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Volume 20 Issue 11

Journal of the Western Home Furnishings Association

western

NOVEMBER 2011

THE

of RETAIL

est.1944

Western Home Furnishings Association

www.WHFA.org


Save the Date •

Holiday Gala Open HOuse

Dec 8

Please contact your Emerald Home Furnishing Sales Representative or call 253.922.1400 for more information

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Table ofCONTENTS

J o u r n a l o f t h e We s t e r n H o m e F u r n i s h i n g s A s s o c i a t i o n

western retailer

EDITORIAL STAFF Managing Editor: Melissa Dressler................................ mdressler@whfa.org

featured articles

DESIGN AND LAYOUT: Lisa Tilley................................................. ltilley@whfa.org Advertising Manager: Cindi Williams..............................cwilliams@whfa.org 2011 WHFA OFFICERS AND EXECUTIVE COMMITTEE WHFA PRESIDENT Angel Lopez - Dearden’s, Los Angeles, CA........................................(213) 362-9600

CASH FLOW FLAGS—8 Warning Signs

10

merchandising strategies

14

PRESIDENT ELECT Chris Sanders - Everton Mattress Factory, Inc., Twin Falls, ID..........(208) 326-3407

For a Successful Business

VICE PRESIDENT Valerie Watters - Valerie’s Furniture and Accents, Cave Creek, AZ....(480) 483-3327

Member profile—RoomsXpress

16

The essence of retail

20

annual board meeting notice

23

TREASURER Lael Thompson - Broyhill Home Collections, Aurora, CO...................(303) 360-9653 SECRETARY Chuck Kill - Bedmart, Tucson, AZ.......................................................(520) 887-7039 EXECUTIVE COMMITTEE CHAIR Claudia LeClair - Fiesta Home Furnishings, Scottsdale, AZ...............(480) 951-3239

everyone loves a great “bACK end” 24

PAST PRESIDENTS Marty Cramer - Cramer’s Home Furnishings, Ellensburg, WA...........(509) 933-2172 George Nader - Nader’s La Popular, Gardena, CA............................(310) 327-8585

“hail mary” or “Sell plenty”

EXECUTIVE director Sharron Bradley - WHFA, Roseville, CA.............................................(916) 784-7677

26

AT LARGE EXECUTIVE COMMITTEE MEMBers Gary Absalonson - Walker’s Furniture Inc., Spokane, WA.................(509) 533-5500 Howard Haimsohn - Lawrance Contemporary, San Diego, CA.......... (619) 291-1911 Marvin Kerby - Kerby’s Furniture, Mesa, AZ.......................................(480) 834-3888 Karen Kohlman - West Harvard Furniture, Roseburg. OR.................(541) 673-4221

in every issue

WHFA/NHFA Liaison David Harkness - Harkness Furniture, Tacoma, WA...........................(253) 473-1234

A Letter from your President Secret to Success. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 5

WHFA Board Members Carol Bell - Contents, Tucson, AZ......................................................(520) 881-6900

A Letter from your Editor Are you Geared for Success?. . . . . . . . . . . . 6

Gene DeMeerleer - Furniture West, LaGrande, OR...........................(541) 963-5440 Chris Ehgoetz - Michael Alan, Lake Havasu City, AZ........................(928) 855-6067 Greg Follett – Follett’s Furniture, Lewiston, ID...................................(208) 743-0177

Industry Beat. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 8

Eric Foucrier - Linder’s Furniture Mart, Garden Grove, CA................(714) 210-4848

Membership Marketplace Exclusive Financing Plans. . . . . . . . . . . . . 19

Travis Garrish - Forma Furniture, Fort Collins, CO.............................(970) 204-9700 Giff Gates - Gates Furniture, Grants Pass, OR..................................(541) 476-4627 John Grootegoed - Elite Leather, Chino, CA......................................(800) 826-9971

Social Lingo. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 30

Eric Harms - Black’s Home Furnishings, Yreka, CA...........................(530) 842-3876 Tim Koerner - Koerner Furniture, Coeur D’Alene, ID..........................(208) 666-1525 Jeff Lindsley - Lindsley’s Home Furnishings, Grangeville, ID.............(208) 983-1040 Mark Navarra - Jerome’s, San Diego, CA..........................................(858) 753-1549 Michael Nermon - Ergo Customized Comfort, Irvine, CA...................(949) 833-0338

contact

Cherie Rose - The Rose Collection, Los Gatos, CA...........................(408) 395-7773 Scott Selden - Selden’s - Tacoma, WA...............................................(253) 922-5700 Mike Shuel - Meredith Furniture, Yakima, WA....................................(509) 452-6221

Phone:

(800) 422-3778 (12 western states) (916) 784-7677 Online: www.WHFA.org Fax: (916) 784-7697 Mail: 500 Giuseppe Court, Suite 6 Roseville, CA 95678 Facebook: www.facebook.com/WesternRetailer Twitter: www.twitter.com/WesternRetailer

Tom Slater - Slater’s Home Furnishings, Modesto, CA......................(209) 522-9097 Polly Teeter – Del-Teet, Bellevue, WA.................................................(425) 462-1500 WESTERN HOME FURNISHINGS ASSOCIATION STAFF Executive Director: Sharron Bradley................................................(916) 960-0345 Asst. Exec./Membership Director: Kaprice Crawford.....................(916) 960-0346 Business Manager: Janice Carlson..................................................(916) 960-0347 Events Manager: Cindi Williams.......................................................(916) 960-0277 Operations/Warehouse Manager: Jef Spencer...............................(916) 960-0386 Editor/Communications Coordinator: Melissa Dressler.................(916) 960-0385 Graphic Designer & Project Manager: Lisa Tilley...........................(916) 960-0349

Western Home Furnishings Association is the western affiliate of National Home Furnishings Association

Member Services Rep: Michael Hill..................................................(916) 960-0263 Member Services Rep: Adam Gardner............................................(916) 960-0291 Accounting Assistant: Melody King.................................................(916) 960-2476

est.1944

Contact WHFA at www.WHFA.org or (800) 422-3778

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WHFA

ACADEMY

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RRC RETAILER

RESOURCE CENTER

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www.HomeFurnishingsConference.com For Sponsorship opportunities call Cindi Williams Δ Director of Events WHFA 916.960.0277

B O G O

Tim Sanders

Former Yahoo! Executive Includes his best seller "Today We Are Rich"

Larry Winget

The Pitbull of Personal Development Includes his best seller "People are Idiots and I can Prove It"

est.1944

Western Home Furnishings Association

Home Furnishings Industry MAY 6-8, 2012 ◊ PALM SPRINGS


President’s Tip of the Month How is your WAP? Is your website compatible with mobile phones? Consultants tell us that the average mobile phone user checks his phone 128x a day and opens 96% of their text messages. What does this mean for your future advertising strategies? Be ready to develop a text message advertising program.

president’s MESSAGE

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hat has been the secret to Dearden’s success, and how we have managed to stay in business for over 100 years? First of all, we have no secret formula. The practices we have employed over the years we have learned as we go. That being said, I can point to four things that have been the foundation for our longevity. The first has been our love and passion for our employees and our customers, which has led to very little employee turnover through the good times and the not so good times. The way we treat our employees is reflected in the way we treat our customers and that is why the majority of our business is repeat business.

Angel Lopez 2011 WHFA President

The second is how we view our organizational structure. I often tell our employees that there are only two job titles in the company, sales and sales support. I am sure you have all heard the saying, “Nothing happens until something is sold”. The job of every employee, including myself, is to ensure that we are doing everything we can to support our sales team. This support comes in many ways: great displays, the right merchandise and delivery personnel do their part to ensure the customer is satisfied with the delivery. The third is to make certain that everyone in the organization is aligned with the company’s priorities. This may seem simplistic but it is crucial that everyone is going in the same direction. We measure this by watching our sales results and setting goals for the key performance indicators. Fourth, we have adapted to the changing demographics and always tried to stay current with the latest not only in technology but also in the media consumption habits of our customer. In today’s digital age it is imperative that we have a presence in the digital world which includes not only a website but also Facebook, Twitter, etc. We must also be maximizing the use of email advertising. I was recently flying home from vacation, and as I was skimming through the in-flight magazine I was amazed at how many ads had QR Codes. Though we are using a QR code in our advertising, I do not think we have even begun to tap into its full potential. I truly believe that to be successful in this day and age, we have to come to the conclusion that we cannot do it alone. I would encourage every one to tap into the full line of resources that are available to you with WHFA.

Dearden’s Furniture Los Angeles, CA (213) 362-9600 angel.lopez@deardens.com

Journal of the Western Home Furnishings Association

western

NOVEMBER 2011

THE

ON THE COVER

of RETAIL

CA$H FLOW FLAGS

Geared for Success We bring you an issue full of tips to bring your store to the front of the pack.

est.1944

Western Home Furnishings Association

www.WHFA.org

Contact WHFA at www.WHFA.org or (800) 422-3778

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Editor’s Tip of the Month Harness the power of interns to save money and have a new tech savvy generation help your business with social media. Just make sure they understand your brand!

editor’s MESSAGE Are you Geared for Success?

Let’s face it… the last few years have been really tough. We have all seen many businesses crumble. Economic struggles have eroded their foundations to the point where they can no longer stay in business. Others might be holding on, but on shaking ground while some are surviving just fine. We all had a glimmer of hope during the first quarter of this year, but that hope has seemed to diminish and the reality is many stores are still struggling. What a perfect time to make sure your business geared for a successful future. The key to every business is a strong foundation, your money, your people, and your products. If your business has been shaky over the last few years, now is the time to switch gears and make it stronger.

Melissa Dressler Western Retailer Managing Editor

Here are a few things to think about when gearing up for success: •

Ensure your business has a healthy cash flow. A business without cash, isn’t a business. (for Eight Cash Flow Flags, read page 10).

Do you have the best salespeople (or employees) in your area? Many people are still unemployed. Now could be the time to snag a great salesperson without taking them from another job.

Don’t be afraid to rethink your business focus, especially merchandising. Times have changed, your customers might want something different! Look at the products that are selling, and what is not.

Investigate new advertising and marketing ideas and find what is right to reach your target market. Social media is the hot tool right now, but is it the correct tool for you?

Maintain and work on your relationships with your employees, customers, vendors and community. You need their support during good and bad times.

Find new and creative ways to get people into your store, and once they are there, make them feel welcomed and at home.

There are many more ways to help gear up your business for success. This issue looks at five areas of your business that will contribute to you store’s success in today’s day and age. Gain valuable ideas to help your cash flow, sales, warehousing, merchandising and advertising in this issue and build a stronger foundation for your business. Enjoy and start rebuilding!

J o u r n a l o f t h e We s t e r n H o m e F u r n i s h i n g s A s s o c i a t i o n

western

OCTOBER 2011

HAPPY HOLIDAYS! Let’s Celebrate

(916) 960-0385 MDressler@whfa.org

Follow us—

Building Holiday Traditions Increasing 4th Quarter Sales

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Western Home Furnishings Association

www.WHFA.org

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Last month’s magazine is available online at www.WHFA.org.

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www.facebook.com/westernretailer @westernretailer

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Contact WHFA at www.WHFA.org or (800) 422-3778


25,000 SURYA FANS Are you where your customers are? Home Decor • Calhoun, Georgia

WALL Share SURYA Check out the new Moral Collection! October 3 at 2:10 pm 32 people like this

Suggest to Friends Subscribe via SMS

Amber K Fave! :) October 3 at 5:39 pm Comment

25,091 People Like This

Jerry S There needs to be a ‘love’ button! October 3 at 7:42 pm Comment Kimberly N WOW! October 4 at 8:14 am Comment

Candice Olson

Bob Mackie

Anne G This is the one I want to sink my feet into! October 4 at 8:28 am Comment Barbara P FAVE ALSO October 4 at 9:08 pm Comment Susan B Beautiful October 6 at 10:26 am Comment

Jill Rosenwald

Smithsonian Institute

Showing 1 of 9 Albums

Megan E can one order online? October 7 at 9:38 am Comment Surya Megan, See your local Furniture retailer for ordering October 10 at 2:19 pm Comment Bryan K Great Coastal Collection. October 10 at 3:12 pm Comment Tammy W I love your designs. They are so fresh! October 11 at 6:36 pm Comment Don L Fabulous. October 12 at 11:37 am Comment Kerri M Amazing! October 12 at 1:03 pm Comment Jeff C That is a beautiful rug October 12 at 1:12 pm Comment

Moral Collection

Tina N I WANT ONE! October 12 at 6:26 pm Comment

www.facebook.com/SuryaSocial


INDUSTRY BEAT

industryBEAT Michael Alan Furnishings in Lake Havasu, Ariz., stayed up all night September 23-24, to raise money for the Cancer Association of Havasu’s low cost Mammogram Program. Serta Mattress Co. helped sponsor the third annual “Sleepless in Havasu” event, which raised $23,000 for the cause. … HW Home, Boulder, Colo., recently partnered with Colorado University Architecture students to raise money for the Boulder Humane Society. Several Colorado University students enrolled in the summer Green Technology course, built inspiring and one-of-a-kind sustainable furniture with found or recycled materials. Their goal was to have it sold at HW Home’s Boulder location with the proceeds going directly to the Boulder Humane Society. … Last month, Sleep Train Mattress Centers, Northern California, raised over $500,000 during their annual Charity Golf Classic to support emancipated foster youth. ... Jake Jabs, CEO of American Furniture Warehouse, Colo., recently donated $25 million to the Montana State University School of Business. Jabs graduated in 1952 with a degree in vocational agriculture from what was then Montana State College. The gifted money will be used to build a new building for the school as well as create new scholarships and academic programs. … Genevieve Schafer, Forma Furniture, Fort Collins, Colo., was the winner of the WHFA website contest. She won a color Nook ebook and absolutely loves it, “I am loving the Nook and using it every day! What a great prize! Thank you so much!”

Want to see your name here? Send your news to mdressler@ whfa.org and check out our new Blog “The Beat” at www. whfa.org. Check Out Their Sites www.michaelalanaz.com www.hwhome.com www.sleeptrain.com www.afwonline.com www.formafurniture.com

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Hear this complete story and others on our website!

www.PFPromotions.com Call or Click today!

1-800-472-5242 8

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High Impact Events Since 1962

Contact WHFA at www.WHFA.org or (800) 422-3778


Welcome to the Executive Committee Marvin

Thanks, I wasn’t sure what to wear...

You look great! You’ll fit right in.

RETAILERS HELPING RETAILERS est.1944

Western Home Furnishings Association

Western Home Furnishings Association • www.whfa.org • 1-800422-3778


FINANCES

Cash Flow Flags How could this happen? It must have been the economy! Let me tell you the story of a business that was founded over 50 years ago. They were a family furniture operation that had grown from a small mom and pop shop to an organization that operated three stores and did $10 million in sales. Times were good—for a while. Last year they declared bankruptcy and closed their doors. by David McMahon

The slowing economy, as in many cases like this, was only one factor. In fact, in this case there was only a modest sales decline relative to similar businesses. The primary factor for their demise was an outright failure to be a student of their business. Their family had grown so there were more people to support. Between the various brothers, sisters, sons, daughters, and cousins, there were multiple people who relied on the business to pay for their mortgages and feed their families. On top of this, there was no clear leader. Every decision had to go through a sort of unanimous voting process. This slowed their speed to react and innovate. And the decisions that were made were often times on issues that were not of any great benefit to the business. They wasted time. It got so bad that there was one argument amongst the brothers and sisters on who was supposed to put the toilet paper in the bathrooms! They had little time to focus on what counted. They only tracked

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written sales. All the other critical measures were ignored. Eventually they decided to take on debt to finance their growing accounts payable. They tried mass event sales to blow out their inventory. They were just able to break even. They repeated this strategy of refinancing debt and big event sales. Eventually they became insolvent. This meant that they could not pay for their short term obligations. Minimal profitability, missing sales goals, and rising debt put the nail in their coffin. Bankrupt. Unfortunately, stories like this are far too common. If this company had a leader and a team who knew what red flags to look for and took action soon enough, they would have survived. In this article I’m going to show you the red flags to look for. If you keep your eyes on these, you will greatly improve your chances of success and you will be able to take corrective measures sooner. With you as a decisive leader of your capable team, your cash flow potential can be maximized.

Contact WHFA at www.WHFA.org or (800) 422-3778


FINANCES

 Sales to Plan. Sales drive everything. Your plan is your realistic projection of sales or your budget. It is also the dollar amount needed to produce your required profitability and cash flow. To calculate this, take your actual monthly sales and divide by monthly sales on your budget (your profit plan). For example, if sales were $550,000 and planned sales were $525,000, then sales to plan is 105 percent. This should be checked monthly, quarterly, and year-to-date each month. Repeated underperformance of sales to plan (under 100 percent) signifies either performance issues with sales or a budget that needs to be adjusted in its entirety.  Profitability. This is the ultimate source of all cash. It is sales minus all your expenses. To view as a percent, divide that number by sales. No operation can operate with a loss for very long and few can operate at average profitability (2-4 percent) and grow their business. Alternatively, healthy profitability (7 percent+) enables growth through reinvestment of equity into the business. This investment leads to expansion and takes the form of technology, training, capital investment, merchandise lines, and human talent. Paying out all the profit to shareholders does little for the future of business. It is important to note that profitability needs to be consistent to really make a difference. It should be checked each month on certifiably correct financials both for the month and year-to-date.  Quick Ratio. Also called the acid test ratio. It is a measure of the liquidity that you have in your business. It is calculated by taking your current assets, less your inventory, divided by your current liabilities. An even ratio of 1 is solid. Anything under .5 means your business may be in a danger area. Companies with very low quick ratios are at risk of insolvency.  Cash to Current Payables. This measures your ability to pay for your immediate responsibilities. It largely indicates whether you can honor your short term loans from your vendors. The importance of this is critical to continue uninterrupted flow of goods. Many companies in the last few years have shut their doors because their vendors simply stopped shipping. Track this monthly and seek to be consistently above 25 percent. Anyone under 15 percent is probably struggling to make ends meet and are most likely dipping into lines of credit.  GMROI. Gross margin return on inventory. All your cash comes from selling inventory, right? And if you sell your inventory faster or carry less of it, you generate cash faster, right? That’s what GMROI is—the ultimate measure of your operations effectiveness at creating dollars! Figure this by annualizing your gross margin dollars and dividing by your average or current inventory on hand. Do it every month without fail. Seek to continually improve this number overall. I call a $2 GMROI a break even GMROI and a $2.5+ GMROI an “in the money” GMROI. Contact WHFA at www.WHFA.org or (800) 422-3778

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Be ready to weather the storm

 Inventory to Sales. This flag is your key to controlling new buying. Purchasing should follow sales results or realistic forecasts. You all know what could happen if you go to market and you buy without a plan. Only a certain percent of the new merchandise sells; the rest sits in stagnation. Obviously, invoices become due for that inventory whether it sells or not. Timing and the amount you spend on new merchandise is everything. In fact, most of the businesses that have gone out in the last few years were overbought when the economy was good. That’s why they could not weather the storm. Figure your inventory to sales by taking your average or current inventory that is in your possession and divide it by your annualized sales. I’ve been in the analyzing and advising business for over a decade and have never seen a profitable and growing business operate consistently above 20 percent. I call 15-17 percent the “sweet spot”. Faster turning categories such as bedding or appliances can be even less. Only purchase new merchandise if inventory to sales is in the “sweet spot” range.  Gross Margin. How much money do you have left to pay for all operating costs and make a healthy profit after you deduct your cost of goods and freight from the sale of your merchandise? That is your gross margin. Figure as a percent each month and year-to-date by dividing by your sales. In retail furniture and bedding, most operations have two options, in my opinion: be above 46 percent or below 42 percent. The reason relates to sales volume and turns. There is just very little economies of scale with small and medium sized businesses. Fixed operating costs can eat profits unless the margin is appropriate. Unless you have a killer deal on rent and a great location, a store doing under $5 million will find it difficult to operate at under 46 percent margin on their financial statements. Alternatively, for example, a store with sales of over $20 million could operate at a lower margin and be a low cost seller and still be decently profitable. Below is profit matrix of where cash is typically made with respect to gross margin and turns. Avoid the “death zone”.

Profit Matrix

Low Gross Margin High Gross Margin

High Turns

“Profit potential”

“Hugely profitable”

Low Turns

“Death zone”

“Profit potential”

 Operating Costs. These are all the costs that you incur each month after your cost of goods. You should set target percentages of sales by department in your master budget so that you can avoid expense profit erosion. The commonly tracked departments in your operating budget are: administration, occupancy, selling, marketing, service, warehouse, delivery, and finance. Overall high profit operations seek to be under 38 percent.

Be a student of your business. Watch for the red flags. That is the first step on your road to achieving a healthier cash flow position. It is the first step in giving your business longevity whatever your sales volume is. It is difficult to improve what you don’t track so doing this will help. The next step is to take the right decisive actions at the right time. David McMahon is a management consultant for PROFITsystems. You can reach him at davidm@profitsystems.com. Email him if you would like some help in figuring your red flags, setting up a profit plan, budgeting, and taking decisive actions to improve.


sHOP www.whfa.org/products

warehouse • light bulbs • touch-up


MERCHANDISING

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Merchandising Strategies

for a Successful Business In Today’s Consumer Environment By Bob Moorman

What does today’s consumer really want when it comes to buying furniture? Are their needs changing? How are we, as retailers, to respond to everything going on around us and with our customers?

I

have the advantage of observing first-hand many stores throughout the U.S. and sometimes overseas. One thing I am seeing is that more attention is being paid to the nature of merchandise a furniture retailer is showing on their showroom floor. Today’s smart furniture retailer is doing his or her homework and learning more about the markets they do business in; they understand who is coming into their store. I was visiting a furniture retailer recently who is a client of mine. We had developed their “War Room”, an area or room where every piece of furniture in major categories is photographed and placed by category on a wall. Now I realize anyone can do this, but here is the difference. This retailer, in his upholstery category, is carefully constructing an assortment that targets his market and he is ensuring he has a store that offers diversity along with a strong value proposition. He has identified his opening price point range, his mid-range and his high-end pricing range. He is

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planning 30 percent of all his SKU’s in opening price points, 50 percent of his SKU’s in the mid-range and 20 percent of all his SKU’s in the high-end range. He also looks at the number of two-cushion sofas, three-cushions, loose back, semi-attached, etc. Once that process is complete, he then started a trend analysis, what color pallets will be displayed (solid fabrications versus patterns) and finally the scale or size of the furniture. I have been asked several times about the trend in furniture size or scale that a furniture retailer should carry today. We know that in markets with older homes from the first half of the 20th century, rooms tend to be smaller although there are exceptions to everything. The trend just a few years ago, prior to our economic slow down, was bigger is better. We know some baby-boomers are downsizing from their “mega mansions” where they can actually sell them. These baby boomers will buy smaller homes and will most likely have to Contact WHFA at www.WHFA.org or (800) 422-3778


MERCHANDISING

There is not a business model on the planet that cannot be changed when something isn’t working. scale down some of their furniture, but they still want quality and luxury in their homes. Price may not be an objection if the right solution is presented to them.

cannot be changed when something isn’t working. Maximize your potential, refine and develop new skills in merchandising and sales management.

Our retail furniture industry also experiences the customer in the 28 to 48 age group, and they are as diverse as the pages in a book. Many are extremely “value-conscious” and price plays a primary role in their buying decisions. Others are upwardly mobile and will buy what they want, based on the visual presentation of the store and what they experience when a salesperson greets them. If your sales associate does not come across as an expert, your customer will continue to shop the market until they find one, and the likelihood of them revisiting you will diminish.

Bob Moorman is a Senior Business Analyst and Consultant for JRM Sales and Management, Inc. (www.jrmsales-mgmt.com) a consulting firm that works specifically with furniture retailers and has earned the endorsement of the WHFA. Bob has a retail career that spans 25 years. He held several key management positions with the JCPenney Company and then later with the Target Corporation. He has been a store manager, senior merchandise buyer, regional field merchandiser, zone manager, and with Target was appointed as National Sales Manager for the Seasonal Division. He was responsible for developing the micro marketing strategies for key geographic areas of the country. Prior to joining JRM, Bob oversaw the operation of an organization that facilitated roundtable groups. Bob is considered one of the strongest consultants and business analysts in the furniture industry today.

I believe the consumer confidence scale and buying patterns are just unpredictable. I read everything I can get my hands on about the economy being a major factor in retail furniture non-performance, yet a furniture retailer I know, in a secondary market, is running double digit increases. I know of several other retailers that are having a very good year. So what’s the difference? The answer is they do not allow themselves to get locked into any one business model; they are forever updating and changing. If a merchandise category is not working for them they find out why; is it price, assortment selection, is the inventory aging, or perhaps it may be a selling issue? The furniture retailer today is challenged with having the right product at the right time. I recently visited a major giant furniture retailer. Their furniture is themed for small space living and they have unique storage solutions. They appeal to

If a store is not performing well and sales and profits are in a downward spiral, what happens when a customer walks through your entrance? Does the entrance tell the customer a story when they enter? The first 500 square feet of your store near the entrance is the most important square footage you have. Are you proud of it? Does the visual presentation match the image you are trying to communicate in your advertising? Do you tell your customer, through presentation and signage at the entrance, the advantages they have for doing business with you? For example, are there any special credit programs, volume incentives, rebates or special coupons? many types of buyers and are very good at telling a story. Their themed departments and even specialty departments are well signed. They might even be next door to you, so how do you “out-merchandise” them and ensure an enhanced customer experience? Today you must know what you want your store to be. Engineer it into something new, start a war room, share it with your sales staff, and start to measure what you want to change. There is not a business model on the planet that

Contact WHFA at www.WHFA.org or (800) 422-3778

Learn how to “out-merchandise” your competition

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Bottom: Alex and Nora, owners, top: James, store manager, Katie, office manager, Jason, sales rep & cook

Success in an Unexpected Place

F

our years ago, the housing market in Modesto, Calif., was booming and consumers were shopping. New communities of homes were popping up on every street corner and the city was thriving. Alex Vo had been working for numerous home furnishings stores in the area, and thought if he owned his own store, he could do it better. He decided to take this notion and test it out. Alex found a prime location near the local mall and opened RoomsXpress in 2007. Three months later, the housing market crashed and that same city now has one of the worst housing markets in the nation, with people out of work and saving their money. Throughout it all, Alex and his employees have been able to maintain a successful business in one of the hardest hit regions of the country. “When the market crashed, everyone went into a panic mode,” he said. “We hardly had any customers in the 16

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beginning, and it was very hard for us. Bad timing on our part! We were able to pull through though.” When housing developers were leaving half built homes and deserting the city, Alex and his team found a way to be successful. They worked with each customer on an individual basis and found ways for them to furnish their homes. “There were still people that needed furniture during that time. We just had to work with them on an individual basis. They might have had a financial situation that we had to work through, so often times we would do in-house financing, discounts or layaways. We are very patient and try to work with our customers. Over the years, it has paid off and those same customers continue to come back and do business with us,” Alex said. Alex has built a strong business foundation based on four fundamentals: trust, respect, fairness and honesty. western retailer

By Melissa Dressler

Employees are treated like members of the family and are paid a salary instead of a commission. This leads to a more comfortable environment in the store for both customers and employees. “It is not a commissioned sales environment where everyone is working against each other,” he added. “We work as a team. We do everything together. For the first two years, we ate lunch together every day. I would buy everyone lunch and we would sit together to eat. This year, we are trying to meet a specific sales quota. If we meet the quota, I plan on shutting down the store for a few days and taking everyone and their families to Hawaii.” This foundation also holds true with how Alex and his team treats their customers. Their primary goal is to make their customers like (or love) them. In Alex’s eyes, a happy customer is a job well done. Alex even goes out of his way to help those who aren’t his customers. Recently he had a lady call the store to Contact WHFA at www.WHFA.org or (800) 422-3778


MEMBER PROFILE

The youngest of the RoomsXpress team, Katie’s son Parker

Anthony, Ricardo, Lonny and Tom

say her recliner broke, and the store from which she purchased it in a nearby town was out of business. Alex scheduled for a technician to come look at the problem. Once the problem had been indentified, Alex ordered parts to fix the problem through his resources. “When the part came in, I gave the technician my business card and wrote on it that the parts were complimentary of RoomsXpress,” he said. “The lady would only have to pay for the labor to install the parts. A few weeks later, I was working in the back and an employee called me to the front. The lady had come in because she wanted to thank me personally instead of calling on the phone. She then asked where the bathroom was, and when she walked back to the bathroom, she passed our bedding area where we sell comforters. She noticed a picture of a bed, and came back up to me really excited and said, ‘That’s the bed I have been looking for!’ In the end, she spent $3,000 in our store. God is fair about it—you take care of someone and he will take care of you. If you do the right thing, you will sleep good at night and go to work with a happy face.”

we merchandise is very important for a store our size, and we were able to slow down our customers by merchandising up.”

The RoomsXpress team has also created an amazing store atmosphere that utilizes every bit of their 9,000 square foot showroom. Instead of just viewing the showroom in square feet, the team views it as cubic feet, displaying items up as well as out. “We use every available space possible without making our store look crowded.” Alex said. “Since our store is so small, a customer can walk in and walk out within five minutes. What is the chance of us being able to sell to a customer if they don’t spend any time in our store? So we had to rethink our display situation, and figure out how to slow down the customer, have a lot of items for them to look at and ultimately get them to stay in our store for 15, 20, or even 30 minutes. With that notion in mind, we redecorated the store using a lot of different items for customers to look at. The way Contact WHFA at www.WHFA.org or (800) 422-3778

Along with using every cubic foot of the store, Alex’s sales team is very skilled in selling customers catalog items. They often find a comparable product in the store to show the customer the quality and style. “We can do a lot more business through the catalogs without having to actually have the item on our showroom floor. A third of our business comes from catalog sales,” Alex said. When Alex first opened the store in 2007, he initially had plans to open a second location by his fifth season. As he enters that season, he is now rethinking his original plan because of the lagging economy. While he feels it isn’t wise to build another store at the moment, he would like to continue to grow the business through added sales and new products. He will continue to listen to his customers for the types of products they would like to buy. Alex would love to sell high end merchandise, but knows that is not a viable product for his market at this time. His plan is to work on keeping his overhead low and finances in check so that RoomsXpress can remain profitable. Alex’s last comment can serve as solid advice for his fellow retailers, “We are going to continue to take care of our customers, our employees and save money for a rainy day. Survivability is a contributing factor to our business. We learned from the larger stores that went out of business, they weren’t able to turn product quickly enough to accommodate the economy downturn. If business is going well, you need to set aside money for the times when business is struggling and you will survive. In this period of time, we all need to be prepared for that.”

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est.1944

Western Home Furnishings Association

Retailers

Retailers Furniture retailers formed The Western Home Furnishings Association to save time and money. They negotiated competitive programs, developed valuable education and found ways to get together and share stories, all to help them grow professionally and thrive financially. Today WHFA is still your association, created for retailers by retailers.

NEW RETAILERS…You have access to the best resources to help your business succeed and grow in today’s changing economy, allowing you to enjoy the progress. ESTABLISHED RETAILERS…You can take advantage of valueadded support, helping ease the demands of day to day operations, letting you focus on much more important things.

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The Essence of Retail The saying: “Nothing happens until something is sold” is cliche because, well...it’s true. By Gerry Morris

Of all the aspects involved in running a successful home furnishings business, sales is arguably the most important, especially in today’s economy. While this truism does point out the vital role of sales, it’s not an accurate depiction of retail. Actually, lots happens before something is sold. When considering all the people both directly and indirectly involved in retail, it would be practically impossible to count them. Just pick one finished good and trace its components and materials back to their original source and try to count the number of people and actions involved in bringing it to the point of sale.

All that effort culminates in a single conversation between one shopper and one RSA (retail sales associate) at a time. It’s when the sale is closed that the ownership of the goods is transferred from the supply side to the demand side of the equation. Simple, yet profound, it is the essence of retail.

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What’s the Point? The real goal for retailers that want to increase volume, market share and profits is to expand their base of loyal customers and develop long term relationships with them. With that as the number one priority, retailers should view every aspect of business as a means of facilitating, supporting and enabling the sales staff to increase the likelihood of closing sales. A litmus test for making good decisions is to always ask the question, “Does this help us serve our customers?” So through that lens, let’s take a look at some ways to create a successful sales program.

Sales Staff For most shoppers, the retail sales staff may be the only touch point. They are the ambassadors for the entire company. But, with the nature of retail, long hours, evenings weekends and holidays, it’s not easy to find people that want to make retail sales a long term career. Retailers wanting a top-notch sales staff must make it worth their while, not only monetarily, but also with quality of life issues.

Contact WHFA at www.WHFA.org or (800) 422-3778


Sales Training Traditional sales training, product knowledge and selling skills, are no longer sufficient. Training for success in the future must be taken to a new level. It is an arduous and ongoing task, but worth the effort.

Preparation Obviously, the sales staff must be prepared, but retailers can also prepare their shoppers by the messages they send out. Advertising that focuses upon price, discounts, financing swings the door with transactional customers seeking the best deal. A better, inspiring message with lifestyle images can evoke the emotion to compel shoppers to want to improve their quality of life as their primary reason to visit at a store. In today’s world, many shoppers are better prepared and more informed than some RSA’s. Consumers are using the plethora of information on the Internet and are often armed and ready for battle. To avoid losing a power struggle with a savvy shopper, RSA’s should regularly spend time researching competitors and brands in the same manner as consumers to stay informed. Shoppers that perceive the confidence and competence of a well trained knowledgeable sales associate most often will allow her or him to take the lead. Combining these qualities with compassion and caring is what instills trust.

Daily Preparation Shoppers immediately begin to draw conclusions about a retailer from the moment they enter the parking lot. It’s important that every detail be objectively examined, improved or enhanced and maintained on a daily basis. Many “just lookers” may have seen something they didn’t like. Sales associates should arrive early, make sure everything is in place, familiarize themselves with all pertinent information about sales, promotions, delivery, pricing changes and be ready, willing and able to serve when the door opens.

Contact WHFA at www.WHFA.org or (800) 422-3778

Here are some ideas: Objective Training Consider seeking out third party training services, like The Furniture Training Company, that specialize in improving the overall level of training skills.

Diversity Training The new frontier of training includes learning about other cultures and perspectives in order to better relate and be of service to all those that are kind enough to give you an opportunity to earn their business.

Psychology, Communications & Human Relations To reach the top level of competence, RSA’s must learn and understand the motivation and attitude of consumers, and how to better relate and communicate with them.

A New Selling Process To be truly successful a company’s emphasis should be upon serving the customer instead of selling to them. Paradoxically, retailers with this paradigm are more successful than those that have success as their goal. Consumers can perceive motive. People want to feel that they have been given the best opportunity, information and advice for their own particular circumstance rather than having been run through the same “system” as everyone else. Try replacing the selling-steps approach with “guided discovery”—conversations with people rather than presentations to shoppers using open ended questions and more listening than talking. It is a collaborative effort with the goal of not just satisfying, but exceeding customers’ expectations. western retailer

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Pricing and Discounting Retailers that do allow for individual price discounts must be careful. It’s wise to address pricing and discounts as a policy matter. Along with quality of product and customer service, fair pricing practices play an integral role in the credibility and reputation of a company. Consider creating a clearly defined and written policy that may contain some leeway, but otherwise should be adhered to without exception.

Post Sale The sale is not complete until the customer has received the goods and is satisfied with them. RSA’s working with customer service, delivery and finance must follow up every sale to ensure total customer satisfaction. RSA’s can gather the information to keep and attract new customers by seeking testimonials and referrals. A post sale interview is a great way to find out what the customer liked or disliked, what could be improved upon, what their future needs may be. It’s of utmost importance to stay connected with customers using social media tools. There is an abundance of information available on that topic.

Continued Improvement One of the best ways to increase performance is to have each RSA track their selling performance on a daily basis (e.g. number of UPs, closing rate, average ticket, returns, etc.) It’s just human nature that once someone becomes aware of their performance, improvement follows. Schedule regular meetings asking RSA’s to share information on specific selling situations, and then use role playing to recreate, and improve everyone’s selling skills.

Going Outside the Box Smart retailers don’t just sit back wishing and hoping for customers. They proactively seek it out by getting involved with local events, causes and organizations. More consumers are choosing to do business with companies that want to make a positive difference in the environment and the community. It’s a great way to gain exposure and attract new customers.

All Aboard All employees should spend some time on the sales floor observing and meeting customers face to face to see first hand the real reason they have a job and a paycheck. Conversely every sales associate should spend time in every department to learn how each works together to facilitate that most important aspect of retail, sales. Gerry Morris is an author, consultant, training coach and member of the National Speakers Association. With more than 20 years of experience in the home furnishings industry, Gerry has helped manufacturers, retailers and RSAs around the world increase their sales. To find out what Gerry can do for your company, call him at (903) 456-2015, email gmorris@ innerspring.net or visit www.innerspring.net.

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RRC RETAILER

RESOURCE CENTER Western Home Furnishings Association

WHFA’s Annual Membership Meeting Tuesday, January 31, 2012 Breakfast at 7:30 a.m., Meeting at 8:00 a.m. Retailer Resource Center, C-496—World Market Center

The WHFA Annual Membership and Board Meeting will be held Tuesday, January 31, 2012 at the Winter Las Vegas Market from 8:00-8:30 a.m. The meeting will be held in the Retailer Resource Center in C-496. Members are welcome to come early, enjoy breakfast, and stay for both the Membership Meeting as well as the Board meeting that will immediately follow. Members will vote on new and re-elected directors to the 2012 WHFA Board of Directors. In addition, the 2011 WHFA President will pass the gavel to the incoming 2012 President. All WHFA Members are invited to attend this breakfast meeting. Reservations are requested. For more information, please contact Cindi Williams at (800) 422-3778 or cwilliams@whfa.org.

It’s Where You Belong

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OPERATIONS

Everyone loves a great “BACK” End Organized Warehouse=Increased Profits

By John McCloskey

Why did you decide to open a furniture store in the first place? Did you wake up one morning and think how much fun it would be to schedule trucks, receive merchandise, move it from one location to another, deliver it to a customer and deal with all the problems associated with these transactions? Probably not. Having a nice store, selecting merchandise, advertising and promotions were what drew you toward a career in retail furniture. For many of the stores I have visited throughout the U.S., Canada and Mexico, this reality has manifested itself into a very expensive and frustrating situation. When I first visit a new client, we always meet in the showroom. We take a tour of the showroom and almost always it is neat, clean, well decorated and very functional. I see the different galleries they have established and can feel the pride the owner has for the many accomplishments the store has made. Then… we go to the warehouse. As we head toward the warehouse, the owner begins to prepare me for what I am about to see. I am given many excuses why

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the warehouse is in the shape it is. Not enough room, too much receiving, too many damaged items, poor design of the facility, not enough people... It goes on and on. Does any of this sound familiar? We arrive at the warehouse and it is clear to me what the real problem is. No commitment on the behalf of the owner towards the warehouse. The warehouse is just a necessary evil that costs money, annoys salespeople and irritates customers. I was asked to write an article on one area of operations that will improve the performance of any retail furniture store. I immediately started thinking of all the functions that need to be performed and all the micro-management that goes into running a good warehouse, but what really makes the difference is the commitment level of the owner. Since I am an operations consultant, I am often frustrated that the advertising folks can easily convince my clients to spend $50,000 or more a month on ads, yet I can’t convince them to spend $250 on a couple of working hand trucks or $400 on a dock plate!

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OPERATIONS

The first thing you need to do is make the commitment to yourself to treat the warehouse like the important facility it is. Spend more time in the warehouse and talk to those who work there about their frustrations. Their frustrations are what is lowering your profits, so listen closely! Here are some important areas to focus on: Housekeeping: Would you like to take a customer on

a tour of your warehouse? If not, why? Make sure you have a clean and orderly break room, bathroom, customer waiting area and shop. The cab of the trucks should also be clean and free of empty drink cups and fast food wrappers. The floors should be swept every day and all aisles and staging areas kept clear.

Equipment: Furniture is fragile! Every time it is moved

you risk damage. Make sure that you have the proper equipment. Hand trucks must be padded so that there is no metal coming in contact with the furniture. Use four-wheel dollies when moving open goods: never slide them on the floor. Install dock levelers where needed and at the very least, use a dock plate.

Protect Open Goods: Reuse the packing material

that you are currently paying to dispose of. Every open item should be wrapped and protected before being stored in the warehouse, even if it is going to be delivered in the next few days. It only takes a minute to prevent damage that can cause the delivery to get canceled and hours of repair time in the shop.

Reduce Stock Levels: Most stores have between 10 percent and 30 percent of the merchandise in the warehouse as overstock. Nothing is more difficult for the warehouse than to work in a congested environment. Make sure that everything that is not sold is represented on the showroom. Most systems have a report that will identify these items. Make sure the merchandise that needs to be disposed of or returned to the factory are processed and moved out of the building quickly. Repair Shop: There is no point in having a repair shop if

the people are: a) untrained, and b) underfunded. I’ve visited far too many warehouses with drivers who were pressed into repair service with no formal training, and repair people telling me that it is impossible to get anything ordered for them to use. Can you imagine a garage with no tools, a hair stylist without scissors?

map the route your trucks will be taking a few days from now. Then, try to fill up the balance of the truck by adding stops close to the existing route. There is a firm in Texas who was able to drop from 22 trucks on the road each day to 18 utilizing this strategy.

Take Care of Problems Quickly: Mistakes happen and furniture will have problems. The faster you resolve these problems, the less expensive they will be. The key to keeping damaged goods from backing up is to resolve them quickly. Do not just put it away with plans to deal with it later. It will sit there and one day find itself on the way to a tent sale to be sold for a fraction of its wholesale cost. Instead, order the part and get it fixed while it is still a current running item so that it can be sold for full price. The same applies to items that are in the customers’ homes which need repair. Here is a little trick that will make customer parts easier to handle and less expensive to process. Ship all parts to the customer’s home. Let the customer know that they are coming directly and to call the service department when they arrive to arrange for installation. You will be amazed how many times they will not call as they already installed the part themselves. Once I was surprised when the customer told me that they installed the cut and sewn panel on their sofa. Turns out, she used to work for an upholstery factory!

Maintain Focus on Operations: Your store

CANNOT run without the operations staff. Take care of these folks. Listen to them and give them all the tools and support they need. In the end, the investments you make in operations will show up in better profits in the future!

President for Profitability Consulting Group, John offers clients a wide range of operational expertise in warehouse operations, management information systems, and inventory control processes. John is ready to help store owners make dramatic improvements in profitability by streamlining and improving the back-end processes. For more information call (336) 255-5300 or email jmc@profitabilityconsulting.com.

Send Trucks Out Full: Make sure that you are taking full advantage of your delivery capacity. One way to increase the amount of furniture you are delivering is to pre-plan your routes in a more efficient manner. Using a simple program such as Microsoft Streets & Trips 2011, you can plot on a

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SALES & MARKETING

2012…Will it be a “Hail Mary” or “Sell Plenty” Year? By Doug Knorr I was asked to share with you how to create a successful marketing plan that will get people into your stores in today’s economy. Some would say, “It can’t be done. You just have to wait until the economy gets better.”

Well, here is the only “bad news” you will ever hear from me: The economy may fluctuate and, at times, seem better. However, what we enjoyed in the 80s and 90s most likely will never seen again. Now the good news! The game has changed and there are new rules to the game. However, with these changes in retailing and marketing, you have a whole new opportunity to win! Winning will require that you integrate new strategies and tactical approaches. It will demand that you hold everything accountable—from your marketing and advertising, to sales, merchandising and your entire operation. As a dear old friend, John Lawhon use to say, “Only what gets measured improves!” That has never been truer than it is today! There are still things you can do during the fourth quarter of this year to make 2012 a year of growth and greater profitability. And, if you will embrace the six strategies that follow, you will enjoy a better 2012! First, I want to make very clear that the most important thing a company must do is to separate itself from the pack! I cannot even begin to express to you the importance of making sure that your store has a “point of differentiation,” a unique brand promise, that separates your company from the competition. It is this unique brand promise that communicates to your targeted consumer “why” you are different and “what” they will experience at your store that they will not experience at one of your competitors. Your unique promise will serve as the foundation for true strategic and tactical restructuring of your company. This is when an outsider’s perspective is often needed. The use of a professional marketing firm that can conduct a comprehensive marketing communications plan for your store may be warranted. With that said, here are six major strategies that will drive greater sales and profitability in 2012!  Make Value-Added “FREE” Advertising Your Battle Cry for 2012! I encourage you to build an annual marketing and advertising program by the end of November. Define the media you will use in 2012 and then negotiate annual contracts with the media. I guarantee (even in a political year) you will get at least 20 percent more advertising with your budget by negotiating annual contracts well before the end of the year. And, when you have more media power, you are able to drive more consumers into your store with greater frequency. We have clients that have enjoyed as much as 70 percent value-added advertising because they implemented this strategy.

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SALES & MARKETING

...make sure your store has a “point of differentiation,” a unique brand promise, that separates your company from the competition.

 Make sure that what you’re advertising is more than just a sale! In all your advertising, integrate what you offer that other stores in your market do not offer. If you cannot develop this message on your own, then get outside marketing help. Make sure your message is consistent in every advertising message you deliver, so that synergy creates a focused message that breaks through the clutter with both your unique promise and your promotional offer. If you do this, you will get a greater return on every advertising dollar you invest!  Hold your merchandising accountable! One of the biggest problems I see as I visit retailers around the country is that they do not have a handle on their merchandising. Merchandising and marketing must dovetail to create a strong enticement to the targeted consumer. Your merchandising should support your brand message and promotional marketing messages. Although most retailers are happy with 20 percent of their merchandise being 80 percent of what they sell, if you want to grow your business in 2012 and be more profitable, you must drill down into what is and what is not selling.

You need to know what price points and what styles are working and which ones are failing. You need to embrace the fact that every item on your floor is like a soldier fighting the war for increased sales. Any item (soldier) that is not helping you win the war on sales…needs to be shot! Mark it down, move it out and replace it with an item that will give you the turns and gross margin you need to enjoy greater profitability in 2012.  Integrate a quarterly “roadblock” broadcast promotion. One of the most important things to controlling your position of leadership in the market is to develop up to one major roadblock promotion a quarter.

No matter what type of brand image you have, you can run a vertically driven roadblock promotion with strong merchandised offers each quarter and you will not hurt the integrity of your brand. To implement a roadblock promotion, start planning at least six months ahead. Work with key vendors for hot promotional offers and meet with them and demand (nicely) free valueadded media support. Note: Usually the first 18 days of the month provides more flexibility with additional “no charge” schedules from the media. You will find the greatest success if you make these four roadblocks a part of your annual negotiations with the media. Remember, 2012 is a political year, so work on a strategy that will allow flexibility with the media to get the best cost-perpoint (CPP) and added FREE exposure.  Expand your market & you’ll expand your sales in 2012! If you want more sales, you need to reach more households with greater frequency! Recently, we finished the first six months of a new strategic marketing communications plan for a client in the Midwestern states. They have two stores and, for four years, watched sales in both stores consistently erode. After developing a program that integrated everything I am sharing in this issue and implementing it for six months, we have enjoyed as much as 68 percent sales increases against the same months in 2010. We have also surpassed same month numbers from the previous four year highs. One of the important factors is the new marketing strategy that reaches twice as many households as they were previously reaching monthly, yet staying on budget.  Develop a Robust Website Strategy! We call it a “Click and Brick” strategy. Simply, you want your website to get the customer one step closer to your front door!

continued on p.28

As you probably know, a true media “roadblock” is having your broadcast commercial air simultaneously on several radio stations and/or television channels. No matter where the listener or viewer turns at a certain time, your commercial is appearing. These roadblock promotions need to be bigger than life so that you will own the minds of the consumer and drive new customers into the store.

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Will it be a “Hail Mary” or “Sell Plenty” Year? con’t.

There are two major ingredients to making your website successful and drive new customers into your store. The first is relevancy. All online content must be relevant to consumers’ needs. When crafting your message, think like selling a home—don’t take anything for granted and leave out important benefits. Communicate your unique promise to the consumer, and make your message clear.

The second ingredient for a successful website is transparency. This has two implications. At times, it refers to content – by including some slightly negative comments customers have alleged about your store or owning up to some shortcomings. However, it also refers to navigation on your site. You must keep in mind that visitors need to be guided to the information they want and see a point of contact at all times. Let me conclude by saying, “A tough economy does not change the consumer’s desire for an enjoyable home environment!” They still want to experience a comfortable home that reflects their personality.

There are undoubtedly diamonds in the backyard of your business. Integrate these six strategies in 2012, and I guarantee you will enjoy greater success. By building a defensible unique brand promise that will separate you from the competition, you are certain to enjoy greater returns with every advertising dollar you invest! Wishing you all a great 2012! © Copyright 2011, Knorr Marketing

Douglas Knorr, known as a “retail marketing activist” is president of Knorr Marketing (www.knorrmarketing.com), 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 and media buying strategies. Headquartered in the resort community of Traverse City, Michigan, the firm serves clients throughout the United States.


Social Lingo Last September, Facebook rolled out a bunch of new changes that left many users upset and confused on how to find things. Here is a brief explanation of the new Facebook lingo:

Facebook Changes :( • News Ticker: Shows activity stories of who is doing what in real-time. You will see when a friend comments on another post, likes a page, listens to a song and much more. NOTE: If you do not want to see every single activity a person does, “Unsubscribe” from their activity stories. You will still see when they post a status update.

• News Feed: Is the main screen you see when you log in. It no longer features the options Top News and Most Recent News. Now you can choose from Top Stories and Recent Stories. Top Stories are things that Facebook thinks you might be interested in based on your interaction in the past. Recent Stories let’s you view posts in chronological order.

• Smart Lists: If you really want to organize your news feeds, Smart Lists is the place to do it. This helps you group like friends together and just follow that group. This can also be done with your Pages: simply create a list full of all of the pages you have liked, and then you can view their updates all at once!

• Subscribe: Allows you to make your personal profile more public. Subscribers are allowed to see any public update that you make. This is best for people who may not want to friend someone, or create a fan page, so they can allow people to subscribe to their posts.

• Timeline: Perhaps one of the biggest changes coming to Facebook is the Timeline [as of press time, timeline had not been launched for everyone]. The first thing you will notice is that your personal Facebook page features one large image that is static. The new timeline also allows people to view your entire life on Facebook. Accessing specific information about a friend is also easier with all items up front and center.

Advertisers Index

www.whfa.org

Please support the advertisers that support your magazine. Advertiser...............................................................Page................................ Phone/Website Emerald Home Furnishings................................................. 2............................................ (800) 685-6646 FurnitureDealer.net............................................................. 22........................................... (651) 287-0700 Furniture Wizard.............................................................23 & 29....................................... (619) 869-7200 Home Furnishings Industry Conference . ........................... 4............................................ (800) 422-3778 KEM- Karel Expo................................................................ 28........................................... (305) 792-9990 MicroD......................................................................... back cover.................................... (800) 964-3876 Planned Furniture Promotions............................................. 8............................................ (800) 472-5242 PROFITsystems ................................................................ 31........................................... (800) 888-5565 Surya................................................................................... 7............................................ (877) 275-7847 www.WHFA.org Products Store.......................................... 13........................................... (800) 422-3778 WHFA Membership & Awareness....................................9 & 18........................................ (800) 422-3778

Advertising Inquiries & Rates Contact:

Cindi Williams, WHFA Events Manager, 500 Giuseppe Court, Ste. 6, Roseville, CA 95678 Phone: (916) 960-0277 E-mail: cwilliams@whfa.org. Subscriptions: $35.00/year USA. Published by Western Home Furnishings Association, a National Home Furnishings Association affiliate, in the interests of retail home furnishings dealers, manufacturers, ­distributors and sales people. Distributed to retail merchants handling ­furniture, ­accessories, bedding, floor coverings, and specialty home furnishings in ­Alaska, Arizona, California, Colorado, Hawaii, Idaho, Montana, Nevada, Oregon, Utah, Washington and Wyoming. Mailing list compiled by WHFA. Official publication of Western Home Furnishings Association, which is responsible for editorial content and advertising policy. The views expressed in articles appearing in Western Retailer are not necessarily those of Western Home ­Furnishings ­Association. Western Retailer magazine is copyrighted by Western Home Furnishings Association. November 2011, all rights reserved.

Western Retailer

Read by furniture retailers in the West.

Distribution Western Retailer is read by more than 10,000 home furnishing retail store personnel handling furniture, accessories, bedding, floorcovering and specialty home furnishings in Alaska, Arizona, California, Colorado, Hawaii, Idaho, Montana, Nevada, Oregon, Utah, Washington and Wyoming.

Marketing Philosophy Western Retailer focuses on western market trends in the furniture, bedding, flooring and accessories industry. It highlights industry finance, state legislation, retail store layout and design, transportation, retail advertising trends, retail store computerization, insurance, succession planning and industry social events.

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Contact WHFA at www.WHFA.org or (800) 422-3778


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November 2011 Western Retailer  
November 2011 Western Retailer  

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