautiful furniture. Single people don’t have to worry about spending money on others—they get to spend it on themselves. In fact, they usually will spend about $6,500 more a year than a married couple without kids, and $11,000 more than a couple with kids (2010 Consumer Expenditure Survey). The Bureau of Labor Statistics estimates that consumption by U.S. singles contributes $1.9 trillion to the economy annually—the power of the single person is definitely rising. Will you be there to have them spend money with you?

ARE YOU PAYING ATTENTION? As evidence continues to emerge about the solo dweller’s buying power, companies are shifting products and strategies to target this market. Here are some more signs: Nestle’s research shows that 90% of its Lean Cuisine meals are eaten alone; Ikea has reported a rise in their “small space” living products, which is where single people are more likely to reside; Norwegian Cruise Line has started offering “studio staterooms” for the single traveler. How can you cash in on the single trend? First, be sure you are marketing properly to this group—they don’t want to see a happy family buying furniture. That isn’t their lifestyle, so they won’t identify with the message. Next, offer products that can fit into smaller spaces. Solo dwellers live in everything from small apartments to large mansions—know your demographic and your area. Find different opportunities to connect with this market and offer products that appeal to them. Lastly, never assume that if a woman is shopping by herself that her husband is sitting at home—she easily could be living alone and proud of it. Want to learn more about this shift in American? Read Going Solo: The Extraordinary Rise and Surprising Appeal of Living Alone by Eric Klinenberg for more information.

www.retailerNOWmag.com J U N E | 2 0 1 2

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The Scoop

the scoop Del Sol Furniture to Open Flagship Retail Location

Corporate Champion

Del Sol Furniture opened its largest location in Phoenix, AZ, totaling 25,000 square feet, nearly double the size of their next largest store and represents a significant investment in an area previously underserved by home furnishing retail options. The company is taking advantage of the larger location to offer more product selection and is looking to establish the location as a flagship for the furniture brand. Additionally, the familyowned operation is committed to the revitalization of the surrounding West Phoenix neighborhood and contributing to a healthier local economy. The store has already created 10 new sales, support and management positions within the company with the potential for more growth in the future.

On the heels of a record-breaking year for its philanthropic Foster Kids Program, Sleep Country USA in the Pacific Northwest, has been named a Puget Sound Business Journal Healthy Corporate Champion in the Basic Needs category. One of eight Puget Sound companies honored, Sleep Country created its Foster Kids Program in 2005 to support the nearly 20,000 foster children in the Pacific Northwest through donations of important material items, like clothing, shoes, coats, school supplies, pajamas, and gifts during the holidays to area nonprofit foster organizations who serve them.

Gary Woodham Honored with Willis Award of Merit Gary Woodham of Colfax Furniture & Mattress in Greensboro, NC, was awarded the 2011 Willis Award of Merit during the Southern Home Furnishings Association’s annual convention at Pawley Plantation, SC. The Willis Award of Merit was created in 1954 by the Willis Family of Virginia Beach, VA, as a memorial to John Willis, Jr., and his son, Benjamin J. Willis, Sr. The intent of this distinguished award is to encourage and promote cooperation, understanding, and the exchange of ideas, and to lend dignity and purpose to the Southern Home Furnishings Association. It honors an outstanding home furnishings retailer in the SHFA area, who, in the opinion of the Willis Award Committee contributes most unselfishly to the community, industry, and the Lord.

Congratulations Gary and the Colfax Furniture Team! Sleep Country USA Honored as

In Memoriam Former NHFA President and longtime industry veteran, Stuart Shevin, passed away in April after a battle with lung cancer. The president of Standard Furniture in Birmingham, AL, was 63. He was both well known and loved within his community and the furniture industry. In 2000, Stuart was named the president of the National Home Furnishings Association and was credited with many ideas that helped move our industry forward. “Stuart, almost single-handedly brought about some great things for the retail industry,” said Steve DeHaan, National Home Furnishings Association executive vice president. “Stuart fought for bankruptcy reform and got all kinds of industries involved and made it happen. He saved consumers hundreds of dollars and retailers thousands of dollars with that one action. He was as personable as they come. He was always asking other retailers how they did this and that in their businesses and he always shared how he was doing things.” Stuart’s contributions to the industry will never be forgotten.

Gary Woodham, winner of the 2011 Willis Award with his wife Judy.

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Calendar

Calendar

MARK YOUR CALENDAR FOR THESE INDUSTRY EVENTS

Dallas Total Home & Gift Market June 20-26, 2012

August 19-21, 2012

Dallas, TX www.dallasmarketcenter.com

Edison, NH www.kemexpo.com

Dwell on Design

High Point Pre-Market

June 22-24, 2012

September 13-14, 2012

Los Angeles, CA www.dwellondesign.com/NHFA

Las Vegas Market July 30-August 3, 2012 Las Vegas, NV www.lasvegasmarket.com

61st Edison Furniture & Accessory Market

High Point, NC www.highpointmarket.org

more industry dates online at retailerNOWmag.com

Pictured Above: Sonoma Headboard, Thilbaut Fine Furniture

ADVERTISER

PHONE

WEBSITE

FACEBOOK

TWITTER

PAGE#

Allegheny Consignment

(814) 742-4380

alleghenyconsignment.com

http://tinyurl.com/alleghenyFB

27

Capitol Marketing Concepts

(804) 556-0531

capitolmarketing.com

www.facebook.com/capitolmarketing

36

Emerald Home Furnishings

(800) 685-6646

emeraldhome.com

www.facebook.com/EmeraldHome

03

Furniture Wizard

(619) 869-7200

furniturewizard.com

www.facebook.com/furniturewizard

High Point Market

(336) 869-1000

highpointmarket.org

www.highpointmarket.org/facebook

@hpmarketnews

07

Las Vegas Market

(888) 962-7469

lasvegasmarket.com

www.facebook.com/wmclv

@worldmarketctr

05

MicroD

(800) 964-3876

microdinc.com

www.facebook.com/microdinc

@microdinc

Back Cover

Myriad

(800) 676-4243

myriadsoftware.com

http://tinyurl.com/myriadFB

Nourison

(201) 368-6900

nourison.com

www.facebook.com/nourison

Planned Furniture Promotions

(800) 472-5242

PFpromotions.com

PROFITsystems

(716) 894-1414

Profitsystems.com

www.facebook.com/profitsystems

@PROFITsystems

19

R&A Marketing

(888) 225-0776

RAmarketing.com

www.facebook.com/RAMarketing

@RAMarketing

44

Rowe

(703) 847-8670

rowefurniture.com

www.facebook.com/rowefurniture

@rowefurniture

35

Serta

(888) 557-3782

serta.com

www.facebook.com/sertamattress

@sertamattresses

11

Surya

(877) 275-7847

surya.com

www.facebook.com/SuryaSocial

Web4Retail

(877) 536-4786

web4retail.com

www.facebook.com/Web4Retail

Zenith Global

(800) 937-3876

zenithcompanies.com

www.facebook.com/ZenithGlobalLogistics

NHFA / WHFA Sponsors

(800) 888-9590

retailerNOWmag.com

www.facebook.com/retailernow

22

32 @nourison

Inside Back 16

Inside Cover @web4retail

31 43

@retailerNow

www.retailerNOWmag.com J U N E | 2 0 1 2

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A quick dose of fun facts, random trivia and useful (or useless) bits of info

The Now List In 2011, street food vendors (including food trucks) accounted for a total of $1.4 billion in revenue.

70.1 million Dads across the nation—Happy Father’s Day!

Almost eight in 10 consumers said they follow a retailer’s Facebook, Twitter or blog.

(Shop.org 2011 Social Commerce Study)

Online sales of home furnishings is by far the fastest growing segment of sales for the industry, outpacing traditional channels by as much as 400% annually in terms of percentages of growth

Burning the midnight oil? Staying up all night will burn an additional 161 calories. That’s not much… it’s better to choose sleep!

If you are right handed, you will tend to chew your food on your right side. If you are left handed, you will tend to chew your food on your left side.

Laughing lowers levels of stress hormones and strengthens the immune system. Six-year-olds laugh an average of 300 times a day. Adults only laugh 15 to 100 times a day.

1 in 5 consumers look for competitive prices on comparisonshopping engines like PriceGrabber and Shopping.com. (Shop.org)

When hippos are upset, their sweat turns red. Beware of hippos that look slightly red! Nourison, Siam Rug

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More money is spent on gardening than on any other hobby!


Rug Boutique

e Las Veg thSHOWROOM

Visit us at

Market as

C112 WORLD MARKET CENTER


Las Vegas Market July 30 - August 3 WMC Building C-496

Premier Websites for the Furniture Industry For more than 20 years, MicroD has led the way with innovative furniture merchandising solutions. That’s why more than 85% of the Top 100 furniture brands and retailers rely on MicroD. We deliver the expertise, technology, and services to transform your online presence and drive customers to your stores. • Visually Stunning Product Presentations • Engaging, Interactive User Experience • Powerful Room Planning & Personalization Tools • Integrated Promotions, Incentives & Hooks • Improved Search Results and Rankings • Latest Mobile Tagging Technology • Comprehensive Content Management Services • Mobile Friendly Website

Upcoming Market Seminar Are You In The Driver’s Seat? Directing Traffic to Your Furniture Retail Site with Search Engine Marketing

www.microdinc.com solutions@microdinc.com 800.964.3876 ext. 2

June 2012—The Shift  

The world around us is shifting. See what changes are impacting us in technology, manufacturing and the solo consumer