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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

JUNE 2011 AUGUST-SEPTEMBER 2011

California

Style

HE SHOPS SHE SHOPS

est.1944

Western Home Furnishings Association

www.WHFA.org


Fun

EMERALD HAD

AT LAS VEGAS MARKET NEW ADDITIONS

D756-10 Bellevue

D756-12 Bellevue

U3140 Erika U3167 Bellevue

www.emeraldhome.com

U1070 Kensington

U3167 Bellevue


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 DESIGN AND LAYOUT: Lisa Tilley................................................. ltilley@whfa.org

featured articles Out is IN

8

Las Vegas market Wrap Up & Photo Gallery

12

hE SHOPS, SHE SHOPS Differently

18

Managing the aging workforce Safety Spot

25

your Online reputation What Google Says Matters

26

National Home Furnishings Month Is it Home Yet?

29

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 SECRETARY Chuck Kill - Bedmart, Tucson, AZ.......................................................(520) 887-7039 EXECUTIVE COMMITTEE CHAIR Claudia LeClair - Fiesta Home Furnishings, Scottsdale, AZ...............(480) 951-3239 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 David Harkness - Harkness Furniture, Tacoma, WA...........................(253) 473-1234 WHFA Board Members

in every issue

Carol Bell - Contents, Tucson, AZ......................................................(520) 881-6900 Gene DeMeerleer - Furniture West, LaGrande, OR...........................(541) 963-5440

Member Profile: California Backyards . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 16

Chris Ehgoetz - Michael Alan, Lake Havasu City, AZ........................(928) 855-6067 Mark Flegel - Flegel’s Home Furniture, Menlo Park, CA....................(650) 326-9661 Greg Follett – Follett’s Furniture, Lewiston, ID...................................(208) 743-0177

Program of the Month: New Exclusive Program with Reputation Accelerator. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 23

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

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

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:

Mike Shuel - Meredith Furniture, Yakima, WA....................................(509) 452-6221 Tom Slater - Slater’s Home Furnishings, Modesto, CA......................(209) 522-9097

est.1944

Polly Teeter – Del-Teet, Bellevue, WA.................................................(425) 462-1500 WESTERN HOME FURNISHINGS ASSOCIATION STAFF

Western Home Furnishings Association

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

(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 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

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Cool New Site! The brand new WHFA website is up and running! Find out about membership programs, industry news, business resources and more. Visit the WHFA Store to purchase warehouse items, touchup and light bulb products, dollies, moving blankets and more...

our new website is

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Thank you to Grey Suit Retail for creating our great website and store. For more info, visit www.greysuitretail.com.


president’s MESSAGE

A

few years ago I read a book titled The Purple Cow. The author begins by giving this analogy: If you were used to seeing white cows with black spots you would not even notice them; however if you were to see a purple cow, now that would get your attention. The premise of the book is that we have to differentiate ourselves from the competition if we are going to be successful. If your advertising has gotten into a predictable pattern it is probably not as effective as you may think. From time to time, it is important to introduce a “purple cow” into your marketing strategy to catch your customer’s attention. But don’t just stop with your marketing strategy; look around your store and see if there are opportunities to introduce a new look to your merchandising displays. Maybe there are product lines that you have never carried—this might be the time to bring them into your store. As we evaluate our customers shopping patterns, it is important to try to stay in-sync with those new patterns. For example, this summer was no different than any other summer. Kids are out of school, families go on vacation and our customers go into a holding pattern when it comes to making a furniture purchase. But, today, many of our customers are spending more time at home and this provides an excellent opportunity for us to sell them that casual piece of furniture that they will need for their next party or gathering in their homes. Instead of traveling to a tropical local, many are opting to do “stay-cations” in their own backyards—and need furniture to furnish it.

Angel Lopez 2011 WHFA President

The backyard has become an extension of the house and offering new product lines to accommodate this customer could be beneficial for your store. This issue of Western Retailer focuses on the trend of “Out Is In” and will show you new trends in casual furniture and what your customer wants to create their backyard oasis.

Angel Lopez 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

JUNE 2011 August-September 2011

California

Style

ON THE COVER

HE SHOPS SHE SHOPS

Out is In Featuring California Backyards Photo from O.W. Lee For complete story, see page 16.

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editor’s MESSAGE Out is In OUT was definitely IN during the Summer Las Vegas Market. Outdoor casual furniture is one of the hottest products for consumers to buy right now. No longer wanting to take (or unable to afford) a vacation away from home or move into a larger home, consumers are expanding their living space by creating an outdoor oasis with outdoor casual furniture, rugs and accessories.

Melissa Dressler Western Retailer Managing Editor

These new outdoor living spaces are the prime place for customers to disconnect and come together with family and friends. As Tom Tapken, from this month’s member profile California Backyard, said, “Everything that we sell for an outdoor living space is sold to create togetherness in the family—this isn’t just decorating a room, it is creating the sense of family, togetherness and community.” During Market, I attended the First Look trends seminar hosted by Julie Smith Vincenti, Nine Muses Media, and Monica Pederson, HGTV, and the very first trend was outdoor living. Monica showed us video clips from a day she spent on the streets talking to customers in Chicago—the very first woman said her dream room to create and design would be her backyard (to read more about what Monica found out during her “Woman on the Street” interviews, read the article on page 15). Gone are the plastic patio sets of the past; today’s consumer wants to extend her living area with quality furniture that is made out of cast aluminum, wicker or wood and accessorize with rugs, pillows and color. Outdoor fabrics that are made to withstand the weather elements are also very popular. This month’s issue of Western Retailer looks at the “Out is In” trend and gives you tips on how to incorporate casual furniture into your store. I hope you take at least one idea away from this issue to help your customer create that backyard oasis she is looking for.

(916) 960-0385 MDressler@whfa.org

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Outdoor rooms continue to grow in popularity as the line between interior and exterior living blurs. Pictured: Castelle Jakarta Deep

By Laurie Rudd

Opportunities worth checking out abound for retailers looking to capture a piece of the over five billion dollar industry focused on furnishings for outdoor spaces. Creating outdoor rooms and decorating outdoor spaces with furnishings built for the out-ofdoors actually has been around for decades. However, today this popular consumer trend has reached a level of sophistication beyond anything consumers or retailers could have imagined. Estimated at over 5 billion dollars in retail sales, the casual marketplace offers a prime opportunity for traditional furnishings retailers. “Traditional furniture stores are benefitting through the introduction of casual furnishings not only with individual sales; but also as they are able to provide a complete living experience,� said Tami Newton, sales and marketing manager for wicker / rattan designer and manufacturer, Palm Springs Rattan and Garden Classics, Largo, Fla. As the line between interior and exterior living continues to blur; those retailers that embrace this concept could find themselves emerging as the destination for the total home. 8 august - september 2 011

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Acce impo living The Disn


FEATURE ARTICLE Trends for taking advantage of the opportunities the outdoor category holds span from construction to presentation. While known for taking a cue from the indoor category; casual furnishings also include a selection of trends that are uniquely “Out” there.

Construction Trends. From cast aluminum to wicker to wood, the prevailing trend in all outdoor construction relates to greater durability and maintaining lasting looks. Ranking just behind comfort, durability and ease of maintenance scored high in a 2010 outdoor living survey co-sponsored by HGTV that asked consumers what would entice them to spend more on outdoor furnishings. For the traditional furnishings retailer selecting the highest construction quality is key to success. High end options are available with durability and low maintenance features throughout. All-weather wicker construction is well known for delivering durability and ease of care in traditional pieces as well as the growing number of contemporary styles. A recent trend includes frosted colorations. Although natural and bright white pieces exist, oyster or frosted sea glass colored wicker currently are capturing attention. In metals, cast aluminum continues to provide superior outdoor life. However, with the rise in raw material costs, this category is being challenged. Options to attract today’s homeowners are being offered through the crafting of slender wrought aluminum designs as well as combining extruded aluminum and wood components resulting in attractive price points.

essories play an ortant roll in outdoor g. Pictured: Terrene from Rug Market America’s ney Resort line.

In wood, teak continues to be a luxury choice; but today’s excitement is found in looks that mirror fine interior furnishings. With elegantly carved details and all-weather wicker seat insets, pieces are being crafted for decor inside or out.

conversation seating options prime for creating eclectic groupings. Among dining seating, formal styling with single seat cushioning and decorative backs is continuing as a trend. In deep seating selections, curves rule. Crescent shaped sofas and love seats providing more convenient conversation are definitely hot. Although color gurus may see a pink as the color for 2011; nothing sells better in outdoor than neutral and natural colorations in finishes and fabrics. Whether for conversational deep seating or dining, research shows that brown encompasses 57 percent of all finishes sold. Black comes in second at 33 percent. In cushion fabrics, green ranks highest with brown taking second place for those who replaced fabric in 2010. Adding splashes of color to outdoor decor is done in the same way as within interior rooms; through pillows and floor coverings. Both of which are available in unending design options for outdoor living with the use of fade resistant and stain resistant solution dyed fabrics and yarns.

Sales Trends. Today’s marketplace for casual furnishings does exhibit a wide pricing divide with the median dining set falling around $400. The good news for specialty casual furnishings retailers is that the affluent buyers whose purchases far exceed the median continue to be a receptive audience. In 2010, 29 percent of dining set buyers were from households with incomes of $100,000 or more. As this segment comprises 50 percent of all dining set sales, it equates to a viable and growing market. Additional research by industry trade publication, Casual Living, and New York based Easty Analytic Software, Inc. published earlier in 2011 noted positive sales growth forecasted nationwide with regard to the number of households looking to buy casual furnishings in 2011.

As a trend in outdoor, ironically, sustainability has a ways to go. Ranked 11th in the consumer survey, just below the ability The highest percentage for any region for furnishings to rock or glide, sustainability has not quite reached the point across the country was found to be the U.S. at which consumers are willing to pay more West that is forecast to see 2.8% growth. for it. That is not to say that eco-friendly materials and manufacturing processes are not Per the survey, the South is forecasted to see available in casual products. Across the industry, 2.5 percent growth, with 2.3 percent for the green products and practices can be found. Northeast, and the Midwest, although at the Examples include unique resin designs from lowest percentage, can look forward to a 2.2 recycled materials and reuse furnishings from percent increase. Casual furnishings are realizing wood components. positive growth across the nation as 2.7 million households planned to purchase a dining set Design Trends. Trends in outdoor design this year. styles that are garnering attention encompass old world to ultra contemporary. Yet, as with In response to this forecasted growth, casual interior offerings, the ability to mix things up furnishing manufacturers are not only putting also is growing in popularity. Collections are on their “A” game with regard to products and being introduced featuring a depth of dining and performance; but many also are incorporating

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FEATURE ARTICLE practices that answer the challenges of seasonality inherent in the segment. Increasing numbers of manufacturers, especially those with domestic or semi domestic manufacturing, are offering Express Shipping programs with delivery in as little as 15-20 working days. One such program is offered by casual furniture manufacturer, Pride Family Brands, Hollywood, Fla. “In a seasonal business, reacting quickly to consumer requests may mean the difference between making a sale or not for many of our retailers,” said Rory Rehmert, vice president of sales and marketing for Pride Family Brands and chairman of the board of the International Casual Furnishings Association. “Express shipment programs are recognized by retailers as an opportunity to bring in products with proven sales history quickly in anticipation of sales promotions or to fulfill direct customer requests.”

spaces and the limited sales timeframe, the importance cannot be underestimated. Retailers investing in the casual furnishings segment are finding greater success in not only making these items the focus during the prime selling season; but remerchandising often.

Casual retailers have found that on average customers shop a single store three to four times before making a casual furniture purchase. Enticing these shoppers by keeping displays fresh is a tip they share. “By re-merchandising each of our casual furniture selling floors Presentation Trends. Keeping a minimum of four times in-season, it things fresh is not news to furnishings the PFP-WHFA 0811_Layout 8/10/11 10:01 PMgives Page 1 customer the feeling they are retailers; butAdwith decor for1outdoor

seeing something new and fresh, and can regenerate their enthusiasm for shopping Laacke & Joys ,” said Mary Mann, vice president, purchasing for the Wisconsin retailer. With accessories built for the outdoors, personalizing living spaces is no longer only the option of interior rooms. These durable additions can add function and excitement to showroom floors. Traditional furniture stores also can incorporate exterior accessories into interior displays to illustrate the versatility and multi-use possibilities available. Out is in. Capturing the potential of the growing outdoor room marketplace is an opportunity perfectly suited for the traditional furniture retailer. From casual manufacturing partners offering education and sales assistance to products creating consumer excitement and demand, the retail world of outdoor, as never before, is truly in. By Laurie Rudd, casual industry veteran and owner of Laurie Rudd Public Relations and Marketing, Winterville, NC. www.laurieruddpr.com

After Sixty years in Oklahoma City, Bruno’s chose PFP! are a family owned, third generation furniture store. My father “ We was still involved in the business at the age of 86. It was incredible what PFP could offer us to save our building, our name and reputation. PFP helped us with the bank and our back orders. They far exceeded all of our expectations. Not only did they preserve our name, but the community respected our closing. Most of the people actually congratulated us on our sixty years and were very thankful that we were in this community. I don’t think this would have happened if we hadn’t found PFP. I would highly recommend PFP. I really appreciate everything they did. Gina Bruno-Dunn

’’

Bruno’s Home Furnishings Oklahoma City, OK

Hear this complete story and others on our website!

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Save the Date May 6-8, 2012

Vote for your favorite HFIC logo at: www.facebook.com/ homefurnishingsconference

GAINING THE EDGE PALM SPRINGS Home Furnishings Industry HFIC WESTIN MISSION HILLS

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Resource Center Offers Buyers Money-Saving RRC Retailer Services, Education and a Bit of Fun By: Melissa Dressler

RETAILER

RESOURCE CENTER Western Home Furnishings Association

Buyers attending the Summer Las Vegas Market made sure the WHFA Retailer Resource Center was a must-see stop during their market experience. With steady traffic during the first few days of Market, the Retailer Resource Center offered buyers the opportunity to shop for money-saving business services, attend educational sessions and participate in a little fun during their busy Market week. “The RRC has every tool

to help retailers,” said Travis Garrish, Forma Furniture, Fort Collins, Colo. “I always stop in to say hi to the vendors and catch up on what’s new...

...with technology moving so fast, just

talking to the technology based vendors is a huge push forward in learning what’s hot.”

The sold out tradeshow within the Retailer Resource Center had 40 business service providers offering buyers the latest tools, technologies and services to help better their business. Each day saw strong traffic with retailers looking for new tools to help them become more efficient and save money in their business. 12 august - september 2 011

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Daily seminars kept buyers current on new trends and business strategies. Retail experts Rich Kizer and Georganne Bender, Kizer and Bender Speaking, presented their GenerationSpeak session to a full house during the WHFA and World Market Center Business Survival Series. To add to the fun of Market, and celebrate the launch of the new WHFA website at www.WHFA.org—

WHFA hosted the first ever Las Vegas Market Flash Mob on Tuesday, August 2. Over 60 participants took a break from their busy market schedule to toss around beach balls in the World Market Center courtyards while the song The Beat played over the loud speakers. “Rhoda and I had fun participating in the Flash Mob, lobbing the beach balls back and forth even though it was a bit warm,” said Shane Curry, Casa Bella Galleria, Sacramento, Calif. The Retailer Resource Center will be open again during the Winter Las Vegas Market, January 30 – February 3, 2012.

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


Market attendees enjoy a Next Generation-NOW event sponsored by FurnitureDealer.net and the GE cocktail event hosted Monday evening.

Next Generation-NOW Chatters Over Cocktails Sixty up-and-coming home furnishings retailers, vendors and manufacturers gathered during the Next Generation—NOW event to network and hear advice from those in the industry who had “been there, done that”. The event started with four mentors, Dave Harkness, Harkness Furniture, Giff Gates, Gates Home Furnishings, Greg Follett, Follett’s Furniture, and Chris Sanders, Everton Mattress Factory, telling the group the one thing they wish they had known when they started in the industry.

One thing I wish I had known when I started in this industry is… “Don’t take yourself or business too serious. Be sure to separate life and business. I always made the decision to not miss out on family time. I scheduled meetings and things happening in the store around my kids schedules, so I saw every game or meet they were in.” – Dave Harkness “This industry is about relationships and the ones you make today will be there for a long time. And had I know that Market was going to be in Las Vegas, I wouldn’t have picked up gambling!” – Greg Follett “I am thrilled and surprised to know that I still love the business 38 years later. One thing I have learned over the years is to be conservative—I’ve seen many businesses go under because there was not enough capital. Be sure to keep a close eye on your cash positions.” – Giff Gates “Work a little smarter instead of harder, which is something I am still working on every day. Set up dashboards for your business, know what is going on and monitor them. It will make you successful.” – Chris Sanders Contact WHFA at www.WHFA.org or (800) 422-3778

Top 10 reasons you know that someone is in town for the Las Vegas Market: ❿ They are typing away on their smartphone or iPad more frequently than a teenager. ❾ They are wearing a suit in the 104 degree Vegas weather. ❽ When asked “Where is a great place to eat?,” they reply with a showroom number, not a restaurant. ❼ They have a red ring on their face from sitting in the massage chair for too long. ❻ Someone is puffing away right in front of the “No Smoking” sign on the breezeway between buildings. ❺ They will, at some point, be seen carrying a stuffed Serta sheep. ❹ The ladies are all dressed up... but with sneakers on.  You see someone at 11 p.m. on the strip, and they still have their market badge on.  Their schedule has been worked to accommodate attending as many free cocktail parties as possible.  They can be seen in bed with a sheep and no scandal ensues. This top 10 list was brought to you by WHFA Staff Members Jef Spencer and Cindi Williams. The original list was posted on WHFA’s Facebook page during market week. Be sure to like the page and see what Jef and Cindi come up with for the next Market. www.facebook.com/WesternHomeFurnishingsAssn.

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LAS VEGAS MARKET

New trends could be seen throughout Market. Whether you were just walking around the showrooms or attended one of the many trend seminars, the up-and-coming hot products where everywhere. Easily incorporate one, or all, of these trends into your store to give your customer the look she wants.

Bodhi Bow Fron

t Dresser from

Four Hands

Mixed Materials: Upholstery and metal, wood and leather, whatever the textile, mixing two was a hot trend during Market. Many showrooms showed products that offered buyers a new look by mixing textiles that might not normally match. Red Hots : Nearly every showroom featured pieces in candy apple red. Hot red combines well with chocolate, gray, navy and white. It has a tendency to give a graphic quality to a room and is an easy way to add instant spice to a project. It’s all you need to make a room sizzle. Au Natural: Natural, unfinished materials that incorporate hand craftsmanship do not have to be exclusively rustic. At Las Vegas Market, several of these “natural” pieces had sexy and sleek shapes. Going au natural can add depth, soul, and character to a room. Black and White—the ultimate neutral: Black and white allows color to stand out in a room, and can bring a room to life. A lot of the black and white pieces at this year’s Las Vegas Market were very graphic, which really allows a piece to give a room a whole other dimension. Retro Redefined: Forms from the 40s, 50s and 60s are now being made with materials to make the look more modern. These pieces give a whimsical element to any room, and offer more compatibility with today’s design options.

Dreamscape Collection by Surya 14 august - september 2 011

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Creslow Cabinet by Curry & Co.

Linon Home Decor

Americana: Nostalgia for simpler times, or a nod to our roots, Americana-inspired furnishings were popping up throughout the Market. American history and the furniture that defined eras past are once again being celebrated in new collections like Universal Furniture’s Paula Deen Home and Curry & Co.’s Creslow cabinet. Small Scale: In the 90s, the trend was to do everything bigger. Big houses, big rooms, big furniture. Now things are smaller with more details. Small scale pieces provide a more tailored, very sweet look. The economy has had a lot to do with it. McMansions are out and people aren’t looking to just fill up a house. And more than anything, they want their home to have pieces with personality. Bedding: Bedding showrooms were busting at the seams with buyers looking to find the latest style and comfort for their customer. Sealy launched the Next Generation Sterns and Foster line, which offers customers a softer, more indulgent sleep surface and responsiveness where the body needs more support through their Variable Response Technology™ (VRT) within the Lux Estate Line. The iComfort Sleep System by Serta showed buyers how they can help their customers sleep smarter, cooler and better. Simmons unveiled significant enhancements to its ComforPedic Loft™ mattress line which features improved technologies for individualized comfort, support and pressure relief, including the revolutionary new AirCool™ Sleep System. Contact WHFA at www.WHFA.org or (800) 422-3778


LAS VEGAS MARKET

Woman on the Street—

What Customers Really Want

Interior designer and HGTV host Monica Pedersen recently took to the streets of Chicago, Ill., to ask every day customers what they are really looking for in the world of home furnishings. Some interesting findings were that most customers were not willing to spend more money on sustainable furnishings, but if the price was comparable they would make green purchases. The group was mixed on purchasing furniture online—younger generation consumers were more open to the idea while older consumers still preferred to visit the store.

Here is what Monica learned from three consumers: Consumer 1: A middle-aged woman who is an enthusiastic homeowner and cares passionately about how her home looks. She has to connect emotionally with the products she buys. The majority of her current purchases are accessories—she cites wall decor specifically and she is “always looking for art” because she probably already owns furniture she loves. She uses decorative accessories as a means to “complete” the mood she wants for her rooms and creates a “layered” look with them. While her favorite interior in her house is her kitchen—“it’s exactly the way I want it”—her next dream project is building an outdoor oasis. Consumer 2: A group of Millennial women who are demanding about how their apartments or condos look. Among this group, there was a greater acknowledgment of green products and eco-friendly solutions, but all of the women interviewed revealed that they wouldn’t pay extra to own a green product. If money were no object, these female consumers know exactly which home products they would buy: for one shopper, she would purchase a complete living room set comprised of sofa, chairs and matching occasional tables. For the other shopper, she’d buy the “rug she loves.” The Web plays a large role in these shoppers’ home furnishings purchases, primarily from a research standpoint. Consumer 3: A man who recently bought a brown leather sofa with his wife. While research continues to show that women are the primary purchase influencers when it comes to home furnishings, their spouses and partners are involved in the process. This recent home furnishings purchaser has confidence in what he bought and its power to beautify his home. To him, value, quality and price were all important motivators. His wife did most of the research for the purchase, which is consistent with current research. Not so surprisingly, his dream purchase: a 70-inch flat-screen television to go with his “couch”! To watch all videos from Monica’s day on the streets of Chicago and hear what consumers had to say, visit www.homeyet.com.

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

Michael Nermon, Elain Nermon, Sharron Bradley (WHFA) and John Shaw in the new Ergo Showroom.

Ergo Bedroom Opens Las Vegas Market Showroom Specialty Sleep pioneer and WHFA Board Member, Michael Nermon, opened his latest Ergo Bedding showroom in the Las Vegas World Market Center with his business partner John Shaw. Ergo Bedroom is a new multi-use showroom that will be open year-round to the public and to the trade during furniture market weeks. The new showroom featured products from Carpe Diem Beds of Sweden and Vi-Spring Beds from England. “The Ergo Bedroom showroom establishes a new model for manufacturers to market their bedding products in a more conducive environment,” said Michael. “The support we have received from our suppliers and the World Market Center has been tremendous. Everyone is working together to create an ideal setting that all facets of the marketplace can enjoy; suppliers, retailers, designers and consumers.” WHFA congratulates Michael and John on their new venture. For more information about Ergo Bedroom, visit their website at ergobedroom.com.

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Customers can find an array of outdoor furniture and accessories in six different California Backyard showrooms.

California BACKYARD By: Melissa Dressler

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 in. When California Backyard first opened its doors in 1989 in Roseville, Calif., owner Buzz Homsy saw a need for casual furniture in the Sacramento area. At this time, California Backyard’s primary category was indoor casual furniture. Over the years, California Backyard phased out the indoor casual furniture and focused primarily on outdoor living. “In 2004 we dropped indoor casual furniture because we felt it was too confusing to customers to offer both indoor and outdoor casual,” said California Backyard General Manager, Tom Tapken. “Many of our customers didn’t understand the term ‘indoor casual furniture’, and it wasn’t as popular as it had been twenty years ago, so we decided to focus primarily on outdoor furnishings.” Today, California Backyard has created a niche for themselves in Northern California and Nevada by offering its customers anything they need to create an outdoor oasis, from casual furniture and barbeques to swim spas and hot tubs. “Outdoor casual furniture is now our largest category and dominates most of our stores but we sell a variety of barbeques, mainly Webers, hot tubs, swim spas, pool chemicals and outdoor accessories. We put a lot of effort into creating our lifestyle settings, and when customers visit they see ideas they can implement in their backyard,” Tom mentioned. “Many customers don’t realize the different options they have when furnishing their outdoor living space and are often surprised when they first enter 16 august - september 2 011

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our store. They then start to see the possibilities for creating a great backyard living space that they might not have been aware of—by adding collections of outdoor products like rugs and pillows to transform a backyard into an outdoor room.” One area that Tom feels is very special about these outdoor living spaces is its ability to bring people together and create a sense of community. The outdoor living space is one area that doesn’t compete for family time and instead gives families an area to gather. “The way families come together is to have a beautiful, inviting space outside—to have a hot, bubbling hot tub waiting for you and your family. It is impossible to sit in a hot tub and not talk,” he said. Tom explains creating this sense of family time and community to each of his salespeople. California Backyard doesn’t sell a single item that takes families apart from each other.

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


At a Glance Store Location:

Northern California & Nevada Type of Store:

Casual

Year Founded:

1989

Number of Locations:

6 The Roseville flagship store of California Backyard.

Alumont, Mallin, Tropitone, Agio, Hanamint, O.W. Lee

Top Suppliers:

Everything is sold to make the customer feel like they can bring people together, and the entire store is designed to create this sense of community and togetherness, “This isn’t just decorating a room, it’s creating a sense of family, togetherness and community,” Tom said. California Backyard’s roots start with family. As a family-owned and operated business, there are four family members that currently work within the business; Tom’s wife Denise, father-in-law Buzz and mother-in-law Wilma. The store was originally opened by Buzz who had relocated to the Sacramento area after working for Pool, Patio and Things in the Bay Area. After showing Denise and Tom around the Sacramento area, Buzz suggested they move up from Southern California. He said if they moved to Sacramento, he would open up a business. Twenty-two years later, California Backyard is a strong and successful business with six locations throughout Northern California and Nevada. Their extended family is their 43 employees. California Backyard believes in keeping their extended family educated, motivated and ready to assist any customer’s need. Tom holds hour and a half training sessions each week with every employee to help them build up a company he calls ‘Me Inc.’. “The

WHFA Member Since:

1997

Store Website:

www.californiabackyard.com

point that I always try to make with salespeople is that—

I am in charge of getting people into the store through advertising, the website, etc.,” he said. “Once the customer is in the store, it is totally dependant on the salesperson to make the sale. So we really emphasize the power of you—the power of the individual person to make a difference. Our training these days is only about 25 percent on product and 75 percent motivational—we really focus on the power of change.” Along with motivating employees with weekly training, California Backyard religiously honors employee anniversaries. Most of California Backyard’s employees have been long term employees, with their longest employee working with them for 19 years. They did downsize over the last few years due to the economy but have recently added a few new employees. On an employee’s tenth anniversary, they

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

receive a free hot tub. “After 30 years at Bank of America, you get a flat screen TV, but after 10 years at California Backyard, you get a free hot tub! We really make a big deal out of everyone’s anniversary,” Tom said. While California Backyard did lose many employees over the last few years due to lower sales, Tom is hopeful for the future and is finding new ways to bring customers into the store. “The economy still hasn’t recovered in the Sacramento area, and people still haven’t recovered equity in their homes. We are trying to add to the breadth of our product lines instead of the depth,” he said. “We added gas fire logs two seasons ago, pool chemicals this season and will be adding dry saunas and hearth items next season. The idea is to broaden the products so our salespeople can sell more to the same customer. We are also really focusing on our relationships with our customers as well. We will do everything for the customer out of our store— install, deliver and service everything we sell.”

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SALES & MARKETING

He Shops, She Shops…

Differently

I

by Rich Kizer & Georganne Bender

t’s no secret that women are different from men. Now, we’re not saying that one sex is superior or inferior to the other—we’re just different. But we’d never know it from the experiences we’ve had shopping in some stores. Both sexes suffer from time poverty, and both have no time for stores that make little or no attempt to make shopping easy. It doesn’t matter what you sell or how good you perceive your store to be, today’s shoppers are more demanding, and if these demanding customers find your store is too hard to shop, your services and policies not up to what they expect, or your store associates not helpful enough, they won’t be your customers for very long. How you sell to a woman can be as important as what you are selling. Almost every encounter she has becomes personal because women care about the human dimension—about the person they are with, so she will often look for a relationship before she makes a purchase. She also wants to know that there will be support and personal service available after the purchase is made. Women are the Chief Operating Officers of the household, controlling 80+ percent of the purchase decisions. If you discount her ability to make a decision or tell her to come back with her husband, you are in for serious trouble. She won’t be back, and she’ll tell her friends—in person and online—just how “well” you treated her. Your male customers are a different story, and they aren’t that hard to figure out. They don’t like to shop, so they are less likely to shop on their own volition, unless the object they are after involves a new car, power tools, or stereo speakers bigger and louder than the ones the guy next door has. Just kidding— kind of. But when it comes down to basics, men pretty much want the same things that women want in a shopping experience: quality, convenience, no hassles, knowledgeable help when they want it, and to be left alone when they don’t. 18 august - september 2 011

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


Men like one-stop shopping—Women like choice Let’s get personal and turn this male/female thing into the shopping saga of Tom and Mary. Mary, like many of her girlfriends, was raised on shopping, but Tom was generally off doing other things, so he doesn’t have the vast shopping “training” that Mary has. Tom likes it when you make shopping easy for him. And like most guys, Tom doesn’t like to shop around, so if you have the information he needs to make a purchasing decision, he’ll love your store. Be sure to have plenty of ideas, project sheets, supply lists, and “how-to” brochures. Mary, on the other hand, is a collector of information and alternatives. She likes choice, and is willing to shop a variety of stores to get what she needs. A typical shopping trip for Mary could include a visit to several stores. This is where relationship-building comes in—if you want her to choose your store instead of just running to the nearest store that sells the same product as you because it happens to be on her way home, so you better get to know her. Now, Mary shopping in your store by herself is a good thing, but Mary shopping with her friends is even better. Women love to shop in packs, so take advantage of promotions and events that encourage them to shop with friends. When women shop in groups they like to egg each other on to buy more “stuff”. Mary, and her sisters shopping, is an impulsive shopper who can usually be enticed to purchase additional items as well. On one of our observation trips we watched a woman in a home decor store, walking the aisles, picking up candles, pillows, and several other unrelated items. We asked if she needed the related items—if she’s spiffing up a room she might need a throw for the arm of her couch or foot of the bed. And since she’s picking up candles, would she be in the market for a decorative plate to display them on, too? Her answer was “yes”, which made us wonder why the retailer hadn’t crossmerchandised these add-on items near the primary items so they would create multiple sales. You can easily cross-merchandise throughout your entire store. You’ll save customers time and give them fresh ideas while helping increase store sales.

The next six days that matter

How Men and Women View Price When it comes to how much things cost, Tom likes to compare items by price. He also likes to know what makes one item better than another, so it’s a good idea to keep your staff up to date on the product, as well as each item’s key features, advantages and benefits so they can establish value.

www.highpointmarket.org/facebook www.highpointmarket.org/linkedin www.highpointmarket.org/twitter www.highpointmarket.org/youtube

With Mary, it’s always a good idea to stress how much she’s saving. Try “Compare at” signing showing the regular and the markdown price, and register tapes that read “You saved $X.XX today.” (Note from Rich: It’s not uncommon for women to comment that they’ve saved so much money on one purchase that they now have “money” left over to make another. I was able to relate to that reasoning when I heard it discussed in one of our focus groups because Georganne uses it all the time. She’ll say, “I saved $75 bucks, now I can buy shoes!” Go figure.) Contact WHFA at www.WHFA.org or (800) 422-3778

www.highpointmarket.org | 800.874.6492 | info@highpointmarket.org

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for directions and she’ll be able to tell you several. Rich of course, being a man, denies this.) Women like to interact with sales associates. Mary will look for help when she needs it and wants lots of information. In our sales training sessions we stress how important it is to be able to “read” a customer, and why you need to ask many questions before making a determination about what to recommend. This step builds trust and it demonstrates that what the customers is saying is important to you, and that’s important to the customer. Mary may, or may not, be on familiar ground in your store. She wants to be taken seriously and treated with respect. Remember, it’s a relationship thing.

Reality vs. Perception We’ve always said there is no reality in retailing, only perception. You are what the customer perceives you to be, whether you like it or not.

Tom and Mary will both make a value judgment about your store within the first 10 seconds upon entering. In those 10 seconds they are already determining how much time they will spend in your store. While it may not be fair, we all do it. Store ambiance—the way a store looks and “feels”—is where men and women really differ. The way your store looks is usually more important to Mary. She prefers clean, brightly lit stores where she can spend time and move comfortably throughout the store at her own pace. As far as Tom is concerned, the store needn’t be a palace. His style is more “hit and run’. Tom’s tendency is to find what he needs, in the least amount of time, and then get out of the store fast. The trick is to slow him down, for this you need a “Decompression Zone”.

Asking for Help Men are reluctant to ask for help in your store and usually do not like to ask where things are. Tom will usually dart through the store on a mission trying to find whatever it is he’s looking for (and missing everything else along the way). Tom shops the same way he works a parking lot: find a space fast and park. Once inside, he’ll make one or two quick passes through the store and if he doesn’t find something he likes, he’s outta there. Your store associates need to pay close attention, learn to recognize this trait, and be ready to help the Toms of the world ASAP. (Note from Georganne: Men won’t ask for directions either. Now I know that I am generalizing here but ask any woman to tell you a story about a man asking 20 august - september 2 011

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A decompression zone is simply the 10-15 foot space between the front door and the merchandise inside. This can be your vestibule or the real estate just inside the front door. The decompression zone is important because when Tom is on a mission it slows him down long enough to focus on the task at hand. Understand that anything you place in your decompression zone will be missed by customers. Place signage and other important information just beyond the decompression zone where customers, both male and female, are more likely to see it.

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


Maneuvering the Aisles Keep your aisles clear. Make sure that there is enough room for customers to move comfortably past other shoppers. Mary will most likely be the one to shop with her children, so the child becomes a major factor. If the child has to be left in the main aisle because her stroller or cart won’t fit down an aisle packed with merchandise and other shoppers, Mary will leave without the product before she’ll leave her child alone in the aisle. Children need to feel good about your store. Once inside, will the children be welcomed or will they be greeted with cutesy signs that read “Unattended children will be given an espresso and a free puppy.” If they like your store, children can mean big business. Instead of rules why not offer a Cookie Credit Card kids can redeem for a free cookie each time they visit your store with mom or dad? Trust us, if the child likes your store, rest assured mom and dad will be back to shop with you again. Drop us an email and we’ll send you our Cookie Credit Card template that you can customize to use in your own store. With Mary it comes down to this: She wants a nice place to shop, she wants to be treated with respect, and she seeks relationships with the people who work there. Selling to Tom comes down to this: How hard do you want the guy to work? Make it easy and he’s yours. © KIZER & BENDER. All Rights Reserved Rich Kizer & Georganne Bender are professional speakers, retail strategists, authors and consultants whose client list reads like a “Who’s Who” in business. Companies internationally depend upon them for timely advice on consumers and the changing retail market place. KIZER & BENDER’s observations are widely featured in the medias, including the ABC News special report “How Stores Hook You.” Their books Jingle Bells, Christmas Sells! and Champagne Strategies on a Beer Budget! have helped thousands of retailers improve their bottom line, and their bylined column, Georganne & Rich on the Road was twice honored with The American Society of Business Publications Editors Award of Excellence (ASBPE). Contact Kizer and Bender at info@KIZERandBENDER.com or www.KIZERandBENDER.com.

The next six days that matter

www.highpointmarket.org/facebook www.highpointmarket.org/facebook www.highpointmarket.org/linkedin linkedin www.highpointmarket.org/ twitter www.highpointmarket.org/twitter www.highpointmarket.org/youtube www.highpointmarket.org/youtube www.highpointmarket.org | 800.874.6492 | info@highpointmarket.org

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

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You never get a second chance to make a first impression ✔ White glove home delivery ✔ Dedicated well-equipped modern fleet ✔ Custom truck branding ✔ Warehousing ✔ State-of-the-art technology and reporting

The Difference is in the Details

703.530.0677 www.diakonlogistics.com

✔ Consumer surveys ✔ On-site management and staff

Visit Us In High Point & Las Vegas High Point Market Retailer Resource Center, Plaza Suites Las Vegas Market Retailer Resource Center, Building C

est.1944

Western Home Furnishings Association

Membership in

The Western Home Furnishings Association

It’s Where You Belong

• Education, Information & Advocacy • WHFA Discount Programs

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• Retailer2Retailer Community • Responsive Association Support

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


NEW PROGRAM HIGHLIGHTS

New Exclusive MemberProgram Make Your Online Reputation Mirror Your Reality Over 81 percent of your prospective customers will Google you and make an emotional decision about doing business with you before they ever show up on your radar screen but after they respond to your advertising.

•  Google is telling our customers how to search for you. “Your Company Name Reviews” •  To control your Google is to control your income. •  Google Distraction Disorder means only 20 percent of those who search for your company by name will typically land on your site or call you. •  The number of times you are Googled would most likely surprise you. Four areas are needed to help you control your online reputation and ensure customers walk in through your doors. Reputation Accelerator will help you do all four! •  Control the first three pages of Google •  Create a dynamic and robust testimonial site •  Link testimonials and comments to Facebook & Twitter

•  Create a credible and classy web page for reviews.

WHFA MEMBER PROGRAM PRICING One-time Development fee — $843.00 (50% off regular non-member pricing)  Monthly Fee Per Location — $297.00 (23% off regular non-member pricing)

Reputation Accelerator is more than a reputation management company, they are your reputation solution and will make your online content distribution a profit center. Accelerate the amount of verified comments that go out onto the Internet through this new WHFA program. Reputation Accelerator’s content distribution platform will provide an excellent tool for you to communicate to both respected media outlets and your customer base through their robust system.

WHAT MAKES THEIR PLATFORM UNIQUE? Reputation Accelerator strives to give its clients access to more distribution channels across the Internet for a well-balanced communications platform. Each client is provided with a live customer representative to assist with their account on demand. As a result our goal is to provide a more robust customer service experience. Their primary focus is on quality control and real time customer service. Your account representative will personally monitor your content and distribution cycles to insure that you are maximizing our platform and syndicating relevant content that meet all requirements for distribution. It is for this reason that we only activate your account after your business and data has been verified for public relevance, quality, and accuracy.

t more u o d to fin at: call us

Testimonial: “We have been pushing positive reviews to the Internet and adding legitimacy to our brand, which is great. We recently opened a new store in a market and need help gaining awareness on Google. By working with Reputation Accelerator to get positive comments and reviews onto Google, within two weeks our name was appearing on the first page of Google for many of our chosen keywords. So many customers are searching the Internet for information—this is a great way to ensure potential customers read positive reviews. We’ve always had great reviews; they just weren’t being posted on the Internet. Now we have the platform through Reputation Accelerator to have our potential clients read these reviews and visit our stores.” —Travis Garrish, Forma Furniture, Fort Collins, Colorado

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

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


SAFETY SPOT

Managing Safety

for the Aging Workforce

Nearly 25 percent of people aged 64 to 75 are still in the workforce today, and this number is projected to increase dramatically in the coming years as the activist generation of Baby Boomers reach retirement age yet don’t want to stop being active. The good news is that older workers have a lower injury rate. The bad news is that their injuries are more serious and require more time away from work.

Safety concerns for older workers: • Shorter memory. • More easily distracted, e.g., by environmental noise. • Slower reaction time. • Declining vision and hearing. • Poorer sense of balance. • Denial of decreasing abilities, which can lead to employees trying to work past their new limits. These physical limitations lead to the following injury types for older workers: • Falls caused by poor balance, slowed reaction time, visual problems, or distractions. • Sprains and strains from loss of strength, endurance, and flexibility. • Cardiopulmonary overexertion in heat or cold, at heights, using respirators, or in confined spaces.

Strategies for protecting older workers: • Find ways to work smarter, not harder. • Decrease exertion activities, such as in heat or cold or climbing ladders. • Adjust work areas, such as installing better lighting, reducing noise, removing obstacles, and decreasing the need to bend or stoop. • Redefine what constitutes “productive”. • Know your workers’ limitations, perhaps by conducting annual hearing or vision tests. In addition, employers need to make sure the safety culture is an institutional value. For example, when co-worker feedback indicates an older worker is having trouble, the employer’s response should not be to fire the older worker, because that will discourage honest feedback from employees who feel responsible for their co-worker’s loss of employment. Other responses employers can use to keep valuable older employees on the job include: • Wellness programs. • Flexible schedules. • Extra unpaid vacation.

• Accumulation injuries from years of doing the same task, e.g., truck drivers who experience loss of hearing in left ear from road noise with cab window open.

• Allowing less than full-time work with full-time benefits. • Allowing long weekends after heavy workweeks.

Look for these signs that older workers may need accommodations:

• Giving more positive feedback than to younger workers.

• Feedback from supervisors or co-workers on declining performance. Contact WHFA at www.WHFA.org or (800) 422-3778

Safety Coordinator

• History of minor injuries or near misses.

• More medical leave than the Family and Medical Leave Act (FMLA) requires.

• Psychological or emotional signs, such as loss of patience, irritability.

contact your WHFA

• Numbers and patterns of sick days.

• Health or disease-related illnesses, such as diabetes, cancer, osteoporosis, coronary artery disease, or hypertension.

• Physical signs, such as fatigue, tripping.

For more information

• Setting more specific goals. • Conducting ageism training for supervisors and co-workers to make them aware of the different working styles across the generations.

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Kaprice Crawford at (800) 422-3778


SALES & MARKETING

Showcasing Your Online Reputation What Google says about your store will make you wealthy or leave your broke.

ty

ali e R e Onlin n Actio

By Jeff Carrier

Over 81 percent of your prospects will Google you and make an emotional decision about doing business with you before they ever show up on your radar screen but after they respond to your advertising. Less than 20 percent of the 81 percent of the prospects that Google you will actually call you or land on your showroom floor. Even if you have positive online reviews, an easy to find website and a top listing in Google Maps, you will lose the bulk of your advertising respondents to Google Distraction Disorder (G.D.D.), never to be seen or heard from again. My guess is that most furniture store owners and managers reading this, that have even a speck of an advertising budget, can instantly “feel” the truth of these statistics. Manufacturer’s often times support our advertising budgets and thus we can all be rest assured that they are looking at their retailer’s online reputation credit report. Services like Groupon®, Social Living® and Google Offers® use online reputation scores as the single most important qualifier for a new business member.

Your Online Reputation Credit Score Ever asked your bank or lender to increase your flooring line? Yes you guessed it… They most likely are looking at your online reputation first and financials second. One of the single largest losses for capital lenders in any retail industry stems from retailers growing too fast. The problem is that five years ago if the retailer’s growth was fueled by marketing and sales practices that upset the public they rarely knew about it until hit their collections report.

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There are ways to control your Google on a shoe string budget and look better than your nearest competition when and where it counts. First let’s talk about what it means to own the first three pages of Google. What you are looking for is “Search Engine Saturation (SES)”, which means, “To own more positions within the first three pages of Google than any single competitor or reputation threat”.

Google has Become the X-ray Machine Today a simple Google search for a furniture store’s name followed by the word “reviews” or “complaints” will tell a lender, a manufacturer, your prospects, the media along with your friends, neighbors and relatives everything they’d like to know about your business. The challenge with this reality is that usually a store’s Google footprint doesn’t reflect reality. A typical store’s Google footprint is either to boring or non-descript to keep the searcher engaged, is chalked with misleading, inaccurate or bogus information often placed there by competitors or rouge ex-employees, or just flat out non-existent.

Control Your Google… Control Your Income… So now that we are painfully aware of the Google reality and we know that 70 percent++ of our advertising and marketing respondents are evaporating into thin air, what do we do about it? You must control the first three pages of Google. While this may sound like a lofty goal and an extra 100k out the window, you may be right but fear not.

western retailer

Get a reputation monitoring system You’ll want to invest in a program that allows you to monitor the conversation on the web about you and your competitors (Google alerts need not apply). Without one you are flying blind against the wind and with one you can get a bird’s eye view of your entire market area from 15ft back and 200ft up.*

The best content for Google, Facebook and YouTube First you must have the ability to control an acceptable number of positions within the first three pages of Google and then you will need to decide what to put there. The best content in the world is always the voices of your satisfied customers. Whether we are talking about Google, YouTube your website, Facebook, Twitter, or your blog, happy customers telling the world that they love you trumps all other content hands down. Considering 75 percent of the buying public thinks that advertising is misleading, your satisfied customers digitally leveraged on the World Wide Web can become the ultimate leveling stick.

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


SALES & MARKETING

hstudio.com

le a n o i Rat n Actio

Doing right simply isn’t enough Your good works and excellent customer service is no longer enough. Once upon a time a business’ reputation was won by doing business right and depending on your satisfied customers to tell the world. Today our customers are far too busy intercepting emails, text messages and phone calls to market your business or respond whole-heartedly to solid recommendations from friends and family. Even when we do pay attention to recommendations of a business, we Google them before we call them. So in the end the only way to garner the level of R.O.I. you deserve from running a great business is to go viral.

Going viral is what happens when word of mouth becomes digitally leveraged To succeed in the repeat, referral and word of mouth business model you MUST give your satisfied customers a powerful voice and distribute that voice on their behalf to hundreds, if not thousands, of strategic online destinations across the web. In turn these distribution points go viral, get picked up by search engines (providing that they are optimized) and suddenly you find yourself in control of the first three pages of Google. You will also find yourself selling more furniture, retaining more customers, generating more referrals and producing more traffic with less advertising. As a side note we all know that a salesperson cannot be effective on the showroom floor or on the phone if he or she is unable to position themselves as the expert in the mind of the prospect. Own the first three pages of Google and make sure that your prospects can SEE your customer testimonials front and center

without having to click from Google to some other site first and your prospects will show your sales people a renewed attitude.

What about 3rd party review sites like Yelp, CitySearch and so on? Having good reviews on a review site pales in comparison to owning the first three pages of Google. The reason being is that these sites get over 90 percent of their traffic from people that Google your name or your name coupled with words like reviews and complaints. In other words third party review sites exist because Google and other search engines exist. With that said, they are still important and the key to managing them can be summed up in two words “Strategic Management”.

thought was going to be cute value add to our service has turned out to be one of the most effective online marketing tactics in existence (wish we could brag but in reality it was an afterthought). As such we have learned a secret, which is that happy customer comments and Facebook is a recipe for instant social media success. Place you best customer At coffee—found the perfect lime cilantro sofa! The salespeople were amazing at ABC Furniture. f Tweet in

Remember that you are only as good as your last review but to send your customers blindly to these sites without hand selecting them first is a receipt for disaster. The more reviews third party review sites receive the more they strangle hold your business name in Google. So know who your best customers are and then guide them towards third party review sites in a coffee drip fashion. Build slowly, methodically and sparingly and you will have five star reviews a great online profile without sacrificing your Google home page to do it.

The secret to using Facebook Recently our company invented a way to make satisfied customers magically post positive comments on a company’s Facebook page and then link those comments to an auto-generated testimonial site complete with the business’s look, feel and logo. What we

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

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SALES & MARKETING comments on your Facebook and then link them back to well designed testimonial page and just watch what happens.

The Ultimate Reputation Accelerator In conclusion there are three facets to creating a stellar online reputation that will garner instant profits. Control the first three pages of Google, your online review sites, create a dynamic and robust testimonial site and add your satisfied customer comments to your Facebook and Twitter like your favorite hot sauce and you will find business life gets much easier. Oh and one more thing! Create a credible and classy web page where customers can write a review about your business and give you their feedback directly. The idea is to get to them before they go public on you (by then it’s usually too late) and you will suddenly be in control of your customer satisfaction index.

Here is to you, your online reputation and your selling success! Eddie Coleman, is CEO of Reputation Accelerator LLC, an online reputation management company. [*Good news! If you are a member of the WHFA, you already have a reputation management company paid for that is sitting and waiting for you to log into. It may get bored sitting on the shelf waiting for you so if you haven’t scooped it up already, you will want to do so. Simply contact Jeff Carrier at (877) 874-9737 ext #121 let him know what email address you would like your access link sent to. For more information, visit http://ReputationAccelerator.com]

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st

Li n o i t Ac

✔ Control the first three pages of Google

• ✔ Create a dynamic & robust testimonial site

• ✔ Link testimonials and comments to Facebook and Twitter • ✔ Create a credible and classy web page for reviews

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


National Home Furnishings Month Home Mortgage or Rent Sweepstakes Returns with 3rd Annual Celebration

Sign Up Your Store to Participate this September. Last year, National Home Furnishings Month’s Is It Home Yet?™ campaign captured more than 200 million impressions in paid and earned media, gained the support of more than 9,000 retailers nationwide and attracted 106,192 entries in the Home Mortgage Sweepstakes. Sponsored by World Market Center Las Vegas and supported by eight home furnishings industry associations such as Western Home Furnishings Association, National Home Furnishings Month is an industry-wide initiative connecting retailers and consumers. The Is It Home Yet?™ campaign encourages consumers the celebrate the idea of “home” through new home furnishings purchases and this year’s campaign aims to do this again with the Home Mortgage or Rent Sweepstakes. In celebration of National Home Furnishings Month, consumers will be given the opportunity to enter for a chance to have their mortgage payments or rent paid for one year. The sweepstakes, open from September 1-30, 2011, encourages consumer traffic into retail stores by promoting the sweepstakes entry locations at participating retail locations in home cities across the nation, making it a win-win for all. By adding their stores to the Store Locator on HomeYet.com, retailers will be able to take advantage of this free advertising platform. Contact WHFA at www.WHFA.org or (800) 422-3778

How to Participate Retailers can take part (absolutely FREE) in this industry-wide retail sales event by doing one or all of the following.   Sign up to participate in the Home Mortgage or Rent Sweepstakes which they can promote in-store and online.   List store(s) on the online Retailer Locator to give their store location added impressions to web traffic each time a consumer searches for the nearest store locations that fall in their Zip Code.   Download the Complimentary Retailer Toolkit which makes it easy for stores to run the sweepstakes and promotion as their own. They can piggyback on the national campaign and drive visits to their store this September.

How to Sign Up Retailers can sign up by visiting www.homeyet.com/retailerlogin and answering the three questions listed on the Retailer Admin page. Join retailers across the country as they celebrate National Home Furnishings Month this September. For more information about the National Home Furnishings Month Is It Home Yet?TM campaign, visit www.HomeYet.com/ retailer-login or email retailstores@homeyet.com. western retailer

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USING SOCIAL MEDIA

Social Lingo You’ve read articles, attended educational sessions, watched webinars but you still can’t quite figure it out! This Social Media Dictionary will be your guide to all the lingo you need to know to successfully tweet, like, share and connect through social media.

Linked In • Connections are people you invite, or people who have invited you. They in turn are connected to other people, and those people to still more.

• Your network is a group of users that you can contact through your connections, and those users who are more than three degrees away from you but are willing to be contacted without referral. It also includes members of groups you share.

• Connect with other professionals with similar interests in Groups. These groups allow you to post discussions, jobs and much more. Check out the WHFA Group page: http://tinyurl.com/whfalinked

• Your profile is your “public face”—it’s what other users see when they find you through a search.

• A recommendation is a short comment, written by one connection for another, about work the two shared in a particular position. The recommendation is visible to all users who can see the endorsee’s profile.

Advertising Inquiries & Rates

Advertisers Index

Contact:

Please support the advertisers that support your magazine. Advertiser

Page

Phone/Website

Diakon Logistics............................................................... 22........................................... (703) 530-0677 Emerald Home Furnishings............................................... 2............................................ (800) 685-6646 Furniture Wizard........................................................... 24 & 28....................................... (619) 869-7200 Home Furnishings Industry Conference .......................... 11........................................... (800) 422-3778 High Point Market......................................................... 19 & 21....................................... (800) 874-6492 MicroD....................................................................... back cover.................................... (800) 964-3876 Planned Furniture Promotions.......................................... 10........................................... (800) 472-5242 PROFITsystems .............................................................. 31........................................... (800) 888-5565 Surya................................................................................. 7............................................ (877) 275-7847 www.WHFA.org................................................................. 4............................................ (800) 422-3778 WHFA Membership........................................................... 22........................................... (800) 422-3778

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. August-September 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

www.whfa.org 30 august - september 2 011

western retailer

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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Convert Shoppers into Buyers

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Western Retailer August / September 2011  

Out is In, California Backyards, Las Vegas Market review and much more.

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