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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

Building Holiday Traditions Increasing 4th Quarter Sales

est.1944

Western Home Furnishings Association

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emerald home furnishings

H I G H

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P O I N T

october 2011

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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

featured articles

Managing Editor: Melissa Dressler................................ mdressler@whfa.org DESIGN AND LAYOUT: Lisa Tilley................................................. ltilley@whfa.org

Happy Holidays—Let’s Celebrate!

10

A SENSORY EXPERIENCE For Holiday Pleasure & Profit

12

WElcoming Holiday Homes

15

guided web tour

18

SECRETARY Chuck Kill - Bedmart, Tucson, AZ.......................................................(520) 887-7039

Building Holiday Traditions

20

EXECUTIVE COMMITTEE CHAIR Claudia LeClair - Fiesta Home Furnishings, Scottsdale, AZ...............(480) 951-3239

focus on 4th quarter sales

28

building reliable hiring practices It’s Important to Hire the Right People

32

IDS Designer of the YEAR

35

SELL WHAT CUSTOMERS WANT TO BUY

36

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 PRESIDENT ELECT Chris Sanders - Everton Mattress Factory, Inc., Twin Falls, ID..........(208) 326-3407 VICE PRESIDENT Valerie Watters - Valerie’s Furniture and Accents, Cave Creek, AZ....(480) 483-3327 TREASURER Lael Thompson - Broyhill Home Collections, Aurora, CO...................(303) 360-9653

PAST PRESIDENTS Marty Cramer - Cramer’s Home Furnishings, Ellensburg, WA...........(509) 933-2172 George Nader - Nader’s La Popular, Gardena, CA............................(310) 327-8585 EXECUTIVE director Sharron Bradley - WHFA, Roseville, CA.............................................(916) 784-7677 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 WHFA/NHFA Liaison

in every issue

David Harkness - Harkness Furniture, Tacoma, WA...........................(253) 473-1234 WHFA Board Members

A Letter from your President Holiday Shopping. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 5

Carol Bell - Contents, Tucson, AZ......................................................(520) 881-6900 Gene DeMeerleer - Furniture West, LaGrande, OR...........................(541) 963-5440 Chris Ehgoetz - Michael Alan, Lake Havasu City, AZ........................(928) 855-6067

Membership Marketplace Important Insurance Plans. . . . . . . . . . . . 27

Mark Flegel - Flegel’s Home Furniture, Menlo Park, CA....................(650) 326-9661 Greg Follett – Follett’s Furniture, Lewiston, ID...................................(208) 743-0177

Social Lingo. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 38

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

contact

Michael Nermon - Ergo Customized Comfort, Irvine, CA...................(949) 833-0338 Cherie Rose - The Rose Collection, Los Gatos, CA...........................(408) 395-7773 Scott Selden - Selden’s - Tacoma, WA...............................................(253) 922-5700

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

Mike Shuel - Meredith Furniture, Yakima, WA....................................(509) 452-6221 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

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

Graphic Designer & Project Manager: Lisa Tilley...........................(916) 960-0349 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

october 2 011

3


randy StEwart

relationship Manager, GE Capital

lEE GOOdMan

President and CEO, Jerome’s furniture

JErOME’S COMES tO GE CaPItal and thEy COME tO US fOr thE BESt CUStOMEr EXPErIEnCE. Jerome’s Furniture made a number of changes to make buying from them as easy as possible. One change was to offer GE Capitla financing at the beginning of the sales process so customers knew what they could really afford. Customers appreciate knowing their financing options up front and are more comfortable making a purchase decision. “By staying focused on selling furniture and creating the best customer experience with GE Capital,” Lee Goodman says, “we’ll set ourselves apart, stay strong, and gain market share.” Go with more. Go GE Capital.

gogecapital.com


president’s MESSAGE

I

t is hard to believe that this year is almost over. From what I hear, it has been a roller coaster ride for many of us. There have been good months, and there have been some not so good months. It also appears that we have had a nice response to the special holiday promotions such as Memorial Day and Labor Day. Well, get ready for that final push of the year—Christmas shopping. For many of us, the Christmas season has always been an important part of our business. It seems that through good times or bad times, customers tend to ease up on their concerns and find a way to make that special purchase for their loved ones or for themselves.

Angel Lopez 2011 WHFA President

Furniture is an important part of the holiday season because that is when most people get together in their homes. The one thing they want to make sure of is that they are ready to receive guests. That is why we begin our Christmas advertising early and focus on those rooms that visitors are going to notice. For many years now we have been using the theme Home for the Holidays for our November circular. After Black Friday we focus on dining and living room furniture. We then send out another circular promoting gift giving ideas, and we advertise smaller gift giving items such as accessories for the home. The success of any Christmas promotion rests on the theme being executed throughout the store which includes the music; the furniture having Christmas decorations and all point-of-sale material incorporating the Christmas theme. Being in Southern California it can be a challenge to convey the Christmas spirit when you have 80 degree weather outside, so we have to work extra hard to get everyone in the Christmas spirit. Sometimes we bring Santa to the stores to take pictures with the children. Poor Santa, he must be sweltering in that outfit. In this issue you will see what some of the folks in our industry are doing for the holiday selling season.

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

ON THE COVER

Building Holiday Traditions

Building Holiday Traditions C.S. Wo & Sons Home, Honolulu, HI. For complete story, see page 20.

Increasing 4th Quarter Sales

est.1944

Western Home Furnishings Association

www.WHFA.org

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

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october 2 011

5


editor’s MESSAGE Ahhh… the air is crisp, days are shorter and the leaves are falling. It can only mean one thing—it’s October! The month of October kicks off a four-month stretch of holidays as well as signals the end of the fourth quarter. Now is the time to get people into your store and encourage them to buy. From October to January, there are eight holidays you could focus an event around (depending on your beliefs as well as your customers’). If you don’t want to celebrate just one day, why not have a Hal-Than-Vete-Hanu-Chris-New-Kwan event? There are no set rules on how (or why) you should have an event in your store. Events help bring in new traffic, create a fun store environment and are enjoyable outings for your customers. They also allow you to sell items that might not typically be on your showroom floor, like special gift items or accessories.

Melissa Dressler Western Retailer Managing Editor

Of course, some of the biggest shopping days for consumers are also in the months ahead—are you planning a Black Friday event? Black Friday isn’t just limited to the malls and big-box stores. People will line up for any kind of event where they believe they will get a deal. It is a tradition for many—including me! Every Thanksgiving my mom and I comb through the newspaper ads (one of the ONLY times I look at a newspaper) and see what stores we want to hit up. Sometimes we just go out to see the crowds, other times we want that great deal! To some, the entire day is almost a sport— how many places can they see and how many deals can they get in a day? This issue is full of holiday-inspired ideas for you to incorporate into your store. Discover new ideas on creating memorable in-store events, adding holiday-inspired accessories to your showroom, generating fourth quarter sales and see how you can incorporate some of these ideas into your business. I hope you enjoy this issue and ring in some sales!

(916) 960-0385 MDressler@whfa.org

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

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JUNE 2011 AUGUST-SEPTEMBER 2011

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Western Home Furnishings Association

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

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S E RV I C E S

Complete Training Programs Diverse Special Order Displays Free Sampling Policy

I N V E N TO RY

Top 250 Quick Ship Program Ship within 72 hours 150,000 sq/ft Warehouse

MERCHANDISING

Fabric Coordinating Program Updated Catalog Twice a Year Retail POP Packages

PRODUCT

Over 1500 Rug Styles Stocked in 5-22 Sizes Coordinating Textiles/Wall Art

T E C H N O LO G Y

Exclusive MicroD Partnership State of the Art Website

COMMUNITY

Corporate Sponsor of NHFA Proud Supporter of SmileTrain

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3233 OCTOBER 22-27, 2011.


Industry Beat

industryBEAT Gates Furniture, Grants Pass, Ore., recently participated in the Extreme Makeover Home Edition Jackson County and donated over $18,000 in furniture to the winning family. … Jerome’s Furniture, San Diego, Calif., was named, by Furniture/Today, the second fastest growing retailer in the U.S. in 2010. Jerome’s, known for its “Jerry’s Price” everyday low price strategy, also had the fourth greatest percentage sales increase—up almost 21 percent in 2010. … The Sleep Train in Sacramento, Calif., has been inspiring other companies and organizations to support The Sleep Train Foster Kids. Companies like Under the Nile, Laptop Lunches and organizations such as “Reaching Beyond the Walls” Missions Group at San Quentin State Prison have donated products and money to support local foster children. … October is Breast Cancer Awareness Month, and Forearm Forklift is showing their support by selling pink Lifting Straps and donating an annual $10,000 to support The Breast Cancer Research Foundation.

Check out our new Blog called The Beat, containing industry news and happenings we have heard throughout the week. Want to be featured in The Beat? Email information on store openings, news, and fun to mdressler@whfa.org. Check Out Their Sites www.gatesfurniture.com www.jeromes.com www.sleeptrain.com www.forearmforklift.com

PFP-WHFA Ad 0911_Layout 1 9/14/11 2:12 PM Page 1

Direct Furniture Chose PFP! My name is Kathy Beach... my store was Direct Furniture. The store was 56 years old. When we finally decided that we were going to close the doors, it was a painful decision. After I contacted PFP and met with them, they told me what to expect, what their expectations were for the store, and what their expenses would be. By the end of the sale, they were right on the money, right where they said they would be. We’re all very scared to take on a partner like this, but I cannot stress (enough) how trustworthy and kind and fair and very business-like the whole experience was. I was pleased from the beginning to the end, and it just ended last week. They did everything they

“...I cannot stress (enough) how trustworthy and kind and fair and very businesslike the whole experience was.”

said they would do and more. I’m a happy customer. Kathy Beach, Direct Furniture

Hear this complete story and others on our website!

Call or Click today!

1-800-472-5242 www.PFPromotions.com

8 october 2 011

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High Impact Events Since 1962

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Save the Date HFIC WESTIN MISSION HILLS

GAINING THE EDGE

est.1944

Western Home Furnishings Association

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


By Mary Liz Curtin

The fourth quarter is a big fat party for many of us in retail‌ thank heaven people are sprucing up their homes for special events, buying gifts and giving themselves little treats to celebrate the season. It is the season for parties and events in your store will help drive traffic, expose the store to new customers and build your bottom line, which translates into presents under your tree. Special events, large and small, have been the key to success at our store, Leon & Lulu, which is a 15,000 square foot destination furniture, gift and accessory store. When people come to a party in the store, and especially if there is a charity tie-in, they are just naturally disposed to like the shop. The crowd adds a buzz to the showroom, makes people want to buy things and, even better, sends them home ready to tell their friends what a great time they had. Marketing a store gets more and more difficult in tough times, so we have to give our customers a little more than they expect‌ or perhaps a LOT more, and special events of all kinds are another way to make your store a destination. Many marketers and retail experts are extolling the virtues of in-store events these days, but some shop owners are still nervous about hosting parties and special events. They worry about damage, shoplifting and liability. With careful planning and a solid plan, you can allay these fears. When we talk about EVENTS, many people think they have to call in the caterers, erect a tent and rent little golden chairs. Not so! An event can be a simple coffee, a little treat or just wine and cheese. The whole trick is to make your shoppers feel special and treasured and to host a party that will work in your space.

Set Goals Why are you having this party? Are you hoping to attract new customers? Showcase new product? Raise money for a charity? Often, you are trying to build your brand and the actual sales may come later. Other events really bring in the cash (which is a good thing). If you know what you are trying to accomplish, you can judge the results. 10 october 2 011

western retailer

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Choose a Time and Date The right time is crucial for attendance, so consider your audience and their schedules as you plan. Some events are better after store hours, but many can be held while the store is open. Will it be private or open to the public? Be sure to leave enough time to promote the event and get the word out.

Analyze Your Space Where will you serve the food and drinks? Try not to use the cash wrap for a buffet or bar if you will be selling things during the event, since that is a recipe for disaster. The space you have will dictate the number of people you can accommodate and the type of food you can serve. While you want it to look glamorous and generous, you may have to do it in a small space.

Menu You are always wise to serve more of fewer things, rather than small amounts of lots of foods. A bountiful array will look more glamorous and be easier to keep looking fresh. For an evening event, wine and cheese is a classic that always works, as does coffee and pastries. During the day, coffee and cookies is great. I always add a big pile of grapes or strawberries regardless of the time of day because the bright color really makes the display look inviting and fresh. If you plan to entertain in the store frequently, invest in the equipment you will need. We have a restaurant coffee pot, which is fabulous. It brews quickly and the coffee is not only very good but quite inexpensive. Because we serve “traditional roller rink food” often, and have a snack bar, we also have a hot dog steamer, popcorn popper and Otis Spunkmeyer cookie oven as well as the luxury of a dishwasher and a big freezer in the warehouse. You probably don’t need all these items, but a good ice chest and coffee pot are essential. Popcorn also gives you a lot of bang for your buck and it smells terrific. Catered affairs are another situation entirely. For a fancy event, having someone else do the cooking and serving is a good idea. Always have a walk-through with the caterer before you order the food so you can decide how and where you will serve it. We prefer to use dishes from the store instead of the caterer’s trays, so we give the dishes to them ahead of time and never have to transfer food.

Invitations How will you get the people to your party? The least expensive way to invite them is by email. If you are working with a charity, be sure they invite everyone on their list so you make Contact WHFA at www.WHFA.org or (800) 422-3778

new friends… and customers. If it is a public event, press releases are a must.

Parking When you are expecting a crowd, you may also expect a traffic jam. Put parking instructions on the invitation or provide valets if the budget allows. We often have parking directors, who greet drivers and tell them where to look for available parking spots.

Hours Always put an ending time on your invitations, but expect to be in the store for up to one additional hour. At charity functions, the actual shopping usually happens in a big rush at the very end (usually right after I have let my son escape for the evening) in a chaotic rush. Plan your staffing accordingly.

Liquor If you serve wine or other alcohol, check your local laws carefully to see if you need permits or licenses. Always watch your guests carefully for signs of inebriation. We recently decided that if we hear one straight man say to another, “I love you dude, I really do. I mean it, man”, we close the bar. If you do not serve alcohol, consider one of the many nonalcoholic “designer drinks”. They add a festive atmosphere.

Don’t Forget Always buy extra ice, wine, napkins and cheese. It couldn’t hurt.

Limitations Don’t try to overdo it. Learn what works for your space, budget and customers. A fabulous small party is better than a not-so-great large one.

Take Notes After the event or even during the event write a few notes about what worked and what did not. If the event is good, DO IT AGAIN. My theory is that the first time it is just a party, the second time it is better and the third time you hold an event it becomes a tradition.

You Are in Charge These events get better and easier as you do more and more of them. You will also learn what works well is your store, so don’t let any party planner or charity director try to make you do something you don’t want to do. Always remember that it is a privilege to have a party in your store and an honor to attend. Benefits, parties and special events have put our store on the map. We have made new friends, increased our customer base exponentially and built a reputation as a store that gives back to the community. You can do it. There are very few spills, we’ve had no damage to product and the cost is not high for many of these events. Go ahead, invite a few friends over. Mary Liz Curtin and her husband own Leon & Lulu, a 15,000 square foot destination store located near Detroit. See them at www.leonandlulu.com.

western retailer

october 2 011

11


A Sensory Experience

for Holiday Pleasure & Profit

‘T

By René Johnstone-Gingrich

is the season to deck the halls and cash in on increased holiday sales. Well planned and flawlessly executed holiday accessorizing can be the difference between making the cash register bells jingle or having a series of silent nights. The holidays offer an amazing opportunity to dazzle your customers and reap the rewards of doing so. But first you want to consider, “How do you want your customers to feel when they walk through the store?” The shopping experience must appeal to all senses, and it goes far beyond decking the halls with boughs of holly. There is much to consider when accessorizing for the holidays. Many choices are unique to the individual location and directly impact sales. Following are some time-tested holiday merchandising rules to live by. I have listed nine tips on planning and carrying out a holiday accessorizing strategy that is pleasing to the eye and the bottom line.

Get organized ahead of time: Prepare your warehouse

or store room for the seasonal onslaught. Organize, categorize, systemize and make sure everything is in order so that sales are not lost. This ensures items are found quickly and make it onto the sales floor to increase profits. Advance planning before the holiday rush hits will allow you to have all available sales power on the selling floor.

It’s not just about what they see: Remember that the experience your customer has inside your business is a multi-sensory experience. Remember that beyond visuals, the smell of the space and the sounds (including music) play an important role in a customer’s perception of your business. It is important that the space is free of any offensive odors (chemicals, overpowering perfumes, etc.). Scent is the sense most closely connected to emotion. Scents such as vanilla and spiced cider lean more gender neutral and will evoke nostalgia. Likewise, choose background music or background sounds that are appropriate and work to further the sensory experience you are trying to create. Make sure your displays are “Customer Friendly”:

In a creative business, we can often get so caught up designing something fabulous that the usability or more importantly “purchasability” of the items on display get overlooked. Be certain that items on your displays are easily accessible to customers so they are not left to wander aimlessly looking for items to purchase. Between cleverly organized merchandising and an attentive sales staff, that opportunity to increase sales should not be missed.

Create an experience: Part of providing outstanding customer service involves providing a total experience. It is all the more important in this day and age when we are hyperconnected electronically but lacking in human connections. Your customers also are seeking personal interaction and want to be treated like an individual and not a transaction. The holidays offer the perfect opportunity to deliver exceptional customer service and a truly memorable shopping experience. Create an outstanding experience with planning, thoughtfulness and imagination. Staff should welcome customers and treat them as if they were guests in their own homes. Be sure all shoppers receive a friendly holiday continued on page 14 

12 october 2 011

western retailer

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


Ralph? Yes, Marvin

Are we alone out here?

No Marv, we’ve got your back

RETAILERS HELPING RETAILERS est.1944

Western Home Furnishings Association

Western Home Furnishings Association • www.whfa.org • 1-800-422-3778


Old World Holiday, Retro Holiday, Whimsical Holiday, Uber Chic Holiday and everything in between available to us. Give some serious thought to what type of holiday merchandising reinforces your image and will speak to your target market. Some retail locations are very style specific and will be attracting customers looking for holiday accessories that correspond to that look so be sure to be able to meet those needs. If you sell multiple design styles in your store, then you will want to support those styles and have multiple options for holiday styling as well.

Make it count: Don’t underestimate the power of a phenomenal display. When crafting holiday displays with your accessories go for the “Wow” factor. Use multiples to make an impact. Instead of showing one large vase filled with decorative glass ornaments on a dining table, display three. This will not only be the show-stopper you were hoping for but it can encourage your customer to choose to purchase three vases instead of one. Get creative: Give some thought

continued from page 12

A Sensory Experience greeting and, if appropriate, are offered a cappuccino or hot cocoa. Walk them to the door and offer a sincere expression of thanks when they leave the store with their purchases and don’t forget to invite them back. These small gestures will make them feel special, and let them know that you appreciate their business. Most importantly, have employees in place that are well trained, empowered and believe in the importance of delivering exceptional experiences to build customer loyalty.

Showcase multiple styles: Today there is a much broader selection of styles for holiday accessories. We have 14 october 2 011

create that feeling in their own home. Merchandising that paints a portrait of an inspirational lifestyle is incredibly effective.

Don’t overlook the value of the gift certificate: Gift certificates are

a popular add-on gift that can greatly impact your bottom line. Have a system in place that makes the process of purchasing gift cards or certificates quick and easy. They are particularly appealing to the time-strapped shopper so be sure to have them readily available and displayed prominently near the cash register for last minute purchases. Remember your goal is to create a multisensory experience that evokes emotions and promotes sales. Create a happy holiday mood and festive atmosphere in your store and enjoy a little extra jingle in your pocket. The importance of retail aesthetics cannot be overstated. Consider appearance, feeling and aroma as these are important and influential factors when people are making decisions on how and where to spend their holiday budget.

to how you can design displays and merchandise to showcase everyday items and feature them as the perfect holiday gift. Consider assembling unique combinations of merchandise as well. A great example is to pair smaller ticket items that when put together make a unique gift. You might also consider creating a Christmas tree shape out of stacked storage ottomans or hang table lamps upside down from the ceiling with bows on them. Look at easy-to-add items and consider how they can enhance displays to be visually interesting. Give your customer a reason to consider it as a gift item or decide it’s something they must have.

René Johnston-Gingrich is vice president of training development for the Profitability Consulting Group, specializing in delivering the programs Design Trac: Design Skills for Retail Sales People and Sales Trac III: In Home Selling. Rene’ has owned and operated an interior design firm for 17 years and now works with organizations to ensure they have the best possible team environment. Rene’ is a regular columnist for The Lewiston Tribune Business Profile and an adjunct faculty member of Lewis-Clark State College’s Business Division. Rene’ has a Bachelor of Fine Arts Degree in Interior Planning and Design and a Master’s Degree in Adult Education and Human Resource Development. She can be contacted at reneg@profitabilityconsulting.com.

Sell lifestyle: Combine holiday

accessories and everyday accessories in such a way that it evokes a sense of personal style. Customers want to experience the lifestyle that a certain vignette conveys. This draws them into the experience and entices them to make purchases that will help them to

western retailer

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 

 

14 Tips to Help Your Customers ‘Tis the season for joy, laughter, and holiday guests. Help your customers prepare their guestrooms and be the best holiday hosts. Customer always appreciate ideas on how to make their house feel like home—share these 14 tips with them and their houses will feel like home to their guests as well!  Replace accent pillows with a seasonal design.  Additional luxuries like robes and slippers will keep guests warm and fuzzy.  Add a luggage rack to the guestroom. It’s much easier for guests to unpack. ❹ Santa’s not the only one who likes cookies. Guests will enjoy a sweet taste before retiring and it is a nice touch to make guests feel welcomed. ❺ A water decanter is a nice touch on the nightstand. Add some orange slices to give it a seasonal flavor. ❻ Include a nightlight in the room, so your guests don’t stumble in the dark. The aspenhome collection features built-in nightlights for ease of use. ❼ Change the picture hanging over the bed to a fresh evergreen wreath. It adds a nice fragrance to the room and says welcome. ❽ Leave a greeting card or two for your guests, and remind them how glad you are they are visiting. ❾ Bath accessories are always appreciated. Save small travel amenities to use when guest come or purchase special seasonal ones. Fill a stocking with everything to make your guest comfortable. ❿ Guest love seeing old photos of a previous visit or a special memory. Place them on the dresser or nightstand. ❿ Big ornaments on shelves and holiday phrases will spread cheer. ❿ A musical snow globe adds a soothing seasonal sound. ❿ A small tree with treats is fun and appealing. ❿ If you’ve got stored personal items in the dresser drawer, clear the top two or three drawers for guests. These tips have been provided by aspenhome® and their annual, interactive Holiday Room. To view these tips close up and click around, visit http://aspenhome.net/companyscoming. The image featured in this article is aspenhome’s Centennial Collection.


Industry Dates October 22–27, 2011 High Point Market High Point, NC www.highpointmarket.org Future Dates: April 21-26, 2012

November 2–3, 2011 Karel Expo Long Beach, CA www.kemexpo.com

January 30–February 3, 2012 Las Vegas Market Las Vegas, NV www.lasvegasmarket.com

May 6–8, 2012

Home Furnishings Industry Conference HFIC—Palm Springs, California www.homefurnishingsconference.com


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A new online selling skills module, Setting and Achieving Sales Goals, is now available on the Furniture Training Company’s subscription web site. This module teaches goal setting based on the idea “desire is the turning point of all... Read more

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Outdoor living is synonymous with California lifestyle. With 260 days of sunshine on average, Californians have extended their homes by creating outdoor living spaces to entertain and relax... Read more

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Building Holiday Traditions The holidays are a time for family and friends to gather and celebrate with each other. There is a feeling of warmth and happiness. It is a time for parties and events. Learn how two retailers have transformed this warm and festive season into memorable events and inviting décor in their showrooms. By Melissa Dressler High Fashion Holiday Style High-end home furnishings store C.S. Wo & Sons in Honolulu, Hawaii and Costa Mesa, Calif., has found a unique way to showcase high fashion holiday style in their showrooms. Their flagship location in Honolulu features a stunning display of holiday trees filled with gold ornaments and cherubs. A 14-foot tree can be found in the three-story atrium in the center of the showroom. Floating down the three-story atrium are 10, life-size cherubs, all carrying green-lit boughs toward the 14-foot tree.

baked cookies and coffee. C.S. Wo offers customers a variety of seasonal merchandise to purchase, “We have many holiday items for sale including a variety of lit trees, Santas, angels, elves, ornaments, poinsettias, potpourri, holiday candles and Christmas CDs,” said Wendell Wo, owner, and Brad Harris, division manager. “We have Christmas items spread throughout the store and transform our 2,000 square foot accent gallery into a Christmas shop.”

The elegant décor continues with smaller lit trees throughout the showroom and green lit wreaths with gold-wired ribbon on all of the windows. Retail items are added to the tree displays and are displayed based on the color and style of the area. If it is a contemporary venue, then the trees are decorated with contemporary accessories.

Twelve years ago, C.S. Wo contacted island-newcomer Neiman Marcus to see if they were interested in partnering on a holiday event. Neiman Marcus agreed since they were new to Honolulu and C.S. Wo had a similar clientele. Since then, a beautiful partnership has been formed for the annual C.S. Wo holiday party. “We are very lucky to have the partnership with Neiman’s,” Wendell said. “After the success of the first year, they wanted to do it again, which is rare

Customers are greeted with the sounds of holiday music while smelling fresh20 october 2 011

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for Neiman’s to host events outside of their store. They said our event was a first-class event, and they liked how we portrayed them. Neiman’s also saw many of our clients from the party visit their store to purchase the displays that they had seen in our showroom.” Today, the team at Neiman Marcus comes up with a theme for the holiday dining settings. Two weeks prior to the event, Neiman Marcus comes into C.S. Wo to set up eight, themed dining settings, which includes fresh flowers and fruits, their latest china patterns, crystal and silverware. One of the past themes was the Seven Deadly Sins with each dining table displayed to portray one of the seven sins. The Saturday prior to Thanksgiving, the store is closed for a private event for C.S. Wo’s top 10 percent of customers (customers have to have spent a certain dollar amount in the store over the last five years).

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F u n F a c t s a b o u t C .S. Wo & Sons •  The Chinese New Year event has featured the designs of: Shanghai Tang, Colleen Quen Couture and Anne Namba. •  At its peak, 1,000 guests attended the holiday party. Now it’s about 650 attendees.

The evening is meant to be a thank you to these customers, giving them the opportunity to view the gorgeous dining sets provided by Neiman Marcus as well as enjoy the elegant holiday atmosphere that has been created within the showroom. Small but dramatic touches, such as suggesting Judith Leiber crystal clutches as favors, or using Monolo Blahnik shoes for drinking vessels always makes for a memorable evening. “We have food stations serving gourmet dishes, a martini bar and two full service bars in the showroom,” Wendell and Brad said. “There is a fashion show during the event with models showing the latest styles from Neiman Marcus.” Diamond Head Theatre’s childrens’ performing group called Shooting Stars sings carols throughout the showroom and a high school quintet performs in the center of the store. The following day, C.S. Wo opens its doors to the rest of their customers. They send out an invitation and run a full page ad in the newspaper featuring the new Neiman’s displays. This day has turned into a popular day for C.S. Wo with customers purchasing holiday items, and has also helped Neiman Marcus sell the specialty items that are

•  Wendell’s nieces and nephews perform in both the Shooting Stars Youth Group & high school quintet. •  All holiday décor for both stores is set up prior to their trip to High Point Market.

displayed in C.S. Wo & Sons. The lavish Christmas party isn’t the only event C.S. Wo is known for. Their annual Chinese New Year’s event is a popular event for their clientele. The showroom is turned into a colorful display with strings of large, authentic golden lanterns that hang throughout the store. The evening focuses around a featured Asian (or Asian-inspired) designer and artist, with an area set up to display about 10 fashion outfits on mannequins and 30-40 pieces of artwork on easels. “During this event, we have food cooking stations featuring Asian specialties such as suckling pig on buns, Thai curry chicken, Vietnamese soup and Korean spicy ribs. We also feature two open bars and a sake bar. Calligraphers and a fortune teller are stationed around the store for entertainment,” said Wendell and Brad. “About halfway through the evening, we start a fashion show that has models

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•  http://cswoandsons.com/ coming down the three flights of stairs in the building’s atrium. A troupe of 10 Chinese Lion Dancers follow the final set of models down the stairway and allow guests to ‘feed’ money to the lion for good luck.” C.S. Wo created the two events as a way to say thank you to their customers, but over the years have found that these events are a great way to promote specific products: holiday décor during Christmas and antiques during the Chinese New Year. Both events incorporate high fashion and style that has become synonymous with C.S. Wo & Sons.

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F u n F a c t s F rom T he O ld C a n n e r y Warehouse •  They go through 10,000 coffee cups during the Bridge Lighting. •  Planning for Santa Land starts right after Christmas, with the bulk of it happening in June. •  The oldest elf is 25. She loves it so much she keeps asking to work the event. •  The store has seven scale miles of train tracks throughout the store. •  The Old Cannery Warehouse actually used to be a cannery! •  www.oldcanneryfurniture.com

Creating Lifelong Memories The residents of Sumner, Wash., can always count on The Old Cannery Warehouse to provide them with great holiday memories. The 10-acre warehouse furniture store hosts fun and entertaining events throughout the year to thank the community for their support. The holiday season is no different, and starts in early October when the entire showroom is transformed into a fall harvest. The Old Cannery Warehouse receives cornhusks and pumpkins from local pumpkin farms to decorate the showroom. The center of the store features a blow-up haunted house for children to walk through. At the very end, each child receives a free pumpkin to take home. “We want to make the store as fun as possible for the kids,” said The Old Cannery’s Events and Promotions Coordinator, Jackie Shaffer. The holiday fun continues the day after Thanksgiving with The Old Cannery’s annual bridge lighting. “We put 10,000 white lights all over an antique bridge from the 1920s that is in our parking lot, and at 5 p.m. we have a countdown to the lighting of the bridge,” Jackie said. Starting 12 years ago, attending the annual bridge lighting has become a tradition for many families in Sumner and the surrounding communities. Contact WHFA at www.WHFA.org or (800) 422-3778

Tips You Can Use •  Tell a story with your holiday design. Make sure the decoration fits within your store or a vignette style—you don’t want customers thinking you used leftover holiday decorations in the store. •  If you don’t offer cookies during the rest of the year, do it now. Nothing says holidays like fresh-baked cookies! •  Don’t want to focus on a specific holiday? Create a Winter Wonderland in your store. Add faux snow to displays, “frost” your front windows and dress up displays with sleds and boots. Warm up customers with cups of hot cocoa while they listen to wintery music. Or if you already live in a Winter Wonderland, create a “Dreaming for the Beach” atmosphere. •  Feeling a bit like a Grinch? Make a theme   out of it!

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The event has grown from 500 attendees the first year, to over 5,000 last year. “It has become a tradition for customers that know our store. They will do all of their shopping during the day, and then by five, they come in to watch the bridge lighting. It is a fun, family atmosphere and really has that ‘hometown’ feeling,” mentioned Jackie. During the day of the bridge lighting, local vendors set up booths in the parking lot to sell items, and the Old Cannery provides roasted nuts, hot chocolate and coffee to keep attendees warm and happy. At 5 p.m., Santa, the mayor, the head of the Chamber of Commerce, and The Old Cannery CEO David Radcliff, are hoisted up into a lift above everyone to start the event. From the lift, they sing carols into microphones and they lead the countdown for the bridge lighting. Once the bridge is glowing, a firework show, hosted by Heritage Bank of Sumner, delights the attendees and helps them ring in the Christmas holiday season. Along with the bridge lighting, one area of The Old Cannery Warehouse is transformed in Santa Land. Starting the day after Thanksgiving, customers can have a free photo taken with Santa. Santa Land is decorated to the nines with holiday-themed items and makes children feel like they have been transported to the North Pole. “We have the best Santa in the world—not only does he take a photo with each child, but he will stop and ask if the child has been good and what he or she might want for Christmas,” said Jackie. “I also hire elves to help Santa out every year. They lead the child from the line, up to Santa. It is really more than just taking a picture, it is creating a moment.” 24 october 2 011

Customers are willing to wait in line for sometimes up to an hour for this special moment. Once children are done talking to Santa, they walk through an archway, then over a chocolate river where they can take some candy. At the very end, another elf greets the children and hands them a balloon and their picture with Santa. Two weeks prior to Christmas, oldfashioned, horse-drawn carriages are available to take customers for free rides around the outside of the warehouse. Customers might occasionally see a holiday mascot roaming the aisles as well—Frosty the Snowman has been known to make an appearance or two before Christmas and gives kids high fives throughout the store. “All of our holiday events and décor are geared around families and children,” Jackie said. We aren’t trying to get people into our store to just shop— it’s our way of giving back to the community and creating memories for future generations. We have been here for 25 years, and the community has been good to us. In turn, we want to always give back to them.”

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


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

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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; for retailers and by retailers.

FOR 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. FOR 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.

Join Us call (800) 422-3778 or www.whfa.org western retailer

26 october 2 011

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


MemberMarketplace Exclusive WHFA programs to protect your business and employees “The Argo Select program through WHFA has allowed us to work with our local agent while still receiving a quote that is substantially lower than what I was paying. I recommend everyone get a quote on insurances through Argo. The service and pricing has been outstanding for us.” —Dave Harkness, Harkness Furniture, Tacoma, WA

Health Insurance

Business Insurance In-Store Financing

WHFA has one of the strongest business insurance programs specifically for furniture GE Money has been designed a retail credit provider retailers for over through Argo Select. With over 40 of experience, 60 years, offering a full complementyears of financing Argo Selecttooffers and home solid financial programs meet industry the needsexperience of the diverse protection. furnishings industry. WHFA has a tenured client relationship team That specialized in servicing our members. Receive Coverage Includes: • Customization to fit your individual store needs • Property, Liability, Auto, Workers’ Compensation (outside of California), Employment Practices Liability Insurance and Ocean Cargo

Ahh-choo! If you want sales to come in, you need salespeople to do it. Keeping your employees healthy is vital for a successful business. As an employer in this competitive marketplace, it is important to offer an attractive benefit package to employees. WHFA’s Health Insurance program through Aita and Associates allows you to create a costeffective health insurance package to keep your employees healthy and ready to sell. • Medical • Dental

Call for A e v Competiti Quote!

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• Optional Life • Long-term Care • Medicare

Prescription Drug Discount Cards

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You and your employees can save money on many popular prescription drugs with the RX Saver Card program. This card is FREE for all WHFA members, and allows you to receive discounts on many FDA approved brand name and prescription drugs. You are guaranteed the lowest price available for generic and brand prescription medications at over 55,000 network pharmacies.

Protect your business in case one of your employees gets injured! Without adequate workers’ compensation insurance the employer is exposed to two types of risk. First, if an employee is injured on the job, the employer may be held personally liable for both the cost of their medical care and for the lost wages while the employee is unable to work. Second, many states impose strict fines and penalties for employers who are cited for not having the required insurance.

• 70% savings on many generic medications. • 8 out of 10 pharmacies nationwide accept your savings card. • No enrollment form and no membership fee. • Available to use immediately. • This card is not insurance.

WHFA’s Workers’ Comp Program Offers: • Competitive Insurance Rates

• Quotes from a variety of “A” carriers such as: Fireman’s Fund, Safeco, Golden Ealge, CNA and California State Compensation Insurance Fund.

at (800) ry HFA office Call the Wr your complimenta fo s. 8 7 rd 7 a 422-3 cription Drug C Pres

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28 october 2 011

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FOCUS On the 4th QUARTER for a Fantastic Finish By Philip Gutsell

Thus far, 2011 has been another challenging year for retail home furnishings stores. With market volatility, high unemployment, more government regulation and skittish shoppers, what’s a retailer to do? As a retail consultant and high impact sales event specialist, I consult retailers throughout North America that continue to get solid results during these challenging times. I have six recommendations on strategies and promotions that can give you an incredible sales boost in spite of these uncontrollable factors. Even if real “unemployment” is close to 20 percent in your market, stop worrying about it. Start focusing on what you can do with the 80 percent that can buy. Focus on the fourth quarter and finish the year fantastically.  Review all your key statistics. What are your sales results thus far? Are you treading water, in the red or in the black? Is your volume stable or in a yo-yo sequence? What is your traffic count? Where is your average ticket? Are your margins steady? What are your closing ratios? How is your inventory mix? Are your key price points and hot sellers in stock? Walk through your entire operation, both display area and the warehouse area, with a legal notepad and start writing down specific parts that need change or improvement. You will be amazed by what you will uncover with a simple walk through. Grade your inventory by age and turnover. You will see money and opportunity lying all over your operation. Prepare to mark down your inventory with the oldest items getting the maximum mark downs. Remember, you do not have to mark down best sellers unless you advertise that everything is marked down. They sell themselves! If you do advertise “everything marked down” mark down your top categories only slightly and do it in dollars rather than straight percentages.  Review your marketing strategy. What advertising is giving you the biggest bang for your buck? Remember doing the same thing over and over and expecting different results is the definition of insanity. How long has it been since you have had a preferred customer mailer? At a minimum you should be mailing to your preferred customers at least once a quarter. Remember these are people that already love you. You need to invite them in for special events. There is still time to get two mailers in before the end of the year. I will discuss more about this later.  Get out your calendar and look at the key retail dates in the final quarter. Black Friday is and should be targeted for an extra push. December 26 is another strong day to promote along with the entire last week of December. Be sure to consider opening on New Year’s Day. It is either a great day to finish your fourth quarter or kick off the next year.  When was the last time you had a major high impact sales event? If you cannot remember then it’s high time to plan one. If you recently have had one, do something creative before your next dramatic event like a bonus or employee discount sale.

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SALES & MARKETING

Make sure you choose a good reason. My three favorite reasons are: Remerchandising, Remodeling or Reorganizing. By remerchandising, I mean changing your line up or vendors. Many retailers have been forced to create entire new line ups due to the demise of several major manufacturers. This is a huge opportunity. Have a major event announcing you are clearing out this inventory. Refrain from stressing the new inventory until after you complete the close-out of the discontinued inventory. Too many retailers talk about the new improved changes they are making instead of focusing on the close-outs today. Besides once you have completed the close-out event, you can then celebrate with a New Product Inventory Event highlighting your new line up. With very few exceptions, most retailers could find an area of the operation that needs remodeling. This is also a tremendous reason for a major sales event. You must make room for the contractors. Therefore a large portion of your inventory must be sold immediately. Remodeling by its very nature has a very positive impact on your store. In the height of the recession, we conducted a remodeling sale for a two-year-old store in the state of Michigan and more than doubled their sales while maintaining margins. Our client was so delighted with results that he is having us conduct another remodeling sale this year. The reason is slightly modified. We are expanding and remodeling into his warehouse. Obviously we have to clear out the entire current warehouse inventory to make room. It clearly says you are here for the long run while many of your competitors are shutting down. This option also sets up two follow-up events: Clearance Sales and a Pardon our Dust Sale. My recommendation is do not physically start remodeling during your clearance phase. After the clearance is completed have a “Pardon Our Dust (or Paint)” event. Once that is completed you, of course, should have your Re-Grand Opening again. Reorganizing occurs less often in the lifecycle of stores but circumstances may demand it. It may be time for senior ownership to retire and hand over the reins to the next generation. Run a retirement sale celebrating the change in management. The numbers from retirement events can be extraordinary and can run for the entire fourth quarter with strategic planning. Under other unusual circumstances, I had a client who received a store in a divorce settlement. Rather than have a divorce sale, we conducted a hugely successful partnership buy-out to maintain the integrity of the store. Some of your competitors may be deciding to retire. This could be an exceptional opportunity to either buy them out or move into their location subject to your real estate issues.

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 Once you have decided on your reason, return to your calendar and begin looking at both the public kick-off and finish dates. Suppose you wanted to start your major event on Black Friday and finish your event on New Year’s Day. I would back track on the calendar and then plan my preferred customer event for the weekend prior to Black Friday. If your reason is one of the three R’s above, consider a demographic mailing list that reflects your preferred list by income and location and have at least two mailings prior to Black Friday. Run the public announcement starting on the Friday after Thanksgiving all the way through Christmas. Be sure to offer weekly merchandising specials or additional markdowns to keep momentum going. While the week before Christmas can be challenging, consider another mailer to your private list the week after Christmas announcing the final days. Consider using the demographic list as well, subject to your previous turns. Generally, I would only use a demographic list twice a year unless your reason is one of the big three.  Last but not least, re-energize your sales team. Give them an intense tune up sales meeting prior to kicking off your focus on the fourth quarter. Remind them they don’t need to sell the best sellers nor the biggest discounted items as I mentioned in my first recommendation since they sell themselves. However, your staff is needed to sell all the other merchandise. Many of my clients actually close their stores to fully prepare their sales teams for the big event. We even mention in our private mailers and teaser ads proclaiming they will be closed for preparation just prior to the event. You can have the best merchandising and the most dynamic advertising, and if your sales crew is not psyched up about the event, you are leaving out the most important ingredient. Focus on the fourth quarter and you can make 2011 a fantastic finish! Philip M. Gutsell is president and owner of GutSELL & Associates. His expert consulting business is known and widely acclaimed for increasing profitability for big ticket retailers and putting them on the road to growth. Gutsell is a dynamic and motivational speaker. In addition, he serves as a featured seminar speaker for the National Home Furnishings Association, Western Home Furnishings Association, North American Retail Dealers Association, Home Furnishings International Association, Brand Source Associated Volume Buyers and numerous other associations. He has trained thousands of salespeople through his course “GutSELLing: From the Customer’s Point of View” which is now available on a 4 CD audio set. He also publishes GutSELLing Techniques, a weekly email service to continuously improve retail professionals’ sales skills. A graduate of DePaul University, Phil and his family reside in Chicago. Phil will be speaking at the High Point Market on October 22nd at 8:30 am where he will be presenting “Eight Great Closings”.

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Building Strong and Reliable Hiring Practices It’s Important to Hire the Right People By Eric Martin

Improving your company’s recruiting and hiring processes is a good idea in any economy. Good hiring practices lead to a more productive workforce and correlates with increased revenues and profitability. Other positive by-products include less employee turnover and reduced legal exposure from complaints of discriminatory hiring practices or unlawful termination.

become mainstream for HR managers, and scanning social networking sites for applicant profile information has become standard.

Today’s economic climate also naturally compels businesses to explore innovative and more efficient methods to improve their hiring systems. Employers continue to be acutely aware that the financial consequences of making a “bad hire” are far greater today than in the past.

Possibly the most overlooked hiring essential, with the greatest potential impact, is developing accurate and up-to-date job descriptions. It is difficult to select the right candidate without details on the skills and functions necessary to perform the job. Unfortunately, small businesses often neglect this essential due to minimal staffing levels or simply not having job description development experience in-house.

While hiring technology continues to advance, there is still no better way to improve recruitment and hiring systems than simply fixing the fundamentals. Effective job descriptions, job analysis, updated applications for employment, offer of employment letters, effective interviewing techniques, and reference and background checks still remain the key hiring and retention tools for employers.

Employers get more than they pay for—or less Remember that job descriptions are not just valuable for hiring, but than they pay for—depending on how well additionally for support with workers compensation and modified duty they hire. Using the “economic value of job issues and reasonable accommodation requests from existing employees performance” curve, the “value” an employee or job candidates. Simply put, failing to create or maintain proper job creates for their employer over time is actually descriptions hinders effective hiring and usually leads to even larger HR measureable. Imagine a company hiring a high headaches. performing, extremely dedicated and skilled employee with a total compensation package Maintaining updated employment applications and of $65,000 annually. Let’s assume the business “sourced” the right applicants employment offer letters are extremely important, as they and candidates and made a good hiring help defend against discrimination and other employment decision. After developing additional skills to perform at an even higher level, the claims. Creating and maintaining a standardized offer letter new hire actually contributes value to the with a properly drafted at-will clause is essential. company of $100,000 per annum. Conversely, visualize a competitor with weak recruiting or hiring practices. This company sourced lesser-qualified candidates, did not perform effective interviews, and then hired a candidate for the same position with the same annual compensation package. However, this employee truly did not posses the skills, background experience or behavioral traits best suited for the position and ultimately became an under performing employee. The second employee in this example effectively yielded a contribution to this business “valued” at $45,000 annually. As it has since the late 1990s, technology continues to change the employment hiring landscape. Companies of all sizes have easy access to recruiting and hiring software, online service providers, applicant tracking “solutions”, or other hiring “tools” that can help streamline the process. Technological terms today, such as “Internet applicant” and “smart hiring”, have

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An additional piece to building a top performing hiring system is knowing how to read resumes effectively to determine which candidates meet basic job requirements. This requires experience and a critical eye for pertinent information. Since it is estimated that 30-45 percent of all resumes contain omissions or fabrications, a skilled resume reader can key on the areas where most applicants fudge the data and quickly screen out flawed candidates. Skilled interviewing begins with understanding the hiring criteria. Interview questions should be based on job requirements and relevant work history. Focusing on the applicant’s prior work experiences and behaviors—rather than on the applicant’s behavior during the interview—should be a goal. The person performing the interview must have knowledge of what can and cannot be asked in the interview to avoid potentially discriminatory questions. Questions should be framed so that the candidate’s answers are measureable in terms of the company’s needs. Questions like, “How did your job function change while you were in the position at your former employer?” or “What are your strengths and how do they relate to our company?” usually allow the candidate to do most of the talking and the interviewer can learn much more about their potential fit with the business.

western retailer

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


Finally, the potential for liability is increasing from new technologies being utilized in hiring process. Screening and background checks are increasingly being scrutinized for discriminatory impact, and many states are imposing additional employer requirements including E-Verify and credit checks. Federal enforcement agencies such as the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC) are becoming increasingly vigilant in prosecuting discriminatory hiring practices. Employers must regularly review their processes to insure compliance with the rapidly changing laws and regulations governing this area. One simple but effective way to screen applicants is to check all references. Oftentimes, applicants either misrepresent or even fabricate their references, knowing that employers often fail to check. References can also provide information that is helpful in determining whether a candidate is the right fit for a position.

Forward thinking employers should strive to increase the sophistication of their recruiting and hiring systems to avoid bad hires and find excellent future employees. When the productivity and contributions of new hires provide your business with more value than expected, it establishes a key cornerstone for future success. This article has been prepared for educational and informational purposes only and does not constitute specific legal advice. Individual circumstances may limit or modify this information. Transmission of this article is not intended to create, and receipt does not constitute, an attorney-client relationship between the author and the reader.

Eric Martin, MBA, is a Senior Vice President at American Consulting Group, Mission Viejo, CA, which assists organizations on a broad range of human resources, employee relations, and workplace safety compliance issues. A Senior Consultant with the company’s HR and Safety Advisory Group, he has also helped hundreds of small and medium-size companies with issues such as wage and hour compliance, leaves of absence administration, management training, and employee handbook development, among other areas. He can be reached at (949) 452-1840 x237

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

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Specialists in Residential Interior Design™

2012 IDS Designer of the Year WHY YOU SHOULD ENTER:

Interior Design Credibility - Enhances your professional image with customers Design Recognition – Full-color 16 page Portfolio recognizing all winners Sense of accomplishment – An outlet to demonstrate outstanding work

Window Treatment:

Kitchens: Baths: Bedrooms: Living Spaces: Specialty Areas:

Top Treatment Full Treatment Decorative Hardware

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49,999 & under $50,000 & above $14,999 & under $15,000 & above $19,999 & under $20,000 & above $29,999 & under $30,000 & above including media rooms, game rooms, home offices, outdoor rooms, wine cellars, laundry, sunrooms

For more information and application packet visit: www.interiordesignsociety.org


The Value of Honoring Employees

Nominate Your Designers for the IDS DotY Award

Everyone likes a pat on the back for a job well done. When times get tough, these acknowledgements are even more important. Honoring employees lets them know their work is appreciated and motivates them to work harder. The Interior Design Society Designer of the Year award is a great way to showcase a designer’s hard work and show them that they are important to you and your business.

Check out the articles   on Nicole’s designs: http://tinyurl.com/IDSdoty1 http://tinyurl.com/IDSdoty2

With so many opportunities, challenges and global changes in your daily decision making process, you may still be asking yourself, “What’s in it for me?” Here are six reasons to enter your designers into the 2012 IDS Designer of the Year Award competition.  Bragging rights— Have you ever gone into a restaurant with a Zagat rating? Now that’s bragging rights—on the front door. Winning a design competition is like getting a Zagat rating. It speaks highly of your store, the quality of the store’s furnishings and the talent of your staff. Plus, New American Luxury will feature the 2012 IDS DotY winners in their February issue. Winning is priceless.  Increased visibility— A picture is worth a thousand words. How true it is—this axiom may be more accurate in interior design today than other advertising venues. Imagine being recognized by your peers, your local newspaper and your customers.  Increased creditability— Just ask Nicole Yee, an interior designer from San Francisco, California. As a result of winning the 2010 IDS Designer of the Year - Kitchens under $19,999 category, her entry was shown in the September 2011 issues of Women’s Day Remodeling & Makeover and Small Room Decorating. In Nicole’s words, “Winning the IDS DotY competition gave me the credentials and confidence to submit my work to other publications.”  Design recognition— What better way to receive recognition than to be selected by your peers and be recognized as the top of the field among your peers.  Sense of accomplishment— Everyone wins! Presenting a professional portfolio for a beautiful room design develops a sense of pride and satisfaction for the designer, photographer, and client alike.  I don’t think my designers can win? You won’t know unless you try.

Visit http://tinyurl.com/DOTYpacket to download the 2011 IDS Designer of the Year Competition Packet. Not interested in entering this year? You can still that advantage of IDS memberships for Home Furnishings Retail Stores, designers, and sales specialist. Join as an IDS Retail Furniture for $150 then receive big discounts on IDS Individual memberships for designers and sales specialist. You also receive discounts on webinars and design products. Contact Bonnie Hair, IDS Membership Representative (888) 884-4469 or bhair@interiordesignsociety.org.

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

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Sell What Your Customers Want to Buy By Shirley Griffiths

It seems like a simple idea: retailers succeed by selling what their customers want or need to buy. What’s not so simple, however, is learning exactly what customers want to buy and ensuring that it’s in your store. Fortunately, while the Internet has changed shopping habits, it has also given retailers tools that provide insight to shopping attitudes, trends and behaviors. In recent issues, we’ve discussed how to get to know your shoppers—online and in the store—and how to determine which offers are most effective with them. Now, we want to focus on your product line-up and how you can use information gathered online to help plan and manage your inventory and customer expectations.

Evaluate Broad Trends In an analysis of data gathered from the Banner Marketing Webstore Statistical Reporting Tool for the first six months of this year, we found that certain product categories led search results. For instance, the bedroom category received nearly 50,000 hits, and 14 bedroom sets were among the 50 most popular products for the period. The living room category followed with nearly 40,000 hits and 15 living room sets of the most popular 50 products in the same period. Other categories, such as dining and kitchen, leather, kids’ furniture and recliners, lagged far behind. This broad data provides a glimpse into trending consumer preferences. The majority of bedroom and living room products viewed were products sold as sets, providing shoppers with a couple of distinct benefits. First, an entire look for a room could be achieved with one purchase, simplifying the home decorating process. Second, and perhaps more important given the economy, consumers may feel they are getting more for their money than if they were to buy piece by piece. As a result, retailers might consider how they can package less popular items or highlight other groupings to provide similar value.

Trends Guide a Product Mix Knowing which product categories consumers are emphasizing also helps retailers focus their resources. If it appears that customers are seeking sanctuary or comfort in tough economic times, then carrying well-priced bedroom and living room sets may help retailers fill this emotional


need. If economic times are booming, dining sets and luxury pieces may start becoming more important as consumers ramp up home entertaining. Retailers also should use available website tracking tools to see which products are most—and least—viewed on their own webstores. The webstore may be the first step in a shopper’s search, so products must be presented well. According to a 2009 study by Forrester Research on behalf of Akamai, 27 percent of shoppers who have a poor website experience are less likely to buy from that retailer offline. Capture your shoppers’ attention with images and with meaningful content that gets shoppers engaged and interested in the products.

Track It, Track It, Track It Tracking the products that consumers search for should be a consistent effort. Monitoring popular products over time can provide retailers with some seasonal trends for which they can prepare. For instance, retailers may find that dining sets are viewed much more frequently in early fall as families begin to plan for the holiday meals and gatherings ahead. Retailers can

Prevent fines of up to $17,000

stock their showrooms with merchandise ahead of the trend to meet anticipated demand. By tracking individual and industry trends in popular products, furniture dealers can anticipate customer needs and stock a more appealing inventory of products. Knowing which products are least compelling can also help retailers focus their efforts on more lucrative areas for better sales results. Shirley Griffiths, the vice president of sales, is one of Banner Marketing’s longest tenured employees with 12 years of experience with the integrated marketing company. Griffiths is responsible for overseeing Banner’s sales, creative and operations departments. She can be reached at shirleyg@bannerretail.com or (800) 843-9271. Banner Marketing helps businesses grow through integrated marketing; a combination of digital and traditional marketing strategies that reach a company’s key consumers and inspire them to buy. In business since 1983 and based in Spokane, Wash., Banner develops creative content to support its client’s brands—from traditional circulars to cutting edge websites— keeps that content up-to-date, tracks program results, and provides reporting to refine and adjust strategies for even greater success.

whfa.org in the store

Order Your Federal & State Employee Labor Law Poster Today • Includes all federal and state labor laws on one compact 38” x 24” poster. • FREE 12 month automatic compliance subscription provides you with easy attachment panels keeping you current with all state and federal changes. • Poster serial number registered to prove compliance. • Quality laminate and fade resistant inks for long-lasting wear.

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USING SOCIAL MEDIA

Social Lingo YouTube is a great way to share your television ads and funny promos to a captive online audience. Here is the lingo to keep you in the loop on YouTube.

YouTube • Channel: Just like a television station, each profile has a channel of videos they have uploaded. It is the home page for your account and you can view a listing of your videos, profile, subscriber, friend information as well as comments that you have received on the channel.

• Subscriptions: When you subscribe to someone, you are constantly updated on which of your favorites (the people you subscribe to) has uploaded a new video.

• Insight: Each YouTube video comes with analytics to the video. Through “Insight” you can see how many people have viewed the video, how they are finding it, where they are located and much more.

• Video Editor: YouTube allows you to easily edit your videos within the site. The Video Editor allows you to clip, add transitions and produce a great final product.

Advertisers Index

www.whfa.org

Please support the advertisers that support your magazine. Advertiser...............................................................Page................................ Phone/Website Diakon Logistics................................................................. 31........................................... (703) 530-0677 Emerald Home Furnishings................................................. 2............................................ (800) 685-6646 FurnitureDealer.net............................................................. 29........................................... (651) 287-0700 Furniture Wizard.............................................................25 & 33....................................... (619) 869-7200 GE Money........................................................................... 4............................................ (800) 422-3778 Home Furnishings Industry Conference . ........................... 9............................................ (800) 422-3778 IDS..................................................................................... 34........................................... (888) 884-4469 KEM- Karel Expo................................................................ 16........................................... (305) 792-9990 MicroD......................................................................... back cover.................................... (800) 964-3876 Planned Furniture Promotions............................................. 8............................................ (800) 472-5242 PROFITsystems ................................................................ 39........................................... (800) 888-5565 Showplace.......................................................................... 22...................www.showplace-highpoint.com Surya................................................................................... 7............................................ (877) 275-7847 Truckskin............................................................................ 31........................................... (877) 866-7546 www.WHFA.org.................................................................. 17........................................... (800) 422-3778 WHFA Membership & Awareness...................................13 & 26....................................... (800) 422-3778

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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. October 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.

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


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October 2011 Western Retailer