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APRIL / MAY 2013 MAY / JUNE 2013

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featuresNOW 14.

In-EFFEKTIV Leadership


Leadership Refined


Stop Working IN Your Store


Ten Trends for Business Leaders


Leadership Toolbox


Train Yourself to be a Good Leader


Disaster Response


Case Study


The Four Cornerstones of Retail Leadership See more features on page two 


Dealing with Disaster

yourVOICE 11.

Roving Reporter High Point Market


Inspired Reading

12. 49.


Retailer2Retailer Community Today

Leadership Tips from Cherie & Valerie

count onIT

Here we go!






From the Association President


From the Editor An introduction

Membership Marketplace See page two for more 

on the cover


Expand your mind with a new world of leadership M AY / J U N E | 2 0 1 3


Mary Frye and Sharron Bradley at High Point Market


APRIL 2013

Vol. 2 Issue 3




APRIL 2013


National Home Furnishings Association


featuresNOW 42.

How to be a Sales Leader



Empowerment is Not Synonymous with Surrender




Enhancing Customer Experience


Lead, Don't Manage


Sales Numbers Trending Up?


Making Selling Easier So You Call Yourself a Professional

Western Home Furnishings Association

Read last month's issue— Get the RetailerNOW app!

M AY / J U N E | 2 0 1 3

count onIT

Market Wrap-up 60.

Hot Products from High Point


Furniture Industry Awards Gala


Caught on Camera

Tweets from High Point


Turning your Website into a Sales Machine

What's Selling Now Product Focus

Outdoor Furniture

73. Quick-Fire Marketing Relational vs. Transactional Advertising 75.

Industry Scoop


Industry Calendar


The Now List

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. 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.

Contact Information:

500 Giuseppe Ct., Suite 6 Roseville CA 95678

Publication Staff Jennifer Billock Editor

Tim Timmons Associate Publisher

Mailing – Advertising 500 Giuseppe Ct., Suite 6 Roseville CA 95678

Cindi Williams Business Development

Online: Phone: Editorial: (800) 422-3778 Advertising: (800) 422-3778 Social:

Editorial Collaborators

Andrew Tepperman Teppermans Windsor, ON

Subscription: $70/year Retailer Now, ISSN# 2166-5249, is published monthly (except March and December) by the North American 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 North American Home Furnishings Association, 500 Giuseppe Court, Ste 6, Roseville CA 95678. If you would like to stop receiving RetailerNOW, please send an email to If you would like to only receive an electronic version of RetailerNOW, please send an email to © 2012 North American Home Furnishings Associations. Published by the North American 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 the North American Home Furnishings Association. The views expressed in this publication may not reflect those of the publisher, editor or the North American Home Furniture Association, and North American 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.

M AY / J U N E | 2 0 1 3

Published by the North American Home Furnishings Association 500 Giuseppe Court, Suite 6 Roseville, CA 95678 800.422.3778

Lisa Tilley Art Director

Mailing – Editorial:


Magazine of the North American Home Furnishings Association

Carol Bell Contents Interiors Tucson, AZ Donny Hinton Colortyme Gaffney, SC Marty Cramer Cramer’s Home Furnishings Ellensburg, WA Rick Howard Sklar Furnishings Boca Raton, FL Travis Garrish Forma Furniture Fort Collins, CO

North American Home Furnishings Association Sharron Bradley CEO Mary Frye EVP Executive Committee Chair Howard Haimsohn Lawrance Contemporary President Rick Howard Sklar Furnishings President Elect Marty Cramer Cramer’s Home Furnishings Vice President Steve Kidder Vermont Furniture Galleries Secretary/Treasurer Paul Sanford Jerome’s Furniture Store SHFA President Britt Sams Sams Furniture SEHFA President Wogan S. Badcock III W.S. Badcock Corp.


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July 29 - August 2, 2013

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President's Message

from the president

Here we go! The North American Home Furnishings Association is now a reality! The formation of a single association is a dream come true for many of us. I am very honored and humbled to be asked to be your first President. The realization that NHFA, WHFA, and HFIA could become one organization started at the all-industry conference in San Antonio. Very soon after the conference, the idea blossomed and a transition committee was formed, made up of three members each from NHFA, WHFA and HFIA. After a year they came back to their boards with a unanimous recommendation to merge! Then the real work began for each association. The boards were called into session and, after long meetings, voted enthusiastically to move forward. The preparation and due diligence work began. In February, the membership was called upon to vote on the merger. The result? An overwhelmingly large majority endorsed the merger! We were on our way! The board was chosen and the staffs were readied. The first board meeting happened on May 1, 2013

Rick Howard, President North American HFA

What an incredible journey it has been and as I write this letter to you I am filled with thanks for everyone who did the heavy lifting! First the transition team: Howard Haimsohn, Marty Cramer, Chris Sanders, Joe Quintal, Marc Schewel, Cherie Rose, Steve Kidder, Stan Pickett, David Lively, Sharron Bradley, Mary Frye and Steve DeHaan. We all owe them a debt of gratitude and acknowledgment of the patient deliberation it took to get us here!

A special thanks to all the board members from HFIA, NHFA and WHFA for their dedication and courage to see the wisdom of this merger and overwhelmingly support it. To SEHFA and SHFA, along with the New England Chapter, thank you for your support and commitment to be part of the NAHFA! To Sharron, Mary and Steve (our association leaders) and their wonderful staffs, thank you so much for the huge amount of work and logistics necessary to get us to closing. Finally, I would like to recognize Valerie Watters and Cherie Rose for their support during their presidencies. You have been strong leaders and great advocates of this vision and here we are! Thank you for your dedication and determination to move forward. As I begin my presidency, it is with the knowledge that we have a wonderful and very capable new board of 36 directors who include my good friend Howard Haimsohn as our chairman and Sharron Bradley our new CEO. I am also grateful to have the support of the past directors from all our associations. We are on strong financial footing and our goals are lofty as we begin charting the course for our new association and adding value to each of our stakeholders. For my part, I promise I will do everything I can to see that our lofty goals are met as we take the best practices we know, invent some that don't exist yet and add value for all of us in our wonderful industry! I look forward to meeting you all and thank you for your support. Rick Howard


M AY / J U N E | 2 0 1 3

Reimagined. Reenergized. Reinvented. Las Vegas Market brings you a more inspired buying experience filled with: • • • •

More new lines to make your store stand out More introductions to excite your customers More emerging trends to freshen your offerings More exciting resources than ever!

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July 29 - August 2, 2013

TO DAY ’S TOTA L M A R KE T P L AC E Furniture | Home Décor | Gift

Editor's Message

from the editor from your new editor! As I write this, I'm sitting in the Retailer Resource Center at High Point Market. I'm exhausted, my feet are killing me, I desperately need a nap—and I am having the best time. I'm willing to bet, if you're here, you are too. It's so fun getting to meet all of you and dive into this incredible culture. But I want to take it one step further. I'll share something unique about myself if you do. Here's mine: I sang in Carnegie Hall my freshman year of high school and before writing came along, I was a choir teacher. Email me a unique fact about you, and we'll print it in the next issue. Let's get to know each other!

Jennifer Billock,

Editor, RetailerNOW

This issue is about leadership, and how appropriate. The magazine has a new editor, the North American Home Furnishings Association is now a reality and leadership teams across the board are changing. Whether you're striving to be the best sales leader in the industry, leading your store through a disaster, trying to improve your management skills... this issue will be your best resource as you continue to grow and evolve.

I'm looking forward to getting to know all of you through this magazine, markets, conferences and whatever other fun things we can cook up. The work we can do together is exciting and invaluable. For starters, I'd love to hear your thoughts. What do you think of RetailerNOW? What content would you like to see that we haven't covered? Or, what topics do you never want to see again? What direction would YOU like to see the magazine take? Email me any time at—it doesn't even have to be about the magazine. Tell me about your family and hobbies! I can't wait to hear from you.

(224) 627-3288 @retailerNOW

What I’m Loving…

The Darwin Table, Tjep. and DutchDNA We’ve all heard “you are what you eat,” but what about “you are what you eat ON”? Dutch design house Tjep., in collaboration with DutchDNA, is mapping buyers' genetic profiles and turning that DNA information into one-of-a-kind 3D furniture pieces. Talk about personalized retail!


M AY / J U N E | 2 0 1 3

Kincaid Furniture

We’ r e m o r e t h an j us t t r adi t i o nal .


With traditional craftsmanship, attention to detail and variety of selection, Kincaid is the No. 1 solid wood furniture maker in the country. We also offer solid partnerships, with industry-leading sales tools, and have one of the highestcertified sustainability programs. See all the ways Kincaid is right for your store at


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neW StYLeS FOr 2013

LeadinG SaLeS tOOLS



Have you used any of our tech ideas? Let us know @retailernow

Put it to Use Infinea Tab Combine an iPad with Infinite Peripherals’ Infinea Tab and you’ll be able to give your customers an unmatched retail experience. The Tab features a barcode scanner and magnetic stripe reader so sales can be completed from anywhere in your store. No more checkout counters or lines. No more paperwork. It can all be done from the iPad. Now you can show a buyer a sofa—and complete the sale while you’re sitting on it.

For more information, go to

Hot Site Personalize orders with your own line of designer fabrics to adorn your furniture. Spoonflower puts the creative power in your hands, allowing you to design your own fabric with art or photos. The company manufactures your custom textile and ships it right to your door. You can even get samples to make your own swatch book. Upholster chairs, make cushions and poufs, add a fabric inlay on a glass-top table— possibilities for a one-of-a-kind piece are endless!

Tech Inspired Sit your App Down The iconic Smartphone app symbol makes its furniture debut with the Apps line by Richard Hutten for Artifort. The chairs (Version 1.0) and sofas (Version 2.0) have wood frames and thick foam to ensure comfort. Pieces can be upholstered in one or two fabrics. Check out for more information.

Cool Apps Square Wallet Streamline your check-out process by syncing up with Square Wallet. Customers link a credit or debit card to their app. When it’s time to pay, all they have to do is say their name. The app can also be used to send and receive gift cards, and earn rewards to use towards future purchases in your store.

Available on Apple and Android. 10

M AY / J U N E | 2 0 1 3

Feng Shui Kua Finder Don’t just sell your customers furniture; sell them a life-changing experience. Armed with a name, birthday and gender, the Kua Finder provides a placement map to maximize the good Feng Shui vibes. You can provide your buyers a complete lifestyle overhaul just by suggesting furniture locations.

Available for Windows phones.

RNOW It's here! Now you can read the way you want to read. Stream the best of our magazine and special features online. And, see our archive of great articles, tech tips and more! Details p.57

What new technology are you using in your store? Email us at!

Your Voice

Roving Reporter | JENNIFER BILLOCK, Editor, RetailerNOW High Point Market

Ten p.m., High Point, North Carolina. I sat down to dinner and watched a two-inch-long insect climb up the wall above the chair I had just broken. No, really. My first trip to a furniture market and within a few hours of arriving, the bottom of my chair fell out and I had to high-tail it out of the roach motel that had my reservation to a palace of a place I only found with a stroke of last-minute luck. Not off to a good start? What an understatement. Luckily, the rest of the week was a fabulous success. I’m completely green to the furniture world and it appears I’ve entered an industry in flux. Market emphasized the changing mindset of not just consumers, but also of retailers and manufacturers. At breakfast the first day, I listened to a panel of new generation executives who discussed, among other things, the shift of the industry away from transactional retailing and into relational retailing. Store owners today are trying to reach out to the customer themselves, not the customer’s pocketbook.

Beer pong at High Point Market keeps retailers hydrated! Furniture Design, for example, was designed to emulate a walk through a home. Visitors were able to experience how the furniture feels in a real-world setting. No more overwhelming rooms with rows of dining tables. No more sofa after sofa or rooms with 30 mirrors along one wall. Market participants were encouraged to feel at home.

According to Vanguard Furniture’s president Andy Bray, reaching out to lifestyle consumers at Market and highlight“For us, it’s about inspiring the retail sales associates and ing options and inspiration works; compliments and sales designers for their next project,” said Alex Shuford, III, presi- are trending up. dent of Century Furniture. “They look to us to be inspired, Overall, Market’s vibe trended toward the young and fresh. and we want them to love us.” The industry appears to be ushering in a new generation of To that end, showrooms turned towards creative outlets and retailers and wants to welcome them with open arms—and lifestyle merchandising instead of segmented retail. The did so with bloggers, social media campaigns, television Market showroom for the Biltmore Estate Collection by Fine celebrities… and beer pong?

Inspired Reading Lead on Purpose

A project management guru combines his unique perspective with the principles of leadership

Michael Ray Hopkin

“Why Sports Builds Leadership” and “Developing Leadership Skills Early in your Career”) that make even the most complicated management process clear and concise. And, staying What began more than five years true to the blog’s roots, every post ends with a “project manago as an inspirational blog for projagement perspective.” Hopkin’s posts show that anyone can be ect managers has morphed into a a leader at any stage of the game, with wonderful results. Take well-rounded storehouse of tips for it from him: “You do not need to have a team to be a leader. leaders—both with and without emYour success depends on your ability to build consensus and ployees. In Lead on Purpose, Michael inspire others to give their best efforts to the project at hand. Ray Hopkin pulls from 15 years of leadership experience to construct cre- As you focus on being a leader among your peers, and even your boss, you will see amazing things happen.” ative and innovative blog posts (like Send your reading recommendation to M AY / J U N E | 2 0 1 3


Retailer2Retailer | Q Who would you consider a role model

in the industry and why?


hen I heard this question, I had to ask myself who has had the most impact on the way I operate my business day to day. My mind instantly went back to Peter Marino, a trainer from my past. Peter taught me not to sell, but to help our customers buy products that filled their need. He insisted that everyone in the company improve their listening skills by reading and discussing Listening: The Forgotten Skill by Madelyn Burley Allen. We can't fill a need until we learn what that need is. Listening uncovers that need. I constantly remind myself to turn on my listening skills to help me lead my company, uncovering the needs of my employees, vendors and customers.

The management team at Leggett & Platt listened and uncovered a need, and therefore is a role model in the bedding segment. They developed "Sleep Geek," a comprehensive sleep-training program to teach associates about sleep and the available products to help identify the needs of mattress shoppers. Leggett continues the training with an ongoing interactive website for retail sales associates to share and learn from one another. The outcome is happier customers, more focused sales associates and better profits.

Andy Peterson It’s About Sleep

Anoka, Minnesota

ABOUT THE BOOK THAT INSPIRED ANDY: Managers and other employees spend more than 40 percent of their time listening to other people but often do it so poorly that the result is misunderstood instructions, misdirected projects and erroneous action—millions of dollars' worth of mistakes just because most people don't know how to listen. In her classic guide to the art of effective listening, Madelyn Burley-Allen shows you how to acquire active, productive listening skills and put them to work for you—professionally, socially and personally. With her time-tested techniques, you'll learn how to: •

Eliminate distractions and improve your concentration on what is being said

Locate key words, phrases and ideas while listening

Cut through your own listening biases

Interpret body language clues

Ask constructive, nonthreatening questions that elicit real information

Get others to listen to you

Master a whole range of listening skills that you can use on the job and in your personal life

Listening: The Forgotten Skill uses an interactive learning approach with worksheets, charts, graphs and self-tests that help you pace and monitor your own progress.

If you have an inspiring book, video, blog, magazine or mentor experience to share with us, email and let us know.


M AY / J U N E | 2 0 1 3

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A brisk Saturday morning trip to IKEA generates many feelings: SKÄNKA Not sure I am ready to eat what comes out of here.

hh A strenuous feeling—after you’ve just finished lifting one of their 30 lb. (yet environmentally friendly!) floor rugs hh A diabolical feeling—after you receive the receipt (“I bought 16 items for only $39.28… really?”) hh A feeling of self-disgust—after you realize you forgot to bring your own shopping bag for those 16 items.

FYRKANTIG The name means “square.” Try saying that three times fast. The f-y-hard-k combo will get you every time.

BUMERANG I can see my five-year-old now: "But Mom, they said boomerang."


But every now and again, another feeling sheepishly surfaces from within: the feeling of immaturity. “Ha,” we snicker to ourselves, “that plant spray is called Fukta.” Most shoppers just consider IKEA’s product names to be a random potpourri of consonants, but most of the names are actually Scandinavian in origin. A few are even Norwegian, Finnish, Swedish and Danish words. According to The Guardian, the Swedish company's founder, Ingvar Kamprad (who is dyslexic), found it easier to remember products named after Scandinavian proper names and words than item numbers. This unique trait distinguished the retail brand from its competitors for decades. Aside from a few soft chuckles, this product naming model has generally served IKEA well for the past 70 years. However, as the retail industry giant approaches $28 billion in sales and more than 1 billion online visits, their product names are causing less schoolboy grins and more offended glares from their globally diverse consumers.

What the HELG happened Just this past April, an IKEA customer took their curiosity to (where else?) Google to enter the name of their Gosa Raps pillow into Google Translate. What they found was so disturbing that the customer then posted the translation on The pillow’s name translated to “cuddle rape.” While the customer was alarmed by the retailer’s audacity to name a pillow after a sexual assault, other users (who were Swedish), quickly corrected the translation. Fortunately for IKEA, the translation of raps, the Swedish word for “rapeseed,” was cut in half by Google Translate.

IKEA’s response… or LACK thereof DAGSTORP Dagstorp Runestone, a Viking-age granite memorial from a son to his father. Hmm, sounds incredibly comfy.


M AY / J U N E | 2 0 1 3

In the midst of lengthy blog comment strings and all the international media articles printed about “Cuddle Rape-gate,” where was IKEA’s voice? Surely THIS would have been a time to dust off the old IKEA Crisis Communication Handbook. So, what was IKEA’s official statement regarding their product naming process?


As all successful retailers and communications professionals know, customers armed with ignorance wound a store the fastest.

Playing devil’s advocate, they’ve provided some insight on their product naming process. According to The Independent, the best Bueller? tongue-in-cheek names are on display at the original IKEA museum in Sweden, and their search for product names includes Nothing. “going through dictionaries, websites, crossword dictionaries, atlases, announcements in the births column and place-name When The Huffington Post sought comment regarding the lists.” The product names must be between four and 10 letters improper translation, Ikea didn’t immediately respond. long and checked so that they should “never be ‘bad language’ in any of the many languages spoken in the countries where The BESTA course of action Calm the beast—clarify the situation. The customer who tried Ikea has business.” But I couldn’t find any of that information to translate the name of the pillow was not at fault here. As from a document directly circulated by IKEA. with most anxious consumers (and let’s be honest—aren’t the The ship will sink if all hands aren’t on deck. IKEA anxious ones always the most vocal?), he was not only offended, acknowledges there is an issue with their product naming but also wanted to share his offense online for empathy's sake. process… at least internally. They proactively prepare for As all successful retailers and communications professionals store openings in a new country, understanding that product Bueller?

know, customers armed with ignorance wound a store the fastest (and the media comes in a close second). From all the articles written about the misinterpreted translation, no one will remember the error of Google Translate. They’ll remember the fact that IKEA named a pillow “cuddle rape.” That’s why it’s important for retailers to be vocal. Also, showing transparency and adding your two cents ironically best guards you from additional questions, objections and criticism.

Speak for YOURSELF. IKEA has repeatedly seen their product names misinterpreted over the years, but maintains a policy of not being vocal when this issue arises. That PR stance may have worked before the dawn of social media (or even the World Wide Web), but in 2013, the curtain that is the relationship between the retailer, the media and the consumer must be transparent. The retail giant now operates in 298 stores across 26 countries and plans to expand by at least 200 more stores from now until 2020. It must come to terms with the fact that what’s worked in the past won’t work anymore. With such a large global footprint, it may not be necessary (operationally scalable) for IKEA to draft a press release every time a 28-year-old American male laughs at the Fartfull workbench. But there are other direct channels between the retailer, the media and the consumer—such as Twitter, Facebook and company PR blogs—where issues like product name misinterpretation can be addressed.

Continued on page 16 

RETAILERS, TAKE NOTE: When misunderstood by a customer, misinterpreted in the media or misrepresented by a team member, always remember to: hCalm h the beast—clarify the situation. Be vocal. Showing transparency and adding your two cents guards you from additional questions, objections and criticism. hhSpeak for YOURSELF. There are direct channels between the retailer, the media and the consumer—such as Twitter, Facebook and company PR blogs—where issues like product name misinterpretation can be addressed. hEnsure h that all team members know company policies and “hot buttons” so your team knows how to address those issues with customers and the media. M AY / J U N E | 2 0 1 3


Continued from 15 

names translate differently across the world. According to While Opaspipat’s first statement was persuasive, it was negated the Wall Street Journal, Natthita Opaspipat, an IKEA team by her use of the word “rude” in the following sentence. There member, spent nearly four years preparing for the launch of was no purpose in preparing for the IKEA Thailand location their Bangkok store in 2012 by carefully scrutinizing terms to in Bangkok to open (for four years!) if she couldn’t adopt the see how they sounded in Thai before transliterating them into company product-naming policy and effectively communicate Thailand's cursive, Sanskrit-influenced alphabet. Opaspipat it to the media. and other team members were quizzed on how to pronounce product names when speaking with customers, and consulted It’s obvious that a retailer’s success partly depends on their ability to ensure all team members (from IT associates to the company if they found a product name inappropriate. C-suite executives) know company policies and comprehend One can argue that after four years of preparation, Opaspipat their meanings. But most retailers don’t spend enough time and the Bangkok team should have anticipated and solved for reviewing their company’s “hot buttons” with team members, all translation issues. However, IKEA still came under fire for and as a result, team members have no idea how to address the name of a few products sold at the new Thailand location, those issues with customers and the media. Provide your team including the Jättebra plant pot. Jättebra sounds similar to a members not only with your company standpoint, but also key street term for sex in Thai. When quoted by the Wall Street words and phrases that will keep even the scariest detractors Journal regarding the incident in Bangkok, Opaspipat said “the momentarily at bay. Your proactive, EFFECTIV leadership will Swedish … words are important because they bring a unique breed a knowledgeable team. character to the brand,” but later stated in the article, “we've got to be careful … some of them can be, well, a little rude.” Christine Carter is the owner of Epps Consulting, a premier retail marketing firm. Epps Consulting strives to help retailers with customized and affordable

I can only imagine how quickly the PR, marketing and execu- marketing and public relations campaigns all across the nation. Learn more at tive departments at IKEA slapped their foreheads in unison. and

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Leadership Refined

By Heather Eagle

Every organization needs leaders at every level. Contrary to the adage that leaders are born, most leaders can be found and nurtured, if you look for the following character traits.

 Vision A leader with vision has a clear, vivid picture of where to go, as well as a firm grasp on what success looks like and how to achieve it.

Communication It’s not enough to just have a vision; leaders must be able to communicate the vision in terms that entice followers to buy into it. Better still is to engage employees in the development of the vision, strategy and plan.  Discipline A good leader must have the discipline to work toward his or her vision single-mindedly, and to direct his or her actions and those of the team toward the goal.  Action is the mark of a leader. A leader is always doing something in pursuit of the vision and inspiring others to do the same.  Integrity A person of integrity is the same on the outside and inside. Honest dealings, predictable reactions, well-controlled emotions and an absence of harsh outbursts are all signs of integrity. A leader who is centered in integrity will garner trust and be more approachable by followers.  Dedication means spending whatever time or energy is necessary to accomplish the task at hand. A leader inspires dedication by example, doing whatever it takes to complete the next step toward the vision.  Magnanimity A magnanimous leader gives credit where it is due. Conversely, a good leader takes personal responsibility for failures. This helps other people feel good about themselves and draws the team closer together.  Leaders with humility recognize they are no better or worse than other members of the team. A humble leader is not self-effacing but rather tries to elevate everyone. Humble leaders must also practice openness. Openness means being able to listen to new ideas, even if they don’t conform to the norm. Good leaders are able to suspend judgment while listening to others' ideas, as well as accept new ways of doing things. Openness builds mutual respect and trust between leaders and followers. It also keeps the team supplied with new ideas.  Creativity is the ability to think differently, to get outside of the box that constrains solutions. Creativity gives leaders the ability to see things that others have not seen and thus lead followers in new directions.  Fairness means dealing with others consistently and justly. A leader must check all the facts and hear everyone’s point of view to avoid leaping to conclusions. When people feel they are being treated fairly, they reward a leader with loyalty and dedication.

Assertiveness is the ability to clearly state what one expects so there will be no misunderstandings.   A leader must be assertive to get the desired results. Along with assertiveness comes the responsibility to clearly understand what followers expect from their leader. A sense of humor is vital to relieve tension and boredom. It can also defuse hostility. Effective   leaders know how to use humor to energize followers. Simply put, humor fosters good camaraderie. M AY / J U N E | 2 0 1 3


GE Capital

WE’RE NOT JUST BANKERS, WE’RE BUILDERS. At GE Capital, we’re not just bankers, we’re builders. With 80 years of experience, you can count on us to be there for you and your customers. For example, Kevin Murphy, relationship manager at GE Capital, brings real consumer credit expertise to the table and has developed a close working relationship with Robert Levin, president and CEO of Levin Furniture. Levin shares that offering credit is an expectation on the part of their customers, and is essential to their marketing program. With GE Capital, you can be sure people like Kevin are ready to help you build your business every day. Stop just banking. And start building.

Kevin Murphy Relationship Manager, GE Capital

Robert Levin President & CEO, Levin Furniture

Credit is extended by GE Capital Retail Bank © 2013 General Electric Company. All Rights Reserved.


Stop Working IN Your Store and Start Working ON Your Store by Rich Kizer & Georganne Bender


henever we sit down to write an article (Ladies and gentlemen, start your pencils!) we banter back and forth about what we want to say. Sometimes we enter that conversation with our tongues planted firmly in our cheeks, sarcasm being one of our best-loved traits. Plenty of consultants out there are more than willing to spout ideas on how you can grow your business, even if they’ve never worked behind the retail counter, nor woke up at 2 a.m. because the store alarm went off and the police are at the door, nor run out of gift certificates a week before Christmas. Ideas are great. It’s the implementation that takes time. So we thought a catchy title like “How to Kill Your Business without Even Trying” might be kind of fun. The title would surely catch your attention.

But it wouldn’t be funny. Being a retailer is tough enough these days. Even the most seasoned business person needs a little help now and again. Or a kick in the pants. So we ditched the sarcasm and went with what works: Six easily implementable ideas to make your customers sit up and take notice.

 Stop working IN your store and start working ON your store

everyday tasks to someone else. Easier said than done, even for us, but let go. Someone else can change that display, make a sign and update Facebook. Or clean the bathroom. Now, about that working ON your store. Grab your iPad or a pad of paper and pen, and then list all of the things you would do if you had more time. Things to consider include in-store events, updating your loyalty program/frequent shopper club, ideas to make a splash with email blasts, etcetera. Some days our list includes lunch. We bet yours will, too. Now, prioritize your list and vow to tackle a little at a time. You don’t have to do it all in one day, but you do have to get it done. Inch by inch, everything’s a cinch, so give it your best shot.

 Build a team of customer advocates

You won’t be able to work ON your busiRunning a retail store is hard work. From the time you unlock ness if you don’t have a strong team of the front door in the morning until you relock it at closing associates standing behind you who are time, you’re on your feet, deftly handling crisis after crisis. You ready to pick up whatever you put down. have speed bump displays to tweak, social medias to update, Building your team should be right at vendors to call, orders to place, bathrooms to clean, customers the top of your new “To Do” list. on hold who will only talk to you and a staffer who’s late—or Advocates need to be the best at what worse—called in sick and left you short-handed. Again. they do so start an official on-going asYou’re busy. We know. But we’re going to throw you a curve sociate training program. Thousands of ball anyway. It’s time to stop working IN your business and resources are available to help you do this. start working ON it. Your time and your talents should be Begin with industry-specific tools, like spent looking for, and implementing, new ways to grow your the great articles in RetailerNOW and business and you can’t do that if you are stuck in an office or business classes offered at the trade shows behind a cash wrap. So, take a deep breath and delegate the you attend. Purchase seminars on DVD, Continued on page 20  M AY / J U N E | 2 0 1 3



Continued from page 19 

Use best judgment in all situations. There will be no additional rules. —Nordstrom Rule #1

Look for nice people who can be trained to sell. It’s a lot harder to train someone to be nice. —Nordstrom Tip

plus CDs you can listen to in your car. Check out webinars and podcasts online. Ask your vendors about resources to train your team on technique. Film your own in-store seminars and demos, focusing the camera on the instructor, and don’t forget to record associates who excel in a particular area. Build a curriculum that clearly shows associates what’s expected of them. Put a TV and DVD player in your lunch room along with an iPod or CD player and headphones. Create tests on various topics to chart each associate’s progress. And keep your eyes peeled for opportunities to keep your training library up-to-date.

casionally they will mess up. That’s when you sit down together and discuss what they might do differently the next time, all while encouraging them to try again. Some of you might be thinking, “Yeah, right. What about the current associates who don’t fit the vision I have for my store?” Another tip from Nordstrom: Look for nice people who can be trained to sell. It’s a lot harder to train someone to be nice. We know; we’ve tried.

If an associate has ever uttered the last seven words of a dying company, “But we’ve always done it that way,” when you suggest a change, it’s time for a revival. Hold a store meeting to outline exactly how you expect everyone to act. Most  Empower everyone associates will refocus, but some may People who don’t like to delegate re- not; these are the people you need to ally hate the word “empower” because it think about replacing. Even if you rely means letting associates make decisions on them heavily, if they are hurting your on their own that affect both customers business they have to go. and the store. It’s nothing to be afraid of as long as you set some ground rules first.  Every associate needs Nordstrom, a family-owned and operated to feels valued company that has earned a reputation for superior customer service, was founded According to a Gallup poll, “the number on employee empowerment. Nordstrom one reason most Americans leave their encourages store associates to think like job is because they don’t feel apprecientrepreneurs—what a concept! For years, ated; 65 percent of the people polled the Nordstrom Employee Handbook was said they received no recognition for good work last year.” Associates who a single card containing only one rule: feel appreciated have proven to be more Nordstrom Rule #1: Use best judgment productive, stay longer and attract better in all situations. There will be no addi- co-workers. Only you can praise your tional rules. people to success. Obviously, not every one of your store associates will thrive with this much freedom—many won’t believe that you actually want them to make their own decisions, so you need to be concise about what you expect. You’ll also have to encourage them to actually do it. Most of the time, it will be smooth sailing, but oc-

Give every associate a stack of business cards printed with his or her own name and title. Cool titles. Instead of “Cashier” try “Customer Service Specialist.” You can buy 500 business cards at most instant printers for around $15. Your associates are well worth the investment. Encourage them to pass out their Continued on page 22 


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What if you could erase your debt?

What if you could do a full line conversion to a specialty store?

What if?

What if?

What if you could start over? Would you?

What if you could do a conversion away from a franchise?

What if yyou could reinvent yyour company?

What if?

Planned Furniture Promotions Can Help! If the financial challenges of business have become too much to handle, PFP has several choices of programs that can immediately solve your problems. The PFP “What IF” program is one of our many branded promotions for reinventing your business!

Listen to our clients on our website and hear what they have to say about PFP. Visit to learn more. #1 In High Impact Events. Make that first step. Call or Click today!


High Impact Events Since 1962 M AY / J U N E | 2 0 1 3



Continued from page 20 

cards—each one is a mini-advertisement for your store.

associate has a great idea, everyone tosses him or her a treat.

A C.I.T.A. Card is a great way to show your appreciation. C.I.T.A. could be the first four letters in the word “citation” or it could stand for “Caught in the Act,” as in, “You've been Caught In The Act of delighting customers!” C.I.T.A. Cards celebrate an associate’s going above and beyond the call of duty; each one has a place inside for you to list what the associate did for a customer, plus a place to add a personal message.

 Keep on top of your competition

Make a big deal when you present a C.I.T.A. Card. Do it on the sales floor in front of everyone. You’ll see grins from ear to ear, and a renewed enthusiasm. Don’t be surprised to find that even years later, the associate still carries the C.I.T.A Card. Drop us an email and we’ll send you our easy-to-customize template.

 Innovate Be the store everyone looks to for inspiration and innovation. Innovation relies on right-brain thinking—that’s the creative side of your brain. You have a team of right-brained thinkers right in your own store. When did you last ask them to share their ideas?

Most retailers hate keeping tabs on their rivals but it’s a necessary evil. You should walk your competitors’ sales floors at least once a quarter—every four to six weeks is a good rule to follow. This is important! You need to know how your store stacks up when compared to the competition. Review everything from the parking lot to the back door and every square inch in between, including the service areas and restrooms. Note the locations of instore signage, specialty fixturing, what’s displayed on speed bumps and in the lakefront property (front-right side of the store), vendors, product adjacencies, size and condition of the cash wrap and other service areas. Compare the policies, pricing and services offered to yours. Pick up circulars and weekly ads. Watch how store associates interact with customers. Buy an item and return it later to see how you’re treated. If you’re not comfortable visiting yourself, delegate this responsibility to a trusted store associate, a close friend, or even a good customer. Give them specific guidelines they have to follow. Drop us an email for a copy of our Mystery Shopper form.

After you hold your empowerment meeting, schedule a brainstorming session. Brainstorming means there are no bad ideas. No one gets to say, “That’s a stupid idea,” because that stupid idea just might lead to your next great success. Get a flip You’ll also want to visit their website. Is it chart and write down EVERY SINGLE easy to navigate? Is it fun and interactive? IDEA. If you anticipate negative com- Does the store post upcoming promoments then come pre-armed with squirt tions and special events? Can customers guns for each associate. Every time some- design project idea sheets online? Click one breaks the “That’s a stupid idea” rule, on every link and read every page, then the whole team gets to take aim and fire. visit your competition on Facebook, Buy a bunch of candy bars and when an Twitter, Pinterest and any other social


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media sites they are using. A Google search will help you discover where they are online. Want to find out what your competitors have up their sleeves? Set up a Google Alert for each one and you’ll receive an email with a link to follow each time they are mentioned online. You’re not finished yet! Sign up for an email account from Gmail, Yahoo or one of the other sites that offer free email, then register for everything that each of your competitors offer online. You‘ll know what’s happening in their stores at the same time as their customers. This is not an unfair advantage—your competitors would do it if they thought of it first. Remember Michael Corleone’s quote from The Godfather II? “Keep your friends close, but your enemies closer.” In a marketplace where every competitor wants to steal your customers, keeping a close eye on what they’re up to is just good business. So, from this point forward, vow to work ON your store, not just in it. Build a team of empowered associates and keep a close eye on your competition. Become known as a haven of creativity and unconventional thinking. And do just a little at a time; after all, inch by inch, everything’s a cinch!

Rich Kizer and Georganne Bender are professional speakers, authors and consultants. KIZER & BENDER made Meetings & Conventions Magazine's list of Meeting Planners' Favorite Keynote Speakers; they've also been named "Two of Retailing's Most Influential People." Rich and Georganne are experts on generational diversity, consumer trends, marketing and promotion, and everything retail. They are widely referred to as consumer anthropologists because they stalk and study that most elusive of mammals: today's consumer. For more information, go to or email



for Business Leaders Today By Thomas Malnight and Tracey Keys


he future looks uncertain and unstable. Hurricane Sandy was a deadly reminder of shifting climate patterns, emphasizing the need for new ways to manage the world’s resources and environment. There are growing levels of social unrest over rising inequality, austerity, unemployment, political ineptitude, institutional failure and more. And companies will continue to fail because they misread the future—like Kodak, which invented the digital camera but filed for bankruptcy after focusing on its core film business instead.

In our new Global Trends Report for 2013, we highlight 10 trends that business leaders need to focus on today.

 Social everything: New generations and their digital world stepping forward Social technologies are now a central part of everyday life and work. The social generations are reshaping companies from the inside, helping them to build broader, more agile networks to create and deliver value to customers. Mobility and connectedness will be at the heart of the future business environment. Communications and marketing are moving from a focus on one-to-one relationships to many-to-many.

  Redefining value: The consumer is winning the fight to own the new consumer The notion of value is being redefined for the 21st century. Consumers have choice. They want personalization and to participate in value creation, shifting the mindset to “made with me.” Value will also be about “shared with me” as the ownerless economy expands. This will be driven particularly by younger generations who value experiences they can share—and that also deliver benefits to society—over possessions.


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  Distributed everything: Mobility in production and consumption Mobility is entering a new stage. Not only does consumption occur anywhere, anytime, but the tools and resources to create and capture value are more broadly distributed, too. Work is becoming increasingly distributed. Small-scale manufacturing, including 3D printing, will reshape production. Renewable technologies are distributing energy production, while mass teaching platforms are revolutionizing education. Ask what can’t be distributed, not what can.

  The next “industrial” revolution: Robots and smart machines reshaping work Smart machines and robots will redefine society. Robots are now being deployed as receptionists, banking assistants and even prison guards, while technology allows amateurs to do what professionals once did. The upside: Addressing issues such as caring for ageing populations. The downside: Huge job losses. Yet the next wave of smart machines will also create new kinds of jobs. The challenge will be to create a workforce that is ready and skilled to utilize them.

  The new space race: Pushing the frontiers of technology once again Scientific advances from national space programs have had a significant impact on how we live and work, from advanced materials to global telecommunications. Now, commercial space travel and exploration is a reality. A new space race is heating up, particularly between the U.S., China and Europe. New advances will surely result, as will questions over the ownership of space “assets,” and whether advances will be shared for public benefit.


"made with me" digital freedom or "big brother"? democratization of everything

mass teaching platforms

multi-polar market landscape

commercial space travel

mobility & connectedness

consumer choice

"shared with me"

cybercrime & cyber war

  Geopolitical wars: The fight to control the future

  Information is power: The security challenge

Rapidly growing economies will be where the fight to control Cyberspace is the new frontline for security. Knowledge future economic growth and social development will take place. and information are a source of competitive advantage for It’s a multi-polar market landscape, based on dramatically organizations, nations and individuals. But it’s a growing different economic, social and political systems. Politicians, challenge to retain control as mobility and the democratization along with companies, are still trying to find and control their of everything (commerce, politics and societies) increases place in the new world order—even as trust in government along with cybercrime and cyber war. Look for a rising tide of falls, nationalism rises, and power shifts towards the people. litigation, policies and regulation. Digital freedom or a “big The potential for radical political shifts at home and between brother” society? nations is rising.

  Who needs banks anyway? Reshaping the financial system

  Resource wars escalating: From a world of abundance to shortage

As the world’s population moves towards 9 billion by 2050, The financial system is broken. Regulators want change, resources are under pressure, exacerbated by climate change. businesses want new means of financing and consumers want By 2030 we will demand twice as many resources as the planet alternatives. The “banks” of the future will include statecan supply—risking social unrest and conflicts as people and owned entities, and firms that simply don’t use cash—think nations compete for ever-scarcer resources. Scarcity is already bartering and community currencies. Digital wallets and driving resource price volatility and cross-border investments. mobile banking are opening the door for telecommunications New technologies and rethinking consumption will be critical and software players, while trust is the entry point for in future, with businesses rather than governments likely to retailers and crowdfunding communities. In an increasingly crowded and cashless financial system, banks may no longer lead the way. be key players.  

  Business stepping up: From profit to purpose Many businesses are stepping up to a new role, often with partners, to tackle social and economic challenges. Corporations are seeking to build legitimacy in the eyes of demanding consumers, employees and stakeholders who care about the impact and motivations of companies with whom they associate. But it’s also good business as companies realize mutual benefits with society. Look for more businesses redefining their purpose in this way.

Like any big shift, the dispersion of economic power presents challenges and opportunities. Are you and your business ready to take advantage of these 10 trends? This story was first printed in the Cassandra blog of The Economist. Thomas Malnight is Professor of Strategy and General Management at IMD. Tracey Keys is Director of Strategy Dynamics Global SA. Each year they publish The Global Trends Report ( M AY / J U N E | 2 0 1 3



Are you really listening? Asking questions? What does their body language say?

Building your Leadership Toolbox Effective Communications for Leaders By Heather Eagle

What’s the difference between a good retail leader and a great retail leader? Effective communication. Sure, you interact with customers all day to make sales, but what about your staff? Are you selling them on their jobs? Think about it. Everything you need to get done is through people. How, who, what, why, where and when you communicate with these people is critical to your bottom line. Follow these tips to build your leadership communication toolbox.

Consider your organization’s vision, strategic plan and goals. How do you implement them? As a

Engage your employees. Schedule regular dialogue ses-

leader, you must communicate these strategies to put them into action.

sions. Ask open-ended questions. Listen to what they have to say. Listen more than you talk. Ask for input and be prepared to act on it.

Develop a detailed PowerPoint presentation, a video, a blog post or a story of how the strategy is already being implemented. Filter this down to every single employee and be sure the employees actually understand. Even better, engage employees earlier on in the development of your strategic plan.

Become a mindful listener. Consider each dialogue an opportunity to learn. Focus on the speaker. Ask open-ended questions. Pay attention to your responses. Do a perception check to ensure you understand. Remember to watch for the real message in their body language.

Nonverbal communication is communication without words. You communicate nonverbally when

your team will stay strong.

you gesture, smile or frown, widen your eyes, move your chair closer to someone, wear jewelry, raise your tone of voice or say nothing at all. Be aware of your non-verbal communication. Do your words match your body language? If they don’t, it can cause confusion and typically, the nonverbal message outranks the words in believability. Evaluate yourself—use a mirror to watch your facial expressions. Check with others; ask a trusted colleague if they notice nonverbal cues that may give the wrong impression. Practice regularly in front of a mirror. 26

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Share your expectations. These six key steps ensure hTell h employees what they can expect from you. hhShare what you expect of your employees. hCommit h to discussing critical success factors up front. hHave h regular expectation check-ins. hReinforce h positive behavior by committing to give at least one employee feedback every day. hParticipate. h Communication is a two-way street. Both you and your staff must play an active role.


Have you shared your goals? Your strategic plan?

Dealing with multiple generations

What does your body language say to your employee?

Be an outstanding communicator

Today, you could be working in an environment with up to With thought, attention and practice, you can become a great four distinct generations, each of which has distinct behaviors. communicator. A good leader must be aware of these differences when build- hUnderstand h communication begins and ends with you. ing great teams. hUnderstand h that communication is an instrument of strategy and a strategy in and of itself. Millennials in particular have very different experiences.They are the first generation to grow up hMeet h others’ communications needs. in the information age. Technology and the internet have hPlan h communication. It doesn’t just happen. shaped who they are, what they view as important and how hCommunication h is all about dialogue and creates great they function. They are comfortable leveraging new digital conversations. tools, adapt quickly, multi-task well and effectively navigate information. hUse h stories to create an emotional connection. Millennials rely heavily on technology to communicate 24/7. hEnsure h actions follow words. This means they may not have had the opportunity to practice verbal communication skills in business situations. As leaders, The goal of communication is to understand and be underwe can teach them the benefits of face-to-face communication stood. This takes commitment from all parties. Interpersonal communication is an ongoing process of interaction between and tap them to help us better manage new technologies. individuals who reflect and build personal knowledge of one Like any audience, you need to understand what motivates another and create shared meanings. From the most basic physthem and where they’re coming from. Their values and ideas ical needs for survival, to the most abstract self-actualization may be very different from ours; however, we can learn a lot needs, communication is a key factor. In fact, we cannot not communicate. from them and they can learn from us. M AY / J U N E | 2 0 1 3


Train Yourself to be a By Heather Eagle

Natural born leaders are few and far between. In fact, most successful leaders take responsibility for training themselves. You can learn from the wisdom of others or through personal experience. Bottom line, becoming a more effective leader is about what you do, not what you know.

`` Keep promises. A breached promise or unfulfilled expectation can damage your credibility. This commitment will help develop discipline and integrity. `` Dress to influence. Your appearance should be consistent with your personal and professional brand. Ask yourself how a leader like you should appear to others. Apply it to your company as well. `` Treat your team as you expect them to treat customers. The way you treat people is a barometer to everyone on your team. Regularly ask, “How can I help?” `` Show your commitment to personal growth. Two ways exist to grow your business: grow yourself and grow your team. As you and your team improve, so does your service, operational efficiency and, of course, the bottom line. `` Ask for feedback. You’ll get better information by asking for opinions. For example, “What might I do to become a more effective leader?” Listen for actionable behavior. If someone says you would be more effective by communicating more clearly, ask for an example so you understand what they mean. Heather Eagle is a creative marketing communications professional who specializes in developing strategies, building plans and implementing creative, targeted, results-oriented, integrated marketing communications programs from concept to completion. M AY / J U N E | 2 0 1 3



By Philip M. Gutsell

Will there be another Hurricane Katrina or Sandy? Yes, you can count on it. As a consultant to home furnishings retailers for the past 40 years, I have encountered many fine leaders and seen firsthand several disasters that occurred to their stores including fires, tornado damage and unfortunately even death. In each case, these store owners were able to reap benefits from their disasters, turning lemons into lemonade. The key was their RESPONSE.


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R for Reason The greatest sales results my clients ever achieved always came from having a good reason for their sales event. You may not get to choose when a disaster occurs—but if one does, take advantage of it and conduct a sales event. Banner Home Furnishings in Clinton, Iowa, had its warehouse clipped by a tornado. The twister took off a corner portion of the building. He also had some water damage. For about a month, we ran a huge clearance event based on the tornado damage. We were able to clear out the merchandise rather quickly. My client said the insurance settlement and the special clearance event led to his best bottom-line in years.

E is for Examine On a yearly basis, examine all your insurance policies on all your assets—starting with your people, buildings, inventory and vehicles. Read them thoroughly and make sure you have business interruption insurance as well. Empire Home Furnishings in Valley City, North Dakota, had a severe fire in the warehouse. Not only was the entire back-up inventory burnt to a crisp, but the rest of the store had severe smoke damage and some water damage. The walls were still intact but the warehouse needed a completely new roof. Fortunately, the owner was adequately insured for not only his building and inventory but also business interruption expenses. Insurance adjustors declared the inventory unsalable and paid him dollar-for-dollar on the landed cost of his merchandise as his policy demanded. Then he converted his first lemon into lemonade. He asked the insurance agent what would happen to the smoke- and water-damaged inventory. The agent said it would be sold to liquidators at $.10 to $.25 on the wholesale dollar. My client inspected the damaged inventory and offered the agent $.15 on the dollar. We bought it back and had it cleaned up and fumigated, costing roughly another $.05

on the dollar. In effect, my client bought all of his own damaged inventory for a total of $.20 on the dollar. Meanwhile, the insurance paid for his new roof. The store was closed for business for only two weeks. My client continued to pay his employees during the down time even though his business interruption insurance did not kick in for another two weeks. This fire was in all the local media and the nearest large television market—over an hour away. I suggested we conduct a smoke and water damage sale. We ran the event for nearly 90 days in order to liquidate a majority of these goods. Because my client bought it right, he made even more profit than normal.

S is for Seek Seek professional advice from your insurance agent, an accountant and an independent industry consultant that has encountered and dealt with disasters. Their expertise and experience can guide you and help set up a strategic plan for recovery.

P is for Publicity When your disaster hits the media, take advantage of all the coverage with a major clearance event. The first significant disaster I ever encountered was the death of a previous client. At the time, I was running a highimpact sales event in Waterloo, Iowa. One evening, the local news reported about the death of a furniture retailer (Sam Becker of Becker’s Peoples Furniture) killed in Cedar Rapids—about an hour’s drive from Waterloo. The victim was a dear friend and client I had helped with a stock reduction event little more than a year before. At the wake, his widow requested I meet with her attorney and come up with a plan for her store. She had two daughters who had started their own families and careers and had no interest in the business. The attorney and I decided the best course of

Know your options and be prepared to navigate in uncharterd waters. And remember you are not the only one affected— team up with a local charity to help the entire community.

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Continued from 31 

action was to liquidate the business. Traffic to the store was huge for the close-out event, and the local news team came by to see what the commotion was. They filmed the crowded store and interviewed customers and the store bookkeeper. On that night’s evening news, the lead-in story was Becker’s landmark store closing. The sale was an immense success. We liquidated everything at a well-deserved profit that all went to my client’s widow and daughters.

permits to close a business. The law stated a time and inventory limit on each sale. In addition, the downtown business association had to give final approval to the permit. One of Becker’s direct competitors was on the approval committee. The attorney and I had to meet with the committee to get final approval for the store close-out event. They asked me to leave the room while they discussed the permit with my client’s attorney. Some time later, he came out to the anteroom to tell me they were leaning against giving us the permit to start the event. I asked to speak O is for Options to the committee once more before they Consider your options. Can you tem- decided. I informed them I was hired to porarily relocate or possibly rebuild? serve the deceased and his widow. Since Family Furniture in Park Rapids, Minn., they were hesitant about giving me the had a constantly leaking roof due to permit, it left me no choice but to stay the extreme temperature changes. State and run the widow’s business for the regulations would not allow us to simply foreseeable future. They asked me to wait put on a new roof without bringing the outside while they voted on the permit entire building up to current code, which and about five minutes later, handed me was an extremely expensive option. The the permit. I later found out the major owner owned his property and other competitor lobbied strongest for the buildings in his town were not suitable permit so he’d only need to deal with the for relocation. Fortunately, he owned competition for a short time rather than several lots across the street where we for the long term. Be prepared to navigate had built newer warehouses. It made in uncharted waters. the most sense to rebuild on the original property. We decided to run a 90-day demolition event in the main store in S is for Special Event the spring when the weather broke. He It can be devastating when disaster operated out of his newer warehouses for strikes. Remember—other retailers have the summer months while the tear-down faced similar situations and recovered. and new construction took place. We Take advantage with a special event that made it into the new building before the respectfully acknowledges the disaster. first snow fell—then we celebrated with These events can help you get through these trying times and turn a profit. This a massive grand opening. brings us back to our first letter: R for reason. Once you are tied to the reason, N is for Navigate have the sales event. Disaster navigation can take many turns. Back to Becker’s story, my deceased client was a distinguished businessman with E is for Empathy an impeccable reputation. Ironically, he Remember, you are not the only one despised going-out-of-business sales. He affected by a disaster. Your staff and detested them so much he helped local community are as well. Team up with a merchants write laws to require special local or national charity to demonstrate


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your compassion and empathy for the entire community. When 9-11 occurred, Houston’s Yuma Furniture Galleries in Yuma, Ariz., decided to offer a Red Cross donation to victims of the tragedy with every purchase. The following three days beat the sales projections and the store donated a substantial amount to the Red Cross.

Remember: When disaster strikes, have a RESPONSE! Philip M. Gutsell, president and owner of GutSELL & Associates, consults home furnishings retailers on marketing, advertising, strategic planning and motivational sales education. He also serves as a featured seminar speaker for the NAHFA, NARDA, AVB Brand Source and numerous other associations. He has a course for salespeople, “GutSELLing: From the Customer’s Point of View,” and publishes “GutSELLing Techniques” weekly via email to continuously improve retail professionals’ sales skills. Contact Phil at GutSELL & Associates, 5951 N. Elston Ave., Chicago, Ill., 60646; 773-792-2480; fax 773-792-2481; or

Leadership CASE STUDY

A Different Kind of Natural Disaster By John Stevens


urniture retailers, manufacturers, distributors and wholesalers are all too familiar with adversity. If not dealing with fires, floods or other natural disasters, they must contend with labor issues or lower demand for their product. Everyone in the furniture business has had to deal with consumers worrying more about just keeping their homes than furnishing a new home or upgrading their existing furniture. Sometimes, overcoming all of these problems can present other growing pains in the form of government red tape slowing down or stopping expansion.

Ashley Furniture experienced a significant setback last year. In April, 2012, they planned to consolidate some of their manufacturing and distribution operations in one location in North Carolina. The project hit a big snag late in 2012 when a few acres of environmentally protected wetlands were discovered on the proposed site. The initial environmental impact statement for the project failed to mention the wetlands. The plan was to spend $80 million expanding an existing facility and developing 680 acres near Advance, N.C. The first phase was to convert an old R.J. Reynolds tobacco warehouse and add on to the structure, creating 120 area jobs initially and more than 500 jobs upon completion. Ashley hoped to save money in the long run by having manufacturing and distribution in one place, reducing shipping and administrative costs.

endangered species and be beneficial for the environment, and are protected from development under federal law. The project could not have been changed to not include building on the wetlands, and any plans to drain a swamp and build on it needs approval from the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers. Before the discovery, Ashley was doing everything right. They had a solid and detailed plan in place. They anticipated problems and addressed them before the project slowed or halted. All it took to derail the project was a few people setting eyeballs on the property and seeing something previously unnoticed. Double-checking may not always be popular, but usually prevents large problems from becoming crippling. Ashley may have faced disastrous consequences for building on wetlands without a permit from the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers. After the discovery of the wetlands, the construction project would be delayed by another year. It is routine for the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers to give a temporary proffered permit to build on wetlands if certain criteria are met, but such a permit usually takes many months—sometimes a year or more—to obtain.

near the end of March, 2013, when the Corps of Engineers issued a temporary proffered permit for construction to begin. Groundbreaking was on April 17. Despite the delays and cost overruns, Ashley Furniture remains optimistic about their plans to expand their distribution center and consolidate it with manufacturing operations. They believe they will have opportunities to realize the cost savings missed during the delay and increase revenue by strengthening relationships with retailers. Ashley’s problems show that success is not always smooth and sometimes brings its own problems. But with double-checking and due diligence, problems can be prevented from becoming catastrophes. John C. Stevens runs the communications room for a market research and public opinion firm in Columbus, Ohio. He also writes ad copy and guest blogs for business and legal websites.

All it took to derail the project was a few people setting eyeballs on the property and seeing something previously unnoticed.

Ashley’s chief executive estimated the The project seemed to be on track until delay would cost $1 million each month a consultant discovered four acres of in lost opportunities with retailers. They wetlands on the property that had not had to continue manufacturing furniture been noticed when the preliminary in other locations and then ship the environmental report was prepared. product to distribution centers. The big Wetland areas are known to harbor break for Ashley in the whole fiasco came

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The Four Cornerstones of Retail Leadership By Douglas Knorr


hile traveling across North America counseling home furnishings retailers, I have become painfully aware of just how many owners are working extremely hard, yet their companies are not growing nor are they as profitable as they should be.

Retailers have four main responsibilities. These cornerstones produce amazing transformations in companies where the leader takes steps to integrate the disciplines into business.

Cornerstone #1: Set the Vision and Culture of the Company A leader must have vision, mission and provision. Vision is the chief cornerstone for any company. It's not just an emotional or entrepreneurial desire; rather, vision comes from defining a clear and obtainable goal based on research and analysis of the market. The old adage continues to be true—“To be successful, you must find a need and fill it.” The leader always needs to ask, “Where does opportunity exist? Am I able to take advantage of it?” If the answer is yes, then develop the mission. This is about building a strategic and tactical plan outlining steps required to realize the vision. Often developed as part of a comprehensive marketing communications plan (marcom), the marcom is a five-step process that first looks at a situation analysis. It defines the strengths, weaknesses, opportunities and threats of a company. Then, once all market data, including the customer database, demographics, consumer buying indexes and the competitive landscape have been reviewed, you are prepared to start the creative and media strategy process. The creative process means defining the true window of opportunity in the marketplace. On your own or with an experienced third party, define the position you will take in the market and craft a brand message to separate your store from the competition.


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The media strategy defines the most efficient path to reach targeted consumers with frequency. This requires a multifaceted approach integrating a strong brand message that flows across both traditional and digital mediums. For example, after market research, let’s say a retailer sees a great window of opportunity to increase market share in the mattress category. After accessing what the competition is doing, he builds a strategy including a unique brand promise and begins to support that promise with selective merchandising, express delivery, price and happiness guarantees, and exceptional sales training that allows his staff to be better equipped than the competition. Targeted creative is then crafted to break through the clutter and communicate the unique brand promise to consumers. It may even require the retailer to add additional free-standing mattress store locations outside the mainline furniture store. Be sure to maintain brand environmentalism. Simply, the brand promise (what separates your store from the competition) must be clearly seen and experienced at every point of contact and every level of the company. If a customer does not experience the brand promise, they will feel the brand lied and may never return again. Provision is the final part this cornerstone. The successful leader must not only provide resources and training, but also remove any obstacles, so staff are enabled and encouraged to accomplish the company’s goals and vision.

Cornerstone #2: Build a Competent Core Team One of the biggest deterrents to company growth and profitability is the “Superman Syndrome,” where a leader micro-manages every aspect of the business and believes only they are capable of successfully operating the business. What kills most entrepreneurial companies is a lack of a strong core team and efficient systems allowing ordinary people to deliver extraordinary results.


...craft a brand message to separate your store from the competition. After a company begins to grow, there is always a tipping point for the entrepreneur. You know, that point at which the retailer can’t keep up with everything they are trying to do and things begin falling through the cracks.

adjustments and provide leadership to his team for continued growth and profitability.

Cornerstone #3: Hold every Part of the Company Accountable

Unless the leader builds a competent core team, the end is usually disaster. The company can’t grow any further and begins A successful leader holds everything accountable. What gets to fail as the leader becomes burned out. measured, improves. This is an absolutely vital area where, all So, develop a competent core team that shares your same vi- too often, retailers fail. In both of my companies, I believe if sion and mission. For the retailer, this requires hand-picking I don’t put a measuring device on every part of my business, I the team that will help him reach goals of growth and profit- am losing money. ability. This includes managers overseeing merchandising, sales, Know how to identify what is working and what is not working accounting, general operations, warehouse delivery and human in every part of your business. For example, are merchandisresources. ing, operations and staff holding to the vision and mission A leader with the right people in place is able to review weak- of the company? Is the unique brand promise demonstrated, nesses and strengths of the company, continually make needed clearly communicated and experienced by the customer at Continued page 40

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Get off the treadmill of busyness and build your business through stronger leadership. Continued from page 39

every level of your company? Do you have a pre-determined profitability amount for every line on the floor? Do you have minimum turn-rate expectations when you introduce a new line or product?

Two or three years before the transition takes place, all parties must develop a plan for succession. What is expected and from whom? What needs to be in place before succession can be realized? What are the monetary expectations?

If not, make needed adjustments quickly in every department and every operation of the company.

When the plan is executed, your staff needs to understand what to expect so they feel secure and not fearful of the future.

Leadership Cornerstone #4: Establish a Succession Plan

Leadership is the key to any successful company. Embrace it—despite all its challenges. Get off the treadmill of busyness and build your business through stronger leadership. You will enjoy better employees, greater customer loyalty and continued growth and profit.

One of the most difficult times in a company is the transition of ownership from parent to child. When a clear and concise succession plan is not in place, the company becomes unstable, confused and unhealthy. When the incoming generation is kept in the dark without a plan, they lose hope and relationships become strained. This adversely affects the staff—and the performance of the company.


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Douglas Knorr, known as a retail marketing activist, is president of Knorr Marketing (, a full-service marketing and advertising agency specializing in the home furnishings industry. The agency provides strategic planning, creative production, public relations, sales promotions, website development, social media campaigns and management as well as media buying services.

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How to be Making Selling Easier

Ideas for Combating Complacency worked once, it worked twice, it worked three times,” reflects the serial killer in Lee Child’s Running Blind. “But you know there are no guarantees in life. You know that better than anybody. So you keep on thinking, because the only thing that can get you known is your own complacency.”

Being different from others in sales means having conversations with customers, asking questions, clarifying issues and being as transparent as possible.


impotent by customers’ unprecedented access to information. Today, customers need salespeople who are competent diagnosticians, who have developed expertise at identifying what needs to be fixed and how to go about doing it.

The words may seem strangely philosophical for a crime novel, but no matter who we are, it’s complacency that gets us “known,” that betrays us. For anyone in sales, complacency “I’m not like other salespeople.” Years is a sure-fire career killer. With that in mind, here are some ago, people quipped, “I cross the street thoughts that can help avoid the consequences of complacency. when I see that insurance guy coming my way.” That’s changed. Now, we de“My customers love me.” Salespeople find fulfillment in be- lete emails, ignore voice mail messages, lieving that their customers really love them, or at least like and avoid certain LinkedIn (or any of them. However, such affectionate thoughts often result from the other social media) connections. “selective” memory. What hasn’t changed is the undeniable fact that customers don’t trust salesFor example, salespeople seem to possess perfect recall for what people, no matter what they say or what they do for their customers. They describe in copious detail they call themselves. instances when they went far beyond a second mile to help. Why? Because customers react negaOn the other hand, customer recall can be quite different. tively if they feel the deck is stacked Customers never forget what salespeople didn’t do or how they against them. They avoid those who felt let down, taken advantage of or cheated. make them feel inadequate, dumb or By basking in self-congratulation––the worst form of compla- stupid. And that’s what happened when cency––salespeople deny themselves golden opportunities for salespeople had a corner on knowledge. understanding customers more clearly, earning their trust and Now that the genie is out of the bottle and information is readily available, serving them more effectively. customers reject any salesperson that “It takes persuasion to get people to buy.” If ever there were “smells” like the past. a cornerstone principle of sales, it might go something like this: how to turn “no” into “yes.” To be successful in sales, the Being different from others in sales ability to persuade is a core quality for climbing to the top rung. means having conversations with customers, asking questions, clarifying isUnfortunately, there’s a dark side to persuasion. It’s the deep- sues and being as transparent as possible. seated distrust so many customers have for salespeople, who are viewed as capable of using every possible trick to get us to buy The point is clear. Combating complawhat we don’t want or need. Although a heads-up shouldn’t be cency is critical for success in sales today. necessary, attempts at persuasion are powerless today, rendered So keep on thinking.

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a Sales Leader

by John Graham

So You Call Yourself a Professional Salesperson It’s All About How Customers View You here was a time not so long ago when accountants, attorneys, doctors, some musicians, certain ball players, the clergy and a few others earned the right to be called a “professional.” But that was about it. More recently, the dam burst and we’re now flooded with “professionals.” Everyone wants in the club. It’s as if just calling ourselves a “professional salesperson,” for example, is magical, lifting us above all those unfortunates, the “unprofessionals.” For “professional” to mean something special, something unique, something above the crowd, it requires content that’s specific and concrete, a standard against which a salesperson’s behavior can be viewed and––mostly importantly––measured. The only definition of “professional” that makes any difference is how customers define it. Looking through the eyes of customers, take a look at the qualities that describe what it means to be a professional today: hUnderstands h what’s important to a customer. Recognizes that valuing what the customer regards as important is the basis of their relationship. hTakes h responsibility. Doesn’t make excuses or blame others when a problem arises. hAsks h questions. Wants to understand the issues or the problem before offering solutions. hFollows h through. Never leaves issues up in the air or anyone guessing. Gets back to customers quickly with “spot on” information and answers. hKeeps h promises. Doesn’t leave a customer hanging or wondering. Does what’s agreed on without being reminded. hKnows h that learning is endless. Doesn’t get to a particular knowledge level and stop, while others stick with outdated products, concepts and solutions. hSeeks h performance improvement. Comes away from sales presentations and asks, “What could I have done better?”

hStays h in touch. Understands the value of making sure customers and support staff are always in the loop. hNever h says, “I’ve paid my dues.” Doesn’t act like a primadonna or expect “special consideration.” hRecognizes h when help is needed. Asking for help deepens one’s knowledge base and is smart business, while “faking it” fosters deception. hThrives h on problem solving. Views these as opportunities to demonstrate value by assisting customers with troublesome situations. hUnderstands h the harm of cutting corners. While “taking the easy way out” is often camouflaged as “saving time,” professionals know it can easily become a slippery slope. hNever h expects a quid pro quo. Acts in the best interest of the customer, which, at times, may mean foregoing a sale. hWelcomes h challenges. Sees difficult tasks as growth opportunities rather than as bothersome interruptions. hWants h to be ahead of the curve. Constantly works to be seen by customers as thoughtful and forward thinking. hNever h considers anything “beneath me.” Will tell you that “getting my hands dirty” is part of the job. hDoesn’t h like saying to a customer, “I’ll get back to you about that.” With a tablet and smartphone, the professional salesperson works hard at responding instantly to customer requests. hViews h selling as helping. The professional salesperson knows that trust is earned by using knowledge and experience to assist customers in reaching their goals, not just closing a sale. Whether it’s selling a product, service, an idea, a vision or an opportunity, the need has never been greater for those who have earned the right to call themselves professional salespeople. John Graham of GrahamComm is a marketing and sales consultant and business writer. He publishes a free monthly eBulletin, “No Nonsense Marketing & Sales.” Contact him at, (617) 774-9759 or M AY / J U N E | 2 0 1 3


Empowerment is Not Synonymous with Surrender

By Timothy Bednarz

The maintenance of team strength requires ongoing leadership, diligence and interaction. If leaders fail to pay attention to what is happening within the team culture and environment, it is easy to stumble into several pitfalls. Many major problems can be avoided by structured attentiveness.


is easy for leaders to begin surrendering their personal authority as they actively work to empower team members. Many assume that individual teams are automatically able to meet the responsibilities assigned to them—thus making their jobs and workloads much lighter. When this belief takes hold, it is easy for leaders to assume their responsibilities are being effectively handled. Because of it, they generally tend to miss the undercurrents and interactions that work to undermine team strength and productivity.

Because leaders understand that empowerment is not synonymous with surrender, they play an active, ongoing role in guiding and directing the actions of their individual teams. The roles and responsibilities of individual leaders are not subjugated to their teams. Rather, teams become a mechanism for leaders to be more effective within their stores and more productive in what they need to achieve within shorter periods of time. Leaders can stumble into a number of common pitfalls as they develop and build their teams.

Allowing or Minimizing Disruptive Team Behaviors

Leaders must ensure their teams have a solid structure in place. This includes

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Not Being Observant Within the team structure, leaders need to take a hands-off stance in regard to team matters and discussions in order to actively and impartially observe what is occurring. This enables them to be vigilant concerning internal team conflict, dominant personalities and other issues that can impact an individual team’s productivity, strength and performance. Leaders cannot assume that effective team management occurs automatically within the team growth and development process. Specific attention needs to be paid to all details when any negative occurrences take place.

Lack of Solid Team Structure


all team members having a clear and concise understanding of their roles and responsibilities. It also includes development of and adherence to the norms, rules and boundaries established during the team’s formation. Once a particular team has been established, a primary leadership responsibility is to make sure the team adheres to its overall structure.

Leaders must understand that the team culture has a specific structure guiding and directing its progress and functions. Specific roles must be


Michael Alan Furnishings Warehouse Team

assigned to maintain this structure for an adherence to the rules, boundaries and regulations that a particular team collectively develops. One common pitfall many leaders stumble into involves allowing individual disruptive behaviors to continue to the point where they actively hamper the team’s progress. The acceptance of disruptive behaviors by leaders and other team members can undermine overall team strength, as they have a tendency to intimidate less assertive participants into silence. Leaders must be vigilant for specific behaviors that inhibit the free flow of ideas, thoughts and feedback within the team culture.

A Failure to Intervene One of the team leader’s major responsibilities is to intervene whenever required to eliminate disruptive behaviors or any other barriers that negatively impact the entire team process. When they

tend to overlook specific performanceinhibiting behaviors, they are ultimately undermining team strength. It is up to team leaders to take increasingly stern measures when intervening within the team environment. These measures often start with intervention in the group setting itself; if this proves ineffective, personal intervention with the offending member(s) must be undertaken.

Displaying Bias or Favoritism

Not Allowing Teams to Adequately Develop and Police Themselves It is easy for leaders, especially within a new team environment, to assume total control over the team process. They feel it is faster and more productive to “tell and instruct” the team in what to do rather than allow it to develop and chart its own course.

A team learns best when it grows It is easy for leaders familiar with the ca- through its mistakes and through pabilities of individual team members to problems it must solve on its own. display favoritism toward one member It needs to be given the room to brainover another. However, any open display storm and create solutions, while having of bias will automatically cause other the freedom to police itself when internal team members to be less open in express- problems and conflicts surface due to ing their concerns, feedback and input. disruptive behaviors or dominant perBiases and favoritism have the tendency sonalities. to create a situation where specific team members become dominant, which, Team strength is developed when membecause of their power and influence, bers are allowed to work collectively can result in the assertion of personal through specific challenging situations and arrive at effective solutions as a result. agendas and overall conflict. Reprinted with permission from Majorium Business Press M AY / J U N E | 2 0 1 3


Enhancing the Customer Experience and Gaining Loyalty By Brad Smith

ou’re probably hearing the words “customer experience” more and more these days. A recently released study from computer technology provider Oracle showed that many companies are failing when it comes to customer relationship management. Enhancing the customer experience doesn’t have to be difficult or expensive. Here are four simple and economical ways to show your customers appreciation and consideration and, ultimately, build more customer loyalty.

 Get to know and adapt to your customers. Owned and operated by Sue and John Elliott and their son John Jr., Davidson, N.C.-based Davidson Chocolate Co. specializes in handmade chocolates and other confections. Because the shop has three schools nearby and a grocery store next door, children regularly visit the shop with their parents. During the worst part of the economic downturn, the signature Davidson Chocolate truffles were an expensive daily treat for these kids. So, Sue and John started making smaller, molded chocolates for less than one dollar. They were a big hit with both the parents and children and helped build customer loyalty for Davidson Chocolate.

Okay, so customer loyalty through chocolate might seem like cheating, but if it works, it works. 46

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Harry Rosen, Inc., a Canadian high-end menswear retailer, outfits sales associates in its 16 stores with customer relationship management (CRM) tools on their mobile devices. Associates have client preferences, like favorite brands and tailoring sizes, so they can help their clients make the most relevant purchase and service recommendations. The CRM technology also helps associates manage follow-up calls and emails to ensure clients’ experiences were positive, alert clients about trunk shows of their


Check Out These Four Simple (and Nearly Free!) Solutions! favorite designers and schedule suit tailoring appointments and pickups.

much of Catoctin Creek’s inventory is sold nearby, volunteers can search for their signed bottles in local stores.

What might make your customers’ lives easier and their experiences happier? Put yourself in their shoes to better understand what needs you’re not currently meeting, and then act nimbly to meet them.

Think about providing unique and special experiences, or even valuable resources, to extend your customer relationships. Could a friend in an adjacent area to your business offer free antiquing classes at your location? What about offering a table building course? Or, could you offer your customers discounted, or even free, shipping during the off-season?

Perhaps you could offer more flexible and convenient payment or billing options. If your store is online, consider extending your customer service hours by one hour each morning and evening to better accommodate shoppers in different time  Be your customer’s customer. zones. What about changing how you communicate about About a year ago, Sage hosted a board of directors’ dinner, orders? Would a text message or other mode of communicawith four teams competing in a ‘Top Chef ’-style challenge to tion be more immediate and convenient? benefit charity. Each team created a dish made with ingredients sourced from Sage customers. The lobster, wines, meats, and  Give your customers more. chocolates all came from companies using Sage software and Founded in 1972, Auburn, Wash.-based Trees ‘n Bees, Inc., services to run their businesses. is a 40-acre cut-your-own Christmas tree farm with a wide variety of Christmas trees and approximately 30 honeybee And, the teams played on behalf of charities that were also hives located throughout the Puget Sound region. The farm, Sage customers. Each charity received a donation from Sage, owned and operated by Carolyn Elliott, focuses on providing with the winning ‘Top Chef ’ team’s charity receiving the largest donation. unique customer experiences. Trees ‘n Bees holds wreath-making classes, beekeeping semi- The next time you plan a special event or purchase supplies for nars and “Cooking with Honey” classes throughout the year. your company, look for ways to give business to your customers. Throughout December, Mrs. Claus, free apple cider and chil- Your customers support you. Why not reciprocate? dren’s movie showings can be found in the pavilion. And, because Trees ‘n Bees is located close to several military bases, Elliott invites military families to cut down trees any time. Part of a proud military family herself, Elliott knows it’s important for military families to celebrate Christmas whenever their service person is home. Many customers visit Trees ‘n Bees annually and one particular family has been visiting for nearly 35 years. The first legal distiller in Loudoun County, Va., since prohibition, Purcellville, Va.-based Catoctin Creek Distilling Company distills fine organic spirits by hand. Owned by Becky and Scott Harris and founded in 2009, Catoctin Creek worked hard from day one to develop a strong social media presence which they use to their advantage when it’s time to bottle their products.

 Prove customer feedback and requests matter.

One day, a Davidson Chocolate customer wanted to have a wine bottle she brought in covered in chocolate so she could give it as a wedding gift. After quickly considering the logistics, Sue fulfilled the customer’s request. The bottle looked so great that Sue created samples to put in the shop. Now, the chocolate-covered wine bottle is one of Davidson Chocolate’s bestselling items. Your customers likely provide daily clues about how you can serve them better. If you have a Facebook page and a Twitter account, use them to solicit customer feedback. Then, take action on that feedback. You’ll likely develop stronger, more intimate customer relationships by doing so, and your customers will remember and value your business more than the competition.

Handcrafting spirits must be done on a regular basis and is You can begin implementing these tips right away. There’s no labor-intensive. So, for each bottling session, Catoctin Creek better day than today to improve the experience for your most recruits 25 volunteer bottlers from their Facebook community. valuable asset—your customers. So many customers want to help that Becky and Scott have Brad Smith serves as executive vice president, customer experience, for Sage North to turn people away. In addition to receiving a distillery tour and lunch, volunteers can sign the labels of the bottles they help to produce. Since

America. He is responsible for developing all aspects of Sage’s commitment to the customer experience, from product design and customer support, to the invoice experience and all touch points in between. M AY / J U N E | 2 0 1 3


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Community Today

As we welcome the new era of NAHFA, let’s take some time to listen to one final conversation with past presidents Cherie and Valerie as they weigh in on the best leadership attitude.

 : What is your top leadership tip?

whole persona. And what a privilege that is, to help people have a beautiful home. If you lead Valerie: Leadership is leading by example. A by that example, being friendly and honest and good leader is a good coach and a good teacher. sincere—this industry needs that. I think if you share your knowledge and make everybody feel like they can move up and be  : Do you think the industry is a leader in their own right, in this industry catching on and moving away from a transacespecially, they’ll know the products really well tional culture? and be the best they can be. Cherie: It’s not about price anymore. It’s about Cherie: That’s perfect. The practice of lead- service, quality and what you have to offer. ing by example is being a good person, being Anybody can go on the internet and buy anyethical, working hard. It’s how you lead your thing for less. But what do you have to offer to life and how you show yourself. I see this in step out of that? It really is about relationships. other retail stores and I talk to my kids about Both Valerie and I, we have fun at what we do. it; when you walk into a retail environment We really love it and enjoy it. We laugh with and they’re not friendly and they’re not help- our customers, we laugh with each other. It ful, I guarantee that owner is that exact same changes the whole dynamic of the organizaperson and she hires that exact same person. tion when you just laugh and have fun and The leader has that attitude. When you walk lead from your heart and soul, and just enjoy into our store, we are the nicest, friendliest it. Think about a baby and how a baby laughs. staff of people. It’s like you’re walking into The deep, darling, cutest laugh. That’s what it’s our home. That’s how we treat you. It comes all about. Sincerely having a really great time, from the top down. If you are that good person, and sincerely loving your customers, loving your employees will see that and will naturally your employees, loving your industry, loving emulate it and become that. Nobody’s mean, those around you. nobody’s rude, because you’re not. You don’t put that out there. If your employees acted like Valerie: Exactly. Advertise it! Furniture buying should be a fun experience. It should be joyful that, it would be unacceptable. and fun and exciting, and we need to get that Valerie: Right. It’s about being sincere, being going in this industry. Some people dread it, and honest, having the passion to really want to that’s part of the “power salesman” mentality help peoples’ homes be beautiful. And that’s of buying furniture. But if you meet someone the bottom line in the industry. It’s the passion who’s really passionate about the industry, and of knowing that you can make someone’s home design, and fabrics, and color—someone who their home. If you have your staff behind you gets you all pumped up—you have a good time. getting all excited to know that you’re not just If men aren’t having fun, I give them a beer and there to sell a sofa, you’re there for a lifestyle, start telling them jokes while the woman picks you’re going to make them feel good about out the fabric, and in the end, they’re walking themselves, about their homes, about their out laughing and having a good time.

Cherie Rose The Rose Collection Los Gatos, CA NHFA President

Valerie Watters Valerie’s Furniture & Accents Cave Creek, AZ WHFA President M AY / J U N E | 2 0 1 3


The Rose Collection, showroom by Cherie Rose


Do you have a FABULOUS showroom? We want to see it! RetailerNOW is looking for before and after images of showrooms that underwent makeovers. Send photos of your spectacular spaces by July 22 to for your chance to be in an upcoming issue! Do you know of a fun, cutting-edge showroom? We want to spotlight it! Send showroom information to by July 22 for a chance to be in a future story about the best showrooms in the country!


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"...leaders harness talent from every team member."


—Be a Leader

By Timothy Bednarz

Managers are often task-oriented and not necessarily focused on their employees. Leaders, on the other hand, are people-oriented; they work through and motivate their employees, utilizing their resources to perform assigned tasks in the most productive and profitable way possible.

Many managers confuse management with leadership and feel they are automatically leaders because they occupy a position of higher responsibility. While this assumption is often true, many fail to display active leadership qualities. The roles leaders fulfill are different than those of managers, although sound management practices are complementary to effective leadership. While some individuals are natural leaders, most managers must evolve into leaders both by investing time and effort in developing their abilities and by adapting their management roles to a more flexible, effective leadership style. Leaders learn how to harness the specific talents of every team member to drive efficiency and productivity. This may appear to be more work than it's worth, but effective leaders are able to produce higher levels of productivity with fewer problems than those simply using traditional management techniques. ď ˝Continued page 52 M AY / J U N E | 2 0 1 3



Continued from page 51

When leaders adhere to specific leadership roles they will foster trust, inward strength and a unified purpose in the groups under their direction. As leaders, they will embrace their own personal responsibilities, understanding that anything is possible and attainable. They will recognize that each specific element is a stepping stone to the next that ultimately creates a transition from management to leadership. To define a personal leadership role, the following three principles are critical.

Self-Management Leaders take complete responsibility for all their actions and decisions. Often leaders must make a decision to challenge rules proven to be detrimental to their overall work environment and the people entrusted to them. The role of a leader is to set aside ineffective or unproductive rules and procedures in favor of those promoting increased cooperation, trust and ownership. Leaders never waiver in this pursuit. They understand that part of their role is to take risks whenever a policy, procedure or situation hinders progress—and they stand by their decisions. Making improvements means rocking the boat. While often challenging to the best leaders, this is a substantial part of true leadership. Leaders recognize the status quo often isn't good enough, and it takes change and creativity to generate improvements.

Leading People Leaders approach their roles with serious determination. They do not dwell on the "rearview mirror," but look forward. They learn from past mistakes and errors in judgment, but never allow them to affect future opportunities and possibilities. Leaders learn to detach themselves from their circumstances to maintain a clear, forward-thinking perspective.

Cultivate the People under your Direction The most important role a leader must fulfill is to cultivate, support and nurture employees. Anything can be achieved with fertile enough ground to plant and grow the seeds of accomplishment. To best achieve this end, it is important to:

Learn and remember Leaders know part of their role is to learn everything about every person under their charge. They make it a point to learn what is important to each, to celebrate special days, achievements and even sadness with outward expressions, incentives, written memos, awards, notes and letters. Nothing builds loyalty and cooperation in employees better than being both professionally and personally attuned to them.

Demonstrate fairness and a cooperative spirit Leaders work with their employees to maintain high levels of motivation and productive team efforts. They do this by clearly educating their employees on specific procedures, problems and needed skills. Leaders also acknowledge and take seriously the expectations employees have of them. This role builds trust, loyalty and the desire for all to achieve.

Walk the floor—get your hands dirty Part of a leader's role is to offer help when and where it is needed. This can only be done by personally taking part in tasks and assignments and being an overall active participant in what is going on in their workplace. Knowledge is gathered, problems disclosed and people motivated when leaders fulfill this role. Employees gain respect for leaders who willingly undertake this interaction in a positive fashion rather than view it as an obligation. Reprinted with permission from Majorium Business Press

In order to succeed, leaders must unburden themselves of emotions and perceived limitations that impede attainment of goals and performance. They know past experiences can easily alter good judgment. For a leader, past experiences become the lessons for the future, producing the wisdom to adapt to change. Leaders know situations or problems will not always fit into neat compartments and have predictable outcomes. They understand and accept that even the most unthinkable changes and devastating occurrences are a possibility, and their role is to embrace the challenge to overcome them. Leaders also know they must be flexible in any and all situations and looking forward requires creating viable alternatives. They are aware that part of their function is to embrace change and the challenges it brings.


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INSPIRED BY: FASHION FADE OUT Whoever said looking old was a bad thing? Whether it’s achieved through the natural passage of time or the artful use of antiquing effects and ombré shading, this trend brings a rich patina into a myriad of traditional and transitional environments.



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SALES NUMBERS TRENDING UP? Now’s the Time to Become ‘Credit Card Fraud-Free’


ccording to a March 13 report from the U.S. Commerce Department, retail sales increased 1.1 percent in February, to $421.4 billion, marking the biggest surge in the retail space since last September. Elevated sales numbers mean additional credit card transactions and, as a result, an increased risk for fraud.

A recent report from Javelin Strategy & Research found that credit card fraud has increased an alarming 87 percent since 2010 and accounted for a cumulative total loss of approximately $6 billion. Despite mounting evidence of this growing epidemic, loss as a result of credit card fraud has remained the proverbial elephant in the room for many businesses. By Rob Bertke


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Is your payment processing software secure? CREDIT CARD FRAUD UP

Retailers need to increase their awareness of this growing threat and the rather simple steps they can take to prepare themselves. Here are five tips for businesses of all sizes to keep in mind as they navigate through the economic climate in 2013 and beyond. Immediately deal with any breach. It’s critical to understand that even if all cautious, conservative steps are taken, and the best payment processing security is installed, a breach can still occur. If it does, you must have detailed credit card sales records to refer back to as a means of retracing your steps. This will help in determining when and where the breach took place and therefore mitigate the potential for additional losses. Furthermore, a proper assessment of the initial attack may ultimately provide a trail back to the source of the breach.

Do you encrypt all your data? Do you keep regular customers' credit card numbers? The depth of the audit required will depend on your business volume and systems but a full PCI audit will offer a scorecard across your business’ payments environment, including all connected back-office applications, allowing you to make critical changes before security holes are exposed by thieves. Use end-to-end encryption for all sensitive data. End-to-end encryption (E2EE) essentially boils down to scrambling the data sent from one device to another. It starts with your payment capture devices and goes all the way to the transaction being authorized. E2EE technology prevents the card account data from being stolen electronically and lessens the cost and impact for your business to become PCI-certified. A company’s mobile payment devices, credit card terminals, software applications and online payment portals need built-in encryption functionality when transmitting customer information. Your company should select a payments provider that is technically savvy. Look for a partner that supports E2EE technology. You’ll need to balance cost versus product and service here. Using the low-cost provider could come at the expense of limited product functionality, potential security holes and lower levels of customer service.

Maintain PCI Compliance. Not only is it against card brand regulations if you’re not Payment Card Industry (PCI)compliant when accepting credit or debit cards, but it’s also an absolute must in today’s economic climate. Make certain your payment processing software security is current and is PA-DSS (Payment Application Data Security Standard)certified, and that your business receives their PCI-DSS (Payment Card Industry Data Security Standard) certification. Prevent tampering. Make certain all PCI certification provides a level of confi- employees tasked with the responsibility dence and assurance that a processor has of accepting credit and debit cards from followed and passed a robust set of best customers have a working understanding practices for securing the information of the looks and functionality of the paybeing processed when credit card pay- ment processing equipment they’re using. ments are made. There's no silver bullet Scammers often try to tamper with a here. You have a responsibility to protect business’ payment processing equipment your customers’ credit card information, in an effort to steal credit card informajust like you should be protecting all of tion. Altered equipment usually consists of a small piece of hardware physically your customer data.

attached to the terminal itself. An attentive employee who knows what to look for should be able to easily identify an extra attachment to the device or oddly functioning software. Refrain from storing credit card numbers. To avoid one of the biggest PCI compliance risks, you should do everything in your power to not store credit card numbers. Look for a payments provider whose platform is designed so credit card information is never stored at your business site or on your business software. Your provider should be able to process the transaction and then store your customers’ card information in a secure “vault” in the cloud. They should provide you with an encrypted ID, so when you want to do another transaction for that same customer, your software can pass the payments provider the encrypted ID so your company never comes in contact with the stored credit card data. It’s reasonable to have a healthy level of economic optimism, but critical to take the necessary precautions to protect your company’s assets and security. Apply these tips to help ensure credit card scammers aren’t given the opportunity to steal the fruits of your labor.

Rob Bertke is senior vice president of research and development at Sage Payment Solutions, a division of Sage North America. Bertke has been in the commercial payments and business-to-business electronic commerce industry for 15 years. In 1995, he helped Wachovia Bank release its first commercial card products. He left Wachovia in 1997 to join the American Express Technical Consulting team, where he was a member of the ANSI X12 committee developing card-specific electronic data interchange transactions, and acted as product manager and technical consultant for key e-commerce initiatives. M AY / J U N E | 2 0 1 3



Our Association gratefully recognizes all of our supporters whose dedication and committment has strengthened our industry.

Advertising Concepts of America AICO/Amini Innovation Corp. American Express American Leather Ashley Furniture Industries, Inc. Aspenhome Associated Volume Buyers Becker Designed, Inc. Bernards, Inc. Best Buy for Business Best Home Furnishings Braxton Culler, Inc. Cargo Consolidation Services Century Furniture Coaster Company of America Cory Home Delivery Service DĂŠcor-Rest Furniture Ltd. Diakon Logistics DSI Companies Ekornes Elements International Elite Leather Emerald Home Furnishings Fairmont Designs Flexsteel Furniture of America Furniture Wizard GE Capital Great American Furniture Services Guardian Products Guardsman/The Valspar Corp.

Harden Furniture Company High Point Market Authority Holland House Homelegance USA Home Furnishings Business Magazine Horich Hector Lebow Advertising Consulting Services, Inc. Innovative Delivery Systems Jofran Sales, Inc. Julius M. Feinblum Real Estate, Inc. Kincaid King Hickory Furniture Co Lane Home Furnishings Lazar Industries Lea Leggett & Platt Liberty Furniture Lifestyle Enterprises Linon Home DĂŠcor Products Magnussen Home Mail America Massood Logistics Med-Lift Mobility MicroD, Inc. Mohawk Finishing Products, Inc. Myriad Software Natuzzi Americas, Inc. NetSertive Nourison Industries Okinus Credit Solutions Pacific Furniture Dealers

Phoenix A.M.D. International, Inc. PROFITsystems Protect-A-Bed Restonic Mattress Corp. Sandberg Furniture SAP Retail Serta Mattress Companies Simmons Shock Watch Sleep-Ezz Source International, Inc./4 Sales Finance Sphinx by Oriental Weavers Standard Furniture Steve Silver Co. STORIS Surya The TV Shield The Uttermost Company Tidewater Finance Company Trendwood, Inc. Tropic Survival Advertising & Marketing TruckSkin, LLC Twin Star/Classic Flame United Furniture Industries Valassis, Inc. Vaughan Furniture Co. Versatile Systems Wahlquist Management Corporation World Market Center Zenith Global

PANTONE 16-1054 Sunflower


To become an industry partner contact:

North American Home Furnishings Association 800.422.3778 or email:

RNOW is NOW mobile


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Put the brakes on breakage! A chair with a broken leg is worthless, and replacing mishandled or poorly-packaged products costs precious time and money. But what if you could send someone you trust to accompany every package, box and crate throughout the supply chain? You can, with ShockWatch! (800) 757-9214 M AY / J U N E | 2 0 1 3



Professional and Polished

With Aramark Uniforms Customize a uniform program that represents your quality brand. Purchase or rental programs offer you the flexibility you deserve. Purchase Program Advantages: • Up to 40% off 60 of the most popular items • Plus 17% off entire catalog Rental Program Advantages: • Clean uniforms delivered every week • No capital investment = hassle-free • Automatic repairs and replacements • FREE upgrades

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Rejuvenate with SherwinWilliams A new pop of color can have a dramatic effect on your showroom and sales. With these prices, even your bank account looks pretty. Program Advantages: • National Account pricing plus ~ • 20% off regular pricing • 5% off sale pricing • FREE program membership card

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FREE Benefit with Membership Office Depot Business Solutions and the National Commerce Group are working with us to provide you extraordinary savings. Program Advantages: • 15-30% discounts off the lowest retail price on frequently purchased items • Straight 5% discount off nearly everything • Awesome savings on copy/print services • Easy order access online and in stores • Coupons, catalogs and exclusive offers to maximize savings • FREE next-day delivery (in all major markets) on all online orders over $50 • Bright and shiny discount card for your office staff



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Membership Programs

Around the Corner Around the Country Around the World Introducing the NEW NAHFA Shipping Program In an ongoing effort to provide members with the money-saving tools needed to be successful, NAHFA is pleased to offer an exciting new member benefit: the NAHFA Shipping Program. Members can use the FREE Shipping Program to save on every shipment sent and received—around the corner, around the country or around the world—with world-class carriers and phenomenal customer service professionals.

Enroll in the NAHFA Shipping Program and benefit from: • Savings of up to 27%* on select FedEx® services • Savings of at least 70% on LTL freight shipments with leading national and regional freight carriers • Special pricing on shipments to and from tradeshows and events • Easy-to-use inbound management tools so you can save on shipments you receive from suppliers

NAHFA has endorsed PartnerShip®, a leading LTL freight, small package and tradeshow shipping management company, to develop and manage the NAHFA Shipping Program. PartnerShip delivers customized shipping solutions to more than 17,000 businesses nationwide and has been recognized as an industry leader in helping businesses reduce shipping costs since 1989. PartnerShip saves businesses money on every shipment, every time. “The new NAHFA Shipping Program makes a great addition to our menu of services designed to save our members money,” said Kaprice Crawford, NAHFA Membership Team Leader. “This program is clearly advantageous to all NAHFA members.” Simply go to to enroll, view a summary of discounts or request a free shipping analysis. After enrolling, members will enjoy the unparalleled customer service that PartnerShip is committed to providing. If members already have a FedEx account for small package shipping, PartnerShip will automatically link the current account to the lowest possible discounts. To learn more about this inbound and outbound shipping program that combines simplicity, savings and value to NAHFA members, please visit or call a membership representative at the NAHFA offices at (800) 422-3778.

* Includes a bonus 5% online processing discount. Full details available at M AY / J U N E | 2 0 1 3


Market Wrap-up


A few happening pieces from High Point

This market showcased bright colors, traditional woods and unique materials. An emphasis on the customer’s lifestyle lent a personal touch to many of the pieces.

Jonathan Charles Fine Furniture | An intricate inlaid piece from the Windsor collection.

Phillips Collection | Lava Table from the Ga-ang Coffee Tables collection. Cast in resin to look like a rough lava stone and completed with stainless steel accents. Radica Chair from the Crazycut collection. Each piece of stainless steel is cut by hand.

Shabby Chic |

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A touch of nature hits the dining room with a peacock motif on the back of these Michael Thomas Dining Chairs.

Cornwall Sofa clearly represents comfort and the appeal of simple, practical living.


MT Company |

Market Wrap-up

Taracea | The Allegro Console creates the elegance of a treasured antique. The Garces Buffet features Santos Palisander, a highly patterned wood species.

Theodore Alexander | Wild Chrysanthemum Mirror. The sunburst frame was inspired by a Regency original.

SkLO | Float Table Lamp, featuring Czech crystal and the perfect depth of color.

Universal Furniture | Paula Deen Home Kitchen Island, a perfect spot for homework or family meals. M AY / J U N E | 2 0 1 3


HOT PRODUCTS from High Point Market

“If you don’t hire us for your next promotional sale, your competitor will.” Chris Lynch, Co-CEO For nearly 100 years, the Lynch family has set the standard for honesty, integrity, and results by which other promotional sales companies are measured. So when it comes time to hold a promotional sale to clear out inventory, sell your business or exit it, look no further than Lynch Sales Company. After all, wouldn’t you rather hold a Lynch Sale than compete against one?

REGINA ANDREW | These bookends combine form with function—twice. The stylish pieces double as lamps.

NOVA | Illuminated Wall Art with brushed aluminum, rust and a color changing LED add drama.

For a confidential reply of how a Lynch Sale can help your business, visit

Uncompromising integrity. Unparalleled resUlts . Serving the U.S., Canada and the U.K. Call (800) 824 - 2238 or Copyright 2013 Lynch Brothers Licensing Corporation


nine6 | The Cypress Loveseat in the Modern Veranda collection is designed for outdoor use and is highly customizable. M AY / J U N E | 2 0 1 3


Market Wrap-up

Furniture Industry Awards Gala Industry leaders were rewarded at High Point with a fabulous dinner and party.

IHFRA's Award Winners

IHFRA’s Harold P. Braun Distinguished Service Award Winner

IHFRA’s Past President’s Leadership Award Winner

James A. Craven—IHFRA’s 70th President

Dave Palmer—Former President and CEO of World Market Center

IHFRA’s Pillar of the Industry Award Winner

Gala attendees enjoy good conversation.

Bob Sherman—President and CEO of Serta Mattress Co. 64

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Market Wrap-up

NHFA’s Retailers of the Year Award Winners

Ronald Werner & Jim Hering—HW Home, Denver, CO

Randy Coconis—Coconis Furniture, South Zanesville, OH

Leadership Past, Present and Future!

LEFT: Steve DeHaan (on right), NHFA Executive Director, laughs with another guest. RIGHT: Marc Shewel, NHFA Past President, Cherie Rose NHFA 2013 President, Mary Frye, NAHFA COO, Jana Sutherland, NAHFA membership leader, Sharron Bradley, NAHFA CEO. M AY / J U N E | 2 0 1 3


Market Wrap-up

Caught on Camera

What’s the best place to find #hpmkt trends? Twitter, of course! Check out more of your Market photos at

@Kait_Carpenter: I would like to just move into this year’s #stanleyfurniture #hpmkt showroom. #perfect #design

@313WallpaperCo: Gorgeous #modern #chandelier by #Solaria at #hpmkt. Native #Detroit #designer

@RMD_Designs: Gotta love the shimmer of Candice Olson Highland House at #HPMkt

@JohnRichardColl: One of our most popular chairs from #HPMKT. The Leon chair modeled by @DesignerDann #ObsessionMonday @acrINTERIORS: I need to find a place to use the faux bois wood grain fabric @ globalviews! #hpmkt


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Market Wrap-up

@Interior_Design: Recycled oil drums make a comeback in the new Olympic Rings collection by @PhillipsCo #hpmkt

@hgtvdecorating: Lots of geometrics all around #hpmkt. Bookcase @NoirFurniture, accessories @ArteriorsHome, rug at Regina Andrew.

@SoHaute: Trend alert: Lucite legs on everything! Images from @centuryfurniture & @leeindustries #hpmkt

@DesignbyMeg: Loved all the #creativedisplays in the youngamerica showroom! One of my faves from #hpmkt

@CozyStylishChic: High gloss lacquer in almost every color under the rainbow is all the rage #hpmkt M AY / J U N E | 2 0 1 3



Tips for Turning your Website into a Sales Machine By Regina Dinning


urniture retailers can benefit greatly from mobile marketing and the mobile revolution if they have a grasp of how mobile technology is affecting consumer behavior.

If you’ve taken the digital plunge and are driving traffic to your website, don’t let the trail end there. Take a hard look at your website. Is it optimized to lead qualified buyers to your physical location? Can consumers successfully navigate your site? Can they continue the research process and be prepared to make a purchase?

This month, I deliver six easy tips to turn your website into a sales (conversion) machine.

Your Website Partner If you’re in need of a good website for your store, reach out to your association and ask for recommendations. Your association has chosen providers that do excellent work for reasonable fees. This is one job you don’t want to leave to an amateur. If you have a basic site, consider upgrading to a premium site offering updated features, including inventory catalogs, custom design, automated rebates and more.

Beyond your basic store information in the header, don’t miss the opportunity to create a “Contact Us” page on your site. This should be in your site navigation and contain a map, address, phone number and store hours. Embed a Google map widget into your site. Smartphone users should be able to click on your telephone number to make a call. Test this feature and see how long it takes to reach a sales representative. Optimize your internal phone process. Next, enter the address into your smart phone. Does it work correctly in your turn-by-turn directions applications? If not, dive into Google Maps. Find your Google+ Local page, claim it and move the push pin on the map to your store location or the nearest intersection.

 Highlight your Universal Selling Proposition Ask yourself: Why should a customer buy from you? Best Serta inventory in Raleigh? Best sofa selection in Austin? Award-winning Amish furniture? Decide on your universal selling proposition and vigorously repeat it throughout your site. Be sure every page contains one or more elements.

Either way, be sure your site is designed to look and work properly on all devices (PCs, tablets and smartphones). Developing for a multi-screen world now involves an understanding of mobile browsers and the user’s experience on a wide array of touchscreen devices. The popular solution is responsive web design, which leverages new features to actively modify the size and position of web page elements based on screen size, orientation, and pixel ratio. Ask your vendor about this.

Remember that time-based promotions drive conversions. People buy based on events (new home purchase, back-toschool, holidays). Whether there’s an actual upcoming event or one you’ve created, build excitement around a time-based promotion and remind consumers when it ends (e.g., Super Bowl living room makeover specials end January 31!).

 Contact Information Clarity

 Focus on Your Best Sellers

You only get one chance to make a first impression and less than 10 seconds to catch your customer’s eye.

Don’t clutter your site with side products and offerings. Focus on your core—furniture, appliances, mattresses, etc.—whatever sells the most and gives you the greatest margins.

Every page on your website should have a standard header including your store name, logo, phone number and address, in a large, bold font. Don’t bury your store hours in the footer. Find a way to cleanly insert your store hours in the header as well. Think small and legible. In footers, include awards you’ve won or associations you belong to. Replicate your site navigation as text links in the footer, but don’t overwhelm visitors with too many links.


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If consumers want to look for ancillary products, let them search your site. Put a search box on every page in the header, and make sure search results are clear and link to live content.

 Your Sales Machines: Landing Pages Convert Buyers Now that your site is clean, clear and ready to properly convert visitors into customers, it’s time to think landing pages, customized pages on your site that serve as the destination for your marketing and advertisements, digital and traditional.



large, easy-to-see




A good landing page has large images, a distinct but similar look and clean design. Think of this as being closer to an advertisement than a regular web page. For example, an image of a woman sitting on a mattress will convert better than one with nobody on it. Include relevant brand logos. Briefly highlight top selling points, special offers or a significant call-to-action with a time component. What can you say in five words or less to entice a qualified consumer?

from your landing pages, and carry over your site navigation (header and footer) to get the best results. At the very least, provide a footer that gives visitors a path back to your main website. Most importantly, embed a form on every landing page to capture basic customer information: first and last name and email. Posting another clear link to a “Contact Us” page also boosts conversions on these pages. Landing pages close the loop on every customer interaction with your website, and will turn the site into a lead generation and sales machine.

Other options include adding a printable coupon to bring into the store and embedding a video, as long as these elements don’t overwhelm the page. Videos produced in your store work best. Regina Dinning is a business development director at Netsertive (netsertive. Don’t forget to include strong linkage back to your core website

com). Dinning is a seasoned professional with more than 15 years' experience in marketing and advertising, including several years specifically in home furnishings. M AY / J U N E | 2 0 1 3


What's Selling

What’s Selling

Every month, What’s Selling Now features best-sellers from across the country. Here’s a look at some top-selling products from High Point Market. Manufacturer: Bungalow 5 Product Name: Romano Wall Mirror Is the product: Made In America: No

Warehouse Ready: Yes Container Product: No

Retail Price: $585 Why do you think it is a successful seller: People respond well to the bold colors and design. How available is the product from the manufacturer: Ready to ship

Manufacturer: Lucy Smith Product Name: Vogue Round Tables Is the product: Made In America: Yes Warehouse Ready: No Container Product: No Cost: $298 Retail Price: $745 Why do you think it is a successful seller: It is eye-catching and very versatile. How available is the product from the manufacturer: The tables are made-to-order in six weeks. Additional information about the product? The table is available in three different sizes and patterns, as well as more than 20 finishes, so you can put it anywhere inside or outside.


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What's Selling

Why do you think it is a successful seller: There's an untapped market for elegantly styled porch beds. The classic style of the wood with a rattan inlay creates a welcoming space to enjoy sights and sounds outdoors.

Manufacturer: Palu Product Name: Glen Cove Hanging Bed Is the product: Made In America: No

Warehouse Ready: Yes, once in stock Container Product: Yes

Cost: $1,350 Retail Price: $2,500 Product level: Mid-level

Look for these symbols to let you know more about the products

How available is the product from the manufacturer: Will be available July 16, 2013. Additional information about the product: The Glen Cove Hanging Bed is part of a collection that includes a daybed with trundle option. The collection is constructed of mahogany wood with rattan inlays in the Cove Gray finish.

Made in America

Warehouse Ready

Container Product M AY / J U N E | 2 0 1 3


Product Focus

Hit the Deck

Seabrook Chair by Palu

Outdoor Furniture Trends for 2013 Trends are notoriously difficult to predict, even for those closest to the subject in question; we all know hot fashions can go out of style in the blink of an eye. On the other hand, sometimes emerging trends are impossible to miss. As outdoor furniture insiders, we're receiving some clear signals as to what's in vogue for 2013.

Transitioning to Transitional Transitional pieces are big this year. A hybrid between classic and contemporary, transitional outdoor furniture combines severe, modern lines with subtle suggestions of the ornate decoration found in more traditional furniture. These pieces often have sculpted seats, arms and backs for improved comfort while maintaining the eye-pleasing simplicity of minimalist styles—the best of both worlds.

Outside is In A trend that has been growing for several years is the concept of "outdoor rooms," essentially extending your living space to the patio. As materials become ever more durable and available in an increasing variety of items, we're seeing a surge of interest in products more traditionally found inside—outdoor rugs, for example, as well as outdoor throw pillows, outdoor lighting and other accessories. With everything from dining tables to fire pits on the patio, creating a stylish and comfortable outdoor living area is no longer a fanciful dream.

Quality Comfort Comfort is definitely in! Plush cushions and inviting oversized seating is a must for outdoor furniture in 2013. If your patio is to be an extension of your living space, it should be every bit as cozy and enjoyable to linger in as your living room. Quality construction is crucial for comfort. The days of delicately perching on the edge of a flimsy, teetering plastic chair are long gone—any outdoor furniture worth its weight will be solid, stable and durable. Wrought iron is among the toughest outdoor furniture you'll find; cast aluminum offers strength without the extra weight. Both hardy and gorgeous, stone tables also appear to be a highly sought after item this year for those looking to create a unique outdoor dining experience.

outdoor furniture is increasing in popularity, and doesn't have to look like something you grabbed out of the discount bin at the local big box store. In fact, you can even get stackable wrought iron transitional pieces—sturdy, durable and stylish. There are stackable bar stools and wicker chairs, too! There also appears to be growing interest in outdoor shelving, trunks and similar space-saving containers that won't fall apart with minimal exposure to the elements.

Furniture in Motion Though typically not stackable, we're also seeing a growing interest in furniture that moves. Rocking chairs, swivel chairs and gliders are looking good for 2013. This trend, too, is probably a derivative of the "outdoor room" movement, bringing the indoor relaxation experience outside. With modern materials, moving parts now last longer than ever, even with minimal maintenance. In keeping with the upward trend of moving furniture, the availability of style and materials such pieces can be found in is also growing—keep an eye on your favorite brands for new additions.

The Natural Choice In the color department, classic, natural tones continue to be widely popular in materials and frames. Neutral colors, such as beige, ivory, black, white and gray have lasting appeal and generally go well together, ideal if color coordination is not your forté.

Saving Space

Cushion fabrics are a different story. Bold, vibrant colors that make a statement are in right now and don't appear to be going out anytime soon. Reds, oranges and yellows all appear to be in fashion for this season.

Between the economy, retiring baby boomers and new families just starting out, there's definitely a trend towards smaller housing. Smaller housing usually means smaller patios. Stackable

If none of these current trends sound very appealing, that's okay too. It's your patio—add your own creative flair, and maybe you'll set a few trends of your own! Republished from the Today’s Patio blog,


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Relational vs. Transactional Advertising

Getting down to the core of what’s best for a retailer


am sure you’ve heard of relational and transactional advertis- relationship between you and the consumer. The customers ing, but have you really thought about which is best for you, then become your customers, and they won’t shop anywhere the retailer? Deciphering the difference is the first of many else for products they can get at your store. If done correctly, customers won’t even pay attention to price. They will simply steps to growing your business through advertising. focus on the company they have come to know and trust. Just Let’s examine both types a little closer. like building a long-term relationship, brand loyalty doesn’t Relational advertising deals with relationships. It is based on happen overnight. Results will require patience, but your brand loyalty, not on price. This type of advertising allows converts will make it worth your while. customers to relate to the retailer and creates a connection So which should you choose? Most retailers are currently between the two. focusing on transactional advertising. They want to get cus-

Transactional advertising is price-driven and creates a shortterm relationship with customers. They don’t shop with the retailer unless there is some short-term benefit, like a discount or a sale. I bet you’re asking yourself, which is the best for me? It really depends on what you want for your business. While it may sound appealing and get customers through the front door, transactional advertising doesn’t help you develop a long-term relationship with your customers. It only brings in those who want to shop the sale. Of course, all business is good business, but we both know you can’t afford to hold a sale every week. This is where relational advertising comes in to play. Not only does it promote your brand in such a way that makes people want to shop at your store, it also builds a long-term

tomers in the door, make the sale and improve their bottom line. While making the sale is important, it is also important to establish relationships. While offering discounts and sales are great, establishing a strong relationship will benefit your business more in the long term. Less price-driven sales equals more money in your pocket.

Should you go cold turkey and drop transactional advertising all together? No. You need to employ a nice mix of both. Once you have an established customer base, you can back off of transactional advertising. But never stop using it completely, as it will both reward your long-term customers and bring in new ones.

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 at or email us at M AY / J U N E | 2 0 1 3


The Scoop

The Scoop

What’s going on with our retailers across the country

The new store focuses on increasing visibility in the community and ensuring the consistency of the shopping experience between the retailer’s new website and physical store.

  New 51,000-sq.-ft. Swann’s Furniture & Design Store in Tyler, Texas Martin Roberts Design (MRD) completed the new $4.4-million flagship store for Swann’s Furniture & Design. The 117-year-old high-end furniture retailer and home design consultant is operated by the fifth generation of owners. The new store is located at 7328 Old Jacksonville Highway in Tyler, Texas. “The project encompassed developing the architectural concept, signage and interior design for the new 51,000-square-foot store,” explained MRD President, Martin Roberts. “We focused on increasing the store’s visibility in the community and ensuring the consistency of the shopping experience between The new freestanding store is located in a high-traffic area of the retailer’s new website and physical store.” an affluent neighborhood. It’s expansive, elegant façade and signage increase the visibility and attract clients from as far The immediate need was to address the changed character of as 100 miles away. The old store was converted into a selfthe neighborhood where the original store and warehouse were storage facility. located. Over the decades, the area had changed to industrial use. It did not reflect the high-end attributes of Swann’s brand nor The store’s layout and design accentuate the high-end value of did it provide a high volume of prospective customer traffic on the brand. The customized, unique merchandise and decoratneighboring streets, which both negatively impacted the business. ing help generate higher margins for the store. M AY / J U N E | 2 0 1 3


The Scoop

Highwood USA's outdoor furniture designed for outdoor living

  Highwood USA Offers New Benefits Program to Dealers Highwood USA, a manufacturer of outdoor furniture and and accessories. A catalog, brochures and color swatches for all accessories made from high-quality synthetic wood, now of- five available product finishes are also included in the program. fers a new benefits program for retail dealers. The program is designed to enable outdoor living and casual furniture retailers Retailers who become authorized dealers receive a free listing on as well as garden centers to enhance their display areas with Highwood USA’s website, which is marketed as a go-to online Highwood USA’s outdoor furniture and accessories, includ- content resource for consumers and others. Each new authoing the company’s Pocono Deep Seating Collection and new rized dealer also has the opportunity to redeem a free “business profile” on Highwood USA’s Facebook page to further promote deck storage boxes. the new partnership, with link-backs to the dealer’s website. The benefits program includes an initial special floor sample offer, which allows retailers to purchase Highwood USA products for merchandising displays at a low-risk, highly dis-   La-Z-Boy Recognizes Surya as counted rate. In addition, shipping costs of sample products Vendor Partner of the Year will be waived. La-Z-Boy, one of the world's leading residential furniture proPoint-of-purchase materials are also included as part of the ducers and retailers, recently recognized home accessories brand new dealer benefits program. Highwood USA has created new Surya with the Vendor Partner of the Year Award during the signage to augment consumer sales in the form of a poster company's Vendor Appreciation Dinner on April 17 in High that can be affixed directly onto each product, showcased Point, N.C. This annual event brings together key vendors who nearby or mounted on walls and displays. The poster is a support La-Z-Boy in the goal of helping its customers Live Life self-selling component of the benefits program and highlights Comfortably. In lieu of giving a plaque to Surya, La-Z-Boy the unique attributes of Highwood USA’s outdoor furniture contributed $500 to Surya's philanthropic partner, the Akshaya


M AY / J U N E | 2 0 1 3

The Scoop

Patra Foundation (, a life-changing “We believe the Schnadig leadership, culture and personnel meal program that feeds 1.3 million underprivileged children are among the best in the industry and this partnership fits daily in schools across India. perfectly into our long-term plans,” said Andy Bray, President, Vanguard Furniture. “Vanguard has long prided itself in its "Our Vendor Partner of the Year Award is the highest recog- ability to provide designer-oriented product alongside our nition the La-Z-Boy Retail Division bestows on our vendor Vanguard brand upholstery.” partners," said Dan King, Vice President Retail Division, La-Z-Boy Inc. "Surya earned this honor through consistent “Over the last few years, we have leveraged lean manufacturing execution of our customers' orders, teaming up with our buyers techniques to grow our top line while increasing manufacturing to stay relevant in the market place and by having strong sales capacity,” added Bray. “This partnership with Caracole allows performance. In addition, we were very impressed with Surya's us to more fully utilize our reclaimed resources.” commitment to philanthropic efforts and helping those who are less fortunate. We feel very thankful to have a world-class Donny Osmond Home Announces team like Surya helping La-Z-Boy Retail delight our clients."   Surya's association with La-Z-Boy has grown over the years, and this latest recognition solidifies the long-standing relationship between the two. "We're extremely honored to receive this award from a retailer like La-Z-Boy—a brand that consistently shows such commitment and attentive service to its customers. It reaffirms that the passion we put behind our products and services can directly translate to shopper satisfaction," said Surya President, Satya Tiwari. "This honor also further strengthens our commitment to customer service and our ongoing efforts to develop training and sales tools that simplify the rug and accessory shopping experience."

New Licensee Signings

Clique Here Inc., brand manager for Donny Osmond Home, has signed licensing agreements with Ellison First Asia for Bedding, R Squared for Dinnerware, Lamp Works for Lighting and Anji Mountain for natural fiber area rugs. According to Deb Wallace, Clique Here’s senior vice president, the agreements will result in an initial launch of products designed and priced for casual living. The launch categories will be expanded with upcoming licensee signings which will provide complimentary products to create a complete room environment.

A wide assortment of product is set to launch in Q4 2013. The product line will emphasize family time together and provides a backdrop of textured neutrals, natural materials and color accents. The launch will coincide with Donny Osmond’s 50-year Whole-home furnishings resource Schnadig International Corporation, a subsidiary of Markor Furniture International Co., anniversary of his television debut. Ltd., along with North Carolina-based Vanguard Furniture “There will be a significant degree of consumer recognition given company, announced a joint venture in which the upper-end to Donny’s 50 years in entertaining, which coincides with the upholstery producer manufactures special orders from Caracole brand launch,” explained Wallace. She added “there simply in a branded custom upholstery program. is no better role model for Home and Family than Donny Osmond. This brand provides unparalleled recognition, trust Schnadig will continue to produce and sell its quality upholand consumer attraction by delivering products with the aspistered furniture built in Markor’s China-based manufacturing rational values that Donny represents. That can’t be duplicated facilities. Vanguard will produce custom upholstery orders for in any other brand. It’s such an exciting point of departure for Caracole. the brand and its licensee partnerships.” Caracole’s custom upholstery program was announced last year and features the brand’s unique frame designs, many of which The home brand represents a renaissance of home and family. are specified as statement pieces by interior designers and dealer It spans Donny’s reign as the original teen idol to his current customers. The company stocks a selection of fabric as well as reign as 2013’s Best Singer in Las Vegas. His popularity, influence, style and distinctive devotion to family create emotional fulfilling C.O.M. orders. resonance that Osmond hopes will proactively result in strong “We are pleased to work with this reputable producer of uphol- and happy families. stered seating to meet the growing needs from interior designers and our dealers for individualized upholstery products, and we look forward to the collaboration with Vanguard,” said Jeff To learn more, visit or contact a representative at (570)668-6113 or Young, CEO, Schnadig International.

  Caracole, Vanguard Team on Special- Order Upholstery Manufacturing

Share your latest news stories with us! We love to hear what’s going on with you. M AY / J U N E | 2 0 1 3




Rooms Moscow

Dwell on Design

All American Furniture Expo

May 21-25, 2013 Moscow, Russia

June 21-23, 2013 Los Angeles, CA

September 5-6, 2013 Lancaster, Pennsylvania


Atlanta International Gift & Home Furnishings Market

China International Furniture Expo

June 2-4, 2013 New Orleans, LA

Showtime June 2-5, 2013 High Point, NC

NAHFA New England ChapterGolf Tournament June 11, 2013 Sutton, MA

July 10-17, 2013 Atlanta, GA

September 11-15, 2013 Shanghai, China

Las Vegas Market

Midwest Furniture Show

July 29 – August 2, 2013 Las Vegas, NV

September 25-26, 2013 Schaumburg, Illinois

KEM Edison, NJ Furniture & Accessory Market

High Point Market

August 4-6, 2013 Edison, New Jersey


ouriso om N r F ! W



M AY / J U N E | 2 0 1 3

October 19-24, 2013 High Point, North Carolina


"Trame" Collection from Tomasella Spring 2013 High Point Market







Cargo Consolidation Services

(828) 459-3160

Diakon Logistics

(703) 530-0677

28 39

Dispatch Track

(866) 437-3573


Furniture Wizard

(619) 869-7200


GE Capital

(800) 888-9590

High Point Market

(336) 869-1000



Jaipur Rugs

(888) 416-8600


Inside Back

Kincaid Furniture

(828) 728-3261

Las Vegas Market

(888) 962-7469


Lynch Sales

(305) 444-3939


(800) 964-3876


Back Cover

Next Generation-NOW

(800) 422-3778



North American HFA Sponsors

(800) 888-9590



Northwest Furniture Xpress

(828) 475-6377


(201) 368-6900


Okinus Credit Solutions

(800) 472-1334

Planned Furniture Promotions

(800) 472-5242


(800) 888-5565



R&A Marketing

(888) 225-0776




(888) 557-3782



Shock Watch

(800) 757-9214


(888) 4-STORIS


(877) 275-7847


(877) 866-7546


09 05, 07 65

48 41 50 21, 34


23 IC, 53


16 M AY / J U N E | 2 0 1 3


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

The Now List Furniture was so scarce in medieval and renaissance Europe that it was moved around from room to room.

Companies in the U.S. purchase 16.5 million chairs, 4.5 million tables, 11 million file cabinets and 3 million desks every year.

Charles Darwin became one of the earliest innovators of the modern office chair when he added wheels to his chair so he could get to his specimens quicker in his study. Approximately 838 miles of bookshelves house more than 147 million items in the Library of Congress.

Roads in Guam are made from a mixture of ground coral and oil.

Benjamin Franklin wanted our national bird to be the “respectable” turkey, instead of the bald eagle, which he said had “bad moral character.”

In barnyards, “boss” is another name for a cow or calf.

The book Gadsby by Ernest Vincent Wright is 50,110 words long and does not contain the letter E. BEARD TAX When Peter the Great was the tsar in Russia, men paid a special tax for their beards. The tax was meant to inspire Russians to look more like clean-shaven Europeans.

Five fun Google tricks:  Search for “do a barrel roll”  Google “zerg rush” and destroy the circles!  Type “askew” or “tilt” in the text bar and hit search  Search for “the loneliest number”  Use Google Maps to get directions from The Shire to Mordor. Click the walking directions button. Each day, about 20 million people “tweet”. Internet experts speculate that over half of all tweets are based on controversial subjects.


M AY / J U N E | 2 0 1 3

Before the 19th century, fashion models were not used. Designers demonstrated their creations with tiny outfits on little dolls. 65% of all pictures on the internet are of naked women.

The first internet banner ad was launched in 1994 and it ended up being a huge hit because people just couldn’t resist clicking. It looks like an older ad, but the same strategies are used by advertisers today. It would take about 200 million Blu-Ray discs to copy the entire internet.

1993 - 2013


WHAT MATTERS TO GENERATION Y? panel discussion @ upcoming las vegas market. whY BuY into genY? There are over 80 million GenY consumers that hold $200 billion in spending power. How much do you really know about the demographic born between 1982-1999? • What are they buying? • How are they shopping? • What gets them to spend? Join us for a panel discussion and Q&A session, presented by MicroD’s retailer, manufacturer, and technology partners, to learn about what matters to this generation. In addition, panelists will review the roles of social media, eCommerce, and how to maximize your website to attract and sell to the GenY consumer.

TUESDAY, JULY 30 Retailer Resource Center Building B

We look forward to seeing you!




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May/June 2013—Leadership  
May/June 2013—Leadership  

This issue is about leadership, and how appropriate. The magazine has a new editor, the North American Home Furnishings Association is now a...