Month: February 2019

couch

Here Are 3 Simple Tips to Help Boost Customer Loyalty

Any business leader working in retail understands how important customer satisfaction is to their bottom line. All too often, however, retailers focus so much on attracting new customers that they forget to nurture their existing customer base, which is crucial to maintaining a thriving business.

Furniture retailers, in particular, can be a bit neglectful when it comes to building customer loyalty. This is because many furniture shoppers make a major purchase only every five years or so. However, there are a number of things that retailers can do to shorten the interval between customer visits and ensure that customers return time and time again to make purchases both large and small. The following tips provide some easy ways to boost customer loyalty in any area of retail.

 

  1. Offer a loyalty program.

There are an estimated 3.8 billion individual loyalty program memberships in the United States, but the question is: Do these programs work?

The answer is both “yes” and “no.” While the average consumer belongs to over 13 loyalty programs, they actively use fewer than half. That’s why it’s important for retailers to make sure their programs offer attractive awards and a personalized shopping experience. Rather than sending out the same offers to all members, use the customer data collected through the program to provide relevant offers to each member.

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When considering what to offer, keep in mind that consumers are most likely to stay active in a program that gives them free samples and discounts. Customers also appreciate being able to access their loyalty programs via their mobile phones. Investing in this type of capability may increase customer participation.

Doing all you can to engage rewards members will pay you in spades—research has shown that over 85 percent of customers are loyal to the business where they maintain active rewards program memberships.

 

  1. Communicate with your customers.

You can’t expect to build or maintain a loyal customer base if you don’t reach out regularly to past customers. To do this, it’s best to use multiple channels of communication, including e-mail and traditional mail. These two channels are particularly useful for communicating store news and sending out promotional offers and discounts to customers.

In this day and age, it’s also very important that you leverage the power of social media to communicate with customers and give them a place to interact with your business and each other. Maintaining a strong online presence via Facebook, Twitter, and other platforms can take some effort, but the payoff comes in the form of free, direct access to your customers 24/7. Social media also gives you the opportunity to show the personal side of your business as you build an engaged community with a steady stream of posts and comments.

In addition, social media sites provide an excellent platform to respond to concerns and feedback and show consumers that you value their opinions and are committed to offering top-notch customer service. This, in turn, can lead to greater customer loyalty and positive word-of-mouth recommendations, which can bring new customers through your doors.

 

  1. Focus on providing a great customer experience.

Whether you’re interacting with customers online, over the phone, or in person, your main focus should be on making the experience as positive as possible. Recent research has shown that a large majority of consumers believe that the quality of a company’s customer service reflects how much they value the people who shop in their stores. All in all, a customer who does not feel valued by a business isn’t likely to stay loyal to the brand.

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Creating a great experience with every interaction will help you stand out from the competition and keep customers returning to you when they’re looking to make a purchase. It’s important to note that providing consistently good service to each customer requires the efforts of everyone in your store. Business owners and managers may set the bar, but lower-level staff members are typically the direct link between your business and its customers.

Assembling a strong team of employees and training them to be friendly, helpful, and efficient is the best thing that you can do in the customer service department. Always keep in mind that your customers have a number of choices when it comes to where they shop. If they feel valued and respected regardless of whether they make a purchase, your customers will reward you by bringing repeat business and recommending your store to family and friends.

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bedroom

What You Need to Know about Furnishing the Master Bedroom

While the main purpose of a bedroom is to provide a spot to sleep, it also serves as a type of sanctuary where you can escape from the world and wind down after a busy day. While you may not realize it, the bedroom is also where you spend most of your time when you’re at home. In fact, the average person will spend upwards of 26 years sleeping and seven years trying to fall asleep during their lifetime. This means that over one-third of your life will likely take place in bed.

Ensuring that you have a welcoming, comfortable, and visually appealing master bedroom can help to improve your sleep and the quality of your life overall. Fortunately, anyone can turn their sleeping area into a great master bedroom with a little knowledge and planning. Read on for an overview of what you need to know:

bedroom

 

Tips for Choosing the Right Furniture

Before discussing specific pieces, it’s important to know how to choose the right bedroom furniture for your needs. You can start by answering these three questions:

What’s your budget?—The amount of money you have to spend will play the largest role in determining what type of furniture you can get for your bedroom. While it’s definitely a good idea to spend some time browsing for potential pieces online and in stores, you should avoid making any purchases until you have established a budget. Furniture can be a major expense, but you have a few options if you find yourself low on cash.

First, it’s important to remember that you don’t have to upgrade everything all at once. Buying your bedroom furniture one piece at a time can be a great way to get what you want without breaking your budget. On the other hand, you may be able to save some cash by opting for a matching set. Just be sure that it fits your space and style before making a purchase.

How big is the space?—To ensure that you get furniture that is appropriate for your bedroom, you need to carefully consider both the size and scale of the space you’re working with. Of course, if you have a smaller bedroom, you probably won’t want to opt for an oversized dresser or giant four-poster bed. Likewise, those with spacious bedrooms may want to avoid low-profile or small furniture that can be dwarfed in big spaces.

If you plan to update your entire bedroom, you may want to get out the tape measure and take down some measurements. It may also be helpful to make a few sketches to help you decide on the best layout for your new furniture. When measuring and sketching, be mindful of how the main door and closet doors open into the area, and be sure to account for the extra space that you’ll need to comfortably walk around the room.

What’s your preferred style?—While you probably have a good idea of your style preferences, you need to understand how your personal tastes can translate to the bedroom. In some cases, a design that works in one area of the house may not be the best fit for your sleeping space. Some of the top design styles that work well in a bedroom range from rustic and Scandinavian to mid-century modern.

An eclectic look that combines varied but complementary colors, patterns, and textures can also be a good option for the bedroom. This is especially true if you prefer a more casual look. Those who lean more traditional, however, may want to go with matching furniture instead. Opting for a matching set may also be a good idea if you’re more suited to the one-and-done approach to furniture shopping.

bedroom

 

Items That Every Master Bedroom Needs

Once you’ve established a budget and made a plan for the type and style of furniture that you want to purchase, it’s time to create the ultimate master bedroom. To do so, every adult needs a few items. Aside from the obvious, such as a bed, nightstand, and dresser, the most essential pieces include:

A place to sit—Whether it’s a single accent chair or a padded bench, bedroom seating can be both functional and decorative. A bench works particularly well in providing seating and storage for extra pillows and blankets at the foot of your bed. If you have the room, consider combining two accent chairs with a small accent table for the perfect reading nook.

Lamps—A source of indirect lighting is a must-have for any bedroom. While bedside lamps are always useful, you may also want to add a floor lamp or two to light up the space without relying on a glaring overhead fixture. Properly placed lighting can soften the feel of a bedroom and help to create a cozy space.

Finishing touches—Along with functional pieces, you’ll want to add some finishing touches to up the style and comfort of your bedroom. Think about using an area rug to add color, texture, and your own personal touch to a space. Mirrors and wall art will keep your bedroom walls from looking sterile and boring. Moreover, a well-placed mirror can add light or make a room feel larger. Finally, you may want to add some comfortable and visually appealing throw pillows. However, you shouldn’t overdo it. Depending on the size of your bed, somewhere between two to six pillows is the perfect number.

furniture

Here Are the Top Tips You Need to Prep for High Point Market

high point market logoIt’s time to start planning for the biannual High Point Market, which will host its 2019 spring edition April 6-10 in High Point, North Carolina. As the world’s largest furnishings industry trade show, the Market brings together tens of thousands of people each spring and fall.

Attendees take part in a weeklong event featuring exhibits, education, and networking. If you plan to attend the event this April, the following seven tips will help you get ready.

 

  1. Don’t Forget to Register

Before doing anything else, your first step should be to secure your Market pass by registering for the event online. Registration opened in early January 2019, and now is the time to sign up.

Keep in mind that High Point Market is only open to members of the furnishing and design trades. You’ll need to provide proof of occupation along with your current state identification in order to register.

 

  1. Make Travel Arrangements

When planning your trip, you’ll find that you have a number of transportation options for getting to the Market venue. You can take advantage of rental car discount codes from several agencies or try the local rail service from NC By Train.

plane travel

Those who are flying into North Carolina can choose to land at one of three airports: Piedmont Triad International Airport (GSO), Raleigh-Durham International Airport (RDU), or Charlotte-Douglas International Airport (CLT). GSO is the closest point of arrival, but all three airports are within 90 miles of the High Point area.

 

  1. Book Accommodations

With more than 75,000 people expected to attend the five-day Market event, it should come as no surprise that hotels in High Point, North Carolina, fill up fast. To ensure that you have a place to stay, book your accommodations sooner rather than later. You can find local hotel information on the Hotels page in the Plan Your Trip section of the High Point Market website.

Also, keep in mind that private home rentals are an option. A home rental may be a particularly good idea for those who are visiting the Market with a group. Visit the Private Home Rentals page on the Market website if you’re considering this option.

 

  1. Check Out Pre-Market Activities

There is a lot going on leading up to the main Market activities in April. Soon after opening registration for the event, Market organizers announced the New Product Premiere program. It will feature introductions of notable products via social media.

A weeklong social media campaign called Inspiration Week will kick off Monday, February 18. It will include product-focused posts from the 2019 Style Spotters, a group of eight design and home furnishings experts. As part of Inspiration Week activities, the 2019 Style Spotters Advisors, Shay Geyer and Gary Inman, will also hold a sneak peek webinar on February 21 at 1 p.m. EST.

Other lead-up activities to be aware of include a weeklong series on LuAnn Nigara’s popular A Well-Designed Business podcast. During the week’s podcasts, which begin on February 25, Nigara will interview designers and explore activities taking place during Spring Market. In early March, Market organizers will invite followers to join the new product discussion via Pinterest and other social media channels.

 

  1. Get the MyMarket Planning Tool

While enjoying the pre-Market activities, take a few minutes and sign up for MyMarket. With this online planning tool, you can use any Windows, MacOS, iOS, or Android device to quickly search for exhibitors and learn about all the educational and social events at the Market. The tool also gives you the ability to save selected showrooms and events to your personal Market plan.

 

  1. Schedule Appointments

Another way to ensure that you have a great Market experience is by setting up appointments with exhibitors in advance. The regular showroom hours are 8 a.m. to 7 p.m. Saturday through Tuesday and 8 a.m. to 5 p.m. on Wednesday.

appointment

Fortunately, many exhibitors offer appointments for their showrooms outside of these published hours. Be sure to check the exhibitor list and reach out to those you’d like to meet with during the event.

 

  1. Use the Available Travel Services

If all this information about registering, making travel arrangements, and booking rooms has you feeling overwhelmed, you’ll be pleased to know that help is available. High Point Market has partnered with Travel Quest, Inc., to provide full-service travel planning.

Travel Quest is available to help you book a hotel, find a rental car, and reserve an airport shuttle without charge. For a nominal fee, the company will also help you with airline and rail service reservations.

Interested in learning more about how to prepare for the Spring 2019 High Point Market? You can find all the information you need at www.highpointmarket.org.

dining-room

Is It Time to Replace Your Furniture?

Unlike food, cosmetics, and other products with listed expiration dates, determining when it’s time to replace or update your home furnishings can be difficult. Of course, if your sofa or chair is ripped open and stuffing is falling out, then it’s obvious that a replacement is needed. More often than not, however, the signs aren’t as clear, and you may have furniture that is long overdue to be replaced without even knowing it.

Although home furnishings don’t come stamped with an expiration date, no piece of furniture is meant to last forever. If you’re on the fence about whether your furniture needs an update, there are several factors to consider, including its age, condition, and style. Keep reading to learn more about the longevity of furniture and the warning signs that your furnishings may need to be replaced.

 

How Long Should Furniture Last?

Providing a quick answer to this question can be difficult because there are a number of factors that can affect the life of your furniture. The craftsmanship and quality of the materials used in building them play a major role in their longevity. Other factors to consider include the amount and type of daily use. For example, a sofa that is used every day by a family with children and pets will most likely wear out much more quickly than one sitting in the formal living room of an elderly couple.

Of course, some furniture pieces can last a very long time, even hundreds of years. If this weren’t the case, there wouldn’t be antique shops selling all types of decades-old home furnishings. For most people, however, their everyday furniture isn’t going to last long enough to get passed down as a family heirloom. In fact, most pieces won’t even reach the 20-year mark. To help you plan ahead, here’s a breakdown of the average life span of common home furnishings:

living room

Sofas—In most homes, the typical sofa will last between seven and 15 years.

Upholstered armchairs—Your favorite recliner or wingback chair can last upwards of 10 years, but you may need to consider replacing it in as few as seven years.

Dining sets—If taken care of properly, the dining room table and chairs in your home can outlast many other pieces of furniture. The average dining set has a life span of 15 to 20 years.

Beds—Quality bed frames and headboards also typically last between 15 and 20 years.

Mattresses—Nearly all mattresses, on the other hand, will wear out before the 10-year mark. Some will need to be replaced after five years of use.

 

How to Determine Whether Your Furniture Needs to Go

Even when you know how long your furniture should last, you may have a hard time recognizing when it’s time to take a trip to your local furniture store. Of course, it can also be difficult to let go of a favorite couch or chair that has served you well for many years. Once a piece of furniture has reached the end of its useful life, however, replacing it before it falls apart completely is always a good idea. If you recognize any of the following four warning signs, you may want to consider a replacement.

Creaking noises—If you notice creaking or popping sounds every time you sit down on your chair or sofa, the piece probably has structural damage related to daily wear and tear. Over time, wood and metal components inside your furniture can weaken and break, leaving you with a noisy and uncomfortable sitting spot. While you may be able to repair this type of damage, the best option is often to replace the piece with a new one.

chair

Sagging—Once the structure of your furniture begins to fail, you may find yourself without the padding and support that you used to enjoy. While furniture sagging can result from worn seat cushions, it is often caused by the same damaged frame and broken springs that are creaking and popping with every move you make. Deciding whether to repair or replace a sagging piece of furniture should be based on the underlying cause of the sagging and the furniture’s age.

Rips, stains, scratches, and odors—With daily use, your sofas, chairs, mattresses, tables, and ottomans are all going to incur some type of damage regardless of how careful you are. It’s important to remember, however, that there is a difference between pieces of furniture with normal wear and those that are falling apart. Most minor stains, rips, and odors on furniture can be fixed. However, once your furnishings are no longer repairable, you may want to replace them.

Mismatched or outdated decor—As with other areas of life, the latest trends in home decor are soon replaced by the next big thing. If you’ve purchased many of your home furnishings separately, you may find yourself with an interior design scheme that is outdated and filled with mismatched pieces. While you want to get the most out of your furniture, there is nothing wrong with replacing it simply because you want something new.