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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.

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interior

10 Top Things to Know about Retail Marketing

Like all retailers, those in the furniture business rely on advertising and other forms of marketing to drive day-to-day sales. Regardless of whether you’re flying solo or leading a large team, you need to ensure that your marketing strategy is both affordable and effective at bringing customers into your store. Knowing what approach to take can be difficult, but understanding some marketing basics can help furniture retailers get the most out of their advertising dollars.

 

  1. Marketing is an investment.

The first thing to understand about retail marketing is that it should be viewed as an investment, rather than an expense. When used in the right ways, the money that you spend on advertising will attract and retain customers, boost sales, and increase business growth. Retailers who invest wisely in their marketing efforts should see a measurable return on that investment over time.

 

  1. Marketing budgets should be based on business goals.

Instead of planning a marketing budget based on sales percentages or total revenue, it’s better to allocate advertising dollars according to specific business goals. For instance, if you want to secure a certain number of new customers by the end of the quarter or the end of the year, you should consider what kind of advertising efforts it will take to accomplish your goal, and then budget accordingly.

 

business

 

  1. Not all advertising mediums are created equal.

Today’s retailers have access to a wide variety of advertising mediums, but that doesn’t mean that each one is as effective as the next. Choosing whether to focus more on traditional channels such as radio spots and print ads or digital outlets such as social media and pay-per-click advertising depends on a number of factors, including your brand image and marketing budget.

 

  1. Your target audience matters.

The most important factor to consider when selecting marketing channels and establishing an overall marketing strategy is your target audience. Retailers need to know their customers and understand how to reach them. Establishing a profile of current customers based on age, gender, locations, key occupations, income levels, and other factors will help you better direct your advertising efforts toward the right audience.

 

  1. There are plenty of low-cost marketing options.

When planning your marketing strategy, it’s important to remember that there are a number of ways to attract customers without breaking the bank. Some low-cost options to consider include in-store events, sales promotions, and sponsorships. Additionally, maintaining an active presence on social media provides a relatively easy way to connect with current and future customers without spending a dime.

 

  1. Manufacturers and other businesses can be marketing partners.

Another way to stretch your advertising budget is by partnering with the companies you work with on a day-to-day basis. If you plan to promote a specific brand or product, don’t hesitate to reach out to the manufacturer to see if they’re willing to collaborate on an advertising campaign. If you’re located in a busy commercial district, you can also work with neighboring businesses to attract more customers into the area.

 

chair

 

  1. A personal approach can be effective.

Taking a personal approach to promoting your business can go a long way toward attracting and retaining customers. Consider sending a personalized thank you note to those who make a large purchase or rewarding customer loyalty through individualized incentives and special offers. You can also get personal in the digital space with the help of modern tools that identify customers and track consumer behavior.

 

  1. Marketing automation and AI increase engagement.

Some of the modern tools at your disposal include marketing automation and artificial intelligence (AI). If you have an operational website, which is a key investment for any retailer today, you can use AI-based applications to better target customers based on their online shopping preferences. Automated emails and other online communications offer another way to engage with and provide a relevant online experience for each customer.

 

  1. Email marketing still works.

As a retailer, don’t overlook the effectiveness of emails. Even though much more sophisticated digital tools exist, email marketing still provides one of the most effective and affordable ways to reach out to customers. In fact, research has shown that email marketing offers a return on investment of up to 4,400 percent. You can capture email leads through your website by offering valuable information, discounts, and other exclusive offers to customers who sign up for your email subscriber list.

 

  1. It’s important to monitor marketing effectiveness.

Regardless of your overall marketing strategy, you or a member of your team needs to take an active role in monitoring your efforts. If you’ve purchased a radio or television ad, be sure that it is running at the correct times so that you get what you’ve paid for. You’ll also want to keep an eye on your digital advertising content and cut back on or eliminate anything that isn’t working. It may be a good idea to direct less of your marketing budget toward general advertising and more toward measurable marketing methods. These include emails, paid social media, and direct mail.

couch

What You Need to Know about the 2019 Winter Las Vegas Market

lasvegasmarketIt’s time to register for the 2019 Winter Las Vegas Market, which will bring together retailers, designers, and other professionals for four days of programming focused on furniture, gifts, and home decor. As one of the home furnishing industry’s most anticipated events, the Las Vegas Market features an unmatched product showcase comprising over 4,000 brands from leading manufacturers, as well as emerging companies.

While exploring the more than 5.4 million square feet of showroom space, attendees at the 2019 Winter Market will have an opportunity to view the latest furniture, home decor, bedding, lighting, and upholstery. Las Vegas Market will also feature a wealth of networking activities alongside unmatched educational programming offering insights into the latest industry trends. If you plan to attend, here are five things to know before you go:

 

  1. Market Dates, Hours, and Location

The 2019 winter edition of Las Vegas Market will take place January 27-31 at Las Vegas’ World Market Center. The venue comprises three separate buildings and two temporary pavilions. Showrooms in Buildings A, B, and C, featuring furniture, bedding, decor, and outdoor items, will be open from 8 a.m. to 6 p.m. from January 27-30 and 8 a.m. to 4 p.m. on January 31.

As home to exhibits featuring gifts and antiques, as well as handmade and artisanal products, the temporary pavilions will be open from 9 a.m. to 6 p.m. most days of the Market. The final day to visit Pavilion 1 will be Wednesday, January 30 from 9 a.m. to 4 p.m. Attendees will still have an opportunity to explore Pavilion 2 on Thursday, January 31, but the space will only be open from 9 a.m. to 2 p.m.

 

  1. How to Register

As a trade show for professionals in the home decor, furnishings, and gift industries, Las Vegas Market is completely free to attend for those who can provide proof-of-trade documentation, which can include industry-related business licenses, business cards, and past invoices from Las Vegas Market exhibitors. All attendees are also required to provide state- or government-issued photo identification.

Las Vegas Market offers pre-registration for buyers and suppliers, independent business representatives, and non-exhibiting manufacturers. After arriving at the Market, registered attendees can pick up their required registration badges at special scan-and-go locations and partner hotels. Those who forget to pre-register or who prefer to register in person can take advantage of the on-site registration services available on each day of the event.

 

  1. Lodging Options

For its 2019 winter event, Las Vegas Market has negotiated special rates with 26 area hotels. While rates vary from one property to the next, guests can expect to pay anywhere from $39 to $275 per night at one of the Market’s official housing partners. Those who book a room through Las Vegas Market aren’t required to pre-pay for their stay, and each registered guest is entered into a special drawing for show tickets, dinner, hotel upgrades, and other incentives. Of course, attendees also have the option of handling their own housing registration at one of the many available Las Vegas hotels.

 

bedroom

 

  1. Seminars and Events

In addition to providing a variety of exhibits, the main attractions at Las Vegas Market will include seminars, discussions, networking activities, and other special events. During the 2019 winter edition of the Market, attendees will have an opportunity to take part in learning activities focused on design trends and business management. The educational programming will include discussions on tableware, urban design, home accessories, and e-commerce. The Market will also feature seminars on merchandising, business profitability, and client relations.

In order to help attendees to navigate the showroom displays, Las Vegas Market is offering the special Furniture Market 411 Tour on Sunday, January 27, and Monday, January 28. Hosted by designer Glen Peloso, the 411 Tour will help designers and retailers to find the products and suppliers that will work best for their business. The Market will also offer attendees the popular FIRST LOOK tour, which will highlight the latest products in categories such as furniture, gifts, housewares, and handmade products.

Featuring many opportunities for networking, Market will offer guests the chance to attend an evening reception nightly from 6 p.m. to 8 p.m. at the Grand Plaza Courtyard of Building A. The relaxing reception will feature music and a cash bar. Other notable networking activities that will be held as part of the Winter Las Vegas Market include the 2019 WOW Awards Dinner and the 2019 Housewares Design Awards Celebration.

 

  1. The Market App

Available on both the App Store and Google Play, the Las Vegas Market app is the perfect tool to help attendees to plan and enjoy their Market experience. The app includes floorplans, an exhibitor directory, and product lists that attendees can access while on the go. Additionally, the app features the Market Planner tool, which offers attendees an opportunity to create a custom itinerary for each day of the event.

shopping

How to Host a Great In-Store Event

Today’s furniture retailers are working in a market that is much different than it was just a decade or so ago. With easy access to online shopping via computers and mobile devices, modern consumers are certainly not lacking for options when they want to spend money on a new product. Unlike many other areas of retail, however, the home furnishings industry is still largely driven by brick-and-mortar sales. Furniture retailers looking to stay ahead of the competition must focus on creating a great experience for every customer who walks through their door.

One way to deliver a remarkable experience while boosting your brand is by hosting an in-store event. Fortunately, hosting a successful event at your store doesn’t have to be a headache. Here is some advice to help you on your way:

 

Preparation Tips

 

  1. Plan well in advance

While you shouldn’t let planning an event take over your professional and/or personal life, it is important to take the time needed to put all the necessary moving parts together. It’s best to begin planning at least 90 days beforehand—and don’t forget to set a timeline with attainable goals along the way. During the planning phase, think about the timing of the event and make a list of what you want to accomplish to ensure that you’re successful.

 

  1. Set a budget

Another important part of the planning process involves sorting out your budget so that you do not overspend. After you’ve decided on what to do during the event, carefully calculate the costs of promotional items, marketing materials, staff, and other needs before establishing your budget. Having a budget in place will also help you assess your return on investment after you wrap up the event.

 

  1. Get the word out

You can’t expect people to show up to an event that they don’t hear about. Be sure to focus heavily on marketing and don’t hesitate to use multiple forms of media to get the word out. You can send out invitations to customers via postal mail, e-mail, and social media. Print ads and outdoor advertising are also effective. If possible, you can create more buzz about your event by reaching out to journalists and local media outlets to help share your story.

 

instagram

 

What to Do the Day of the Event

 

  1. Consider offering freebies

Who doesn’t love giveaways? One of the best ways that you can boost attendance at your event is by offering free stuff. Providing free food and drinks is always a good idea, but you can also hand out goody bags with promotional items and discount offers. For an added draw, consider having a prize raffle. If you go this route, be sure to capitalize on your investment by collecting valuable customer info from those who enter.

 

  1. Get out the camera

After going through all the work of planning and hosting an event, it’s important to document the activities via photos and video. If you’re uncomfortable or unskilled behind the camera, consider delegating the task to a staff member or hiring a professional for the job. Don’t forget to get your guests’ permission if you plan to post the photos and videos to social media or your website.

 

  1. Don’t oversell

While the whole point of hosting an in-store event is to boost sales, it’s important to focus on creating a great experience rather than pushing products onto your customers. Give your guests the opportunity to explore your store and browse on their own without you or your staff getting too “salesy.” Those who are thinking about making a purchase during the event will be more likely to do so if they are comfortable and having a good time, so be sure to make that your priority.

 

shopping

 

How to Follow Up

 

  1. Post photos and event highlights

In the days and weeks following your event, keep the buzz going by posting photos, videos, and recaps on your website and social media pages. If any special guests, community groups, or business partners took part in the activities, don’t forget to mention them in your posts. Also, look around for other people sharing info about the event and send them thanks.

 

  1. Send out follow-up offers

As a thank you to those who attended, you can send discount offers via e-mail or traditional mail to any guest whose information you collected during the event. You can also send out a blanket thank you to the community by offering a “second-chance” promotion to those who were unable to attend.

 

  1. Reflect and start planning the next one

Once everything has settled down, gather your staff to discuss what worked and what didn’t. This is also the time to review your goals and see how well you did at achieving them. In addition, it’s important to crunch numbers to evaluate your budget and overall return on investment. With this information in hand, you can refine and improve your strategy for your next in-store event.

ecommerce

Here Are the Top Qualities of an Excellent Retail Website

It should come as no surprise that it’s critical for furniture retailers to have an effective website to be successful in today’s market. The home furnishings industry as a whole has been somewhat slow to embrace certain technologies, but retailers can’t deny the power of the Internet. Maintaining a presence online is now more important than ever as consumers continue to turn to the web to communicate with friends and family, keep up with the news, and connect with all types of businesses.

Whether you’ve just gotten started or your business is already well-established online, there a few things you can do to ensure that you stand out among other retailers on the web.

Read on for some of the top features of a standout website.

 

Effective Design

Design is important for all websites, but those that offer items for purchase need to ensure that the products are the star of the show. Regardless of whether yours is an e-commerce site or not, the focus should be on the sofas, chairs, tables, beds, and other furniture items you offer. Typically, a sleek, simple design is more effective than a layout with a host of effects that may distract from the products.

online shopping

However, it’s not necessarily a bad thing to add some “wow factor” elements that can stimulate consumers visually and draw their eyes to promotions and call-to-actions. The best website designs showcase new and popular products while making it easy for consumers to find and browse the specific items they’re looking for.

 

Simple Navigation

With effective design and layout, navigating through your website should be simple, logical, and intuitive. Prospective customers who are browsing your products online are often in a hurry, and nothing will kill a potential sale more quickly than a frustrating user experience. In fact, studies have shown that over three-quarters of all consumers cite ease of use as the most important characteristic of any website.

On yours, be sure that product categories are clearly labeled, and don’t hesitate to include filters and comparison capabilities to help users narrow down their search. For retailers of daily use products like furniture, it’s also a good idea to feature easy-to-find customer reviews and FAQs that can assist buyers in their purchasing decision.

 

Search Capabilities

Simple navigation will go a long way toward helping your customers find what they’re looking for, but some will still run into trouble locating certain products. This is particularly true of larger sites featuring several product categories that all contain a variety of options. A simple sitewide search function can help customers get right to the product they want without having to wade through multiple links along the way.

In addition to offering site-wide search capabilities, giving site visitors the ability to check the inventory in your brick-and-mortar store is also worth the investment. Often, the main purpose of a furniture retail website is to get shoppers into a physical location. Enabling customers to see what’s in their local showroom can definitely help accomplish this goal. If you offer an inventory look-up function on your website, however, be sure that it is current with accurate pricing and availability information.

 

Eye-Catching Visual Content

You can’t sell anything online without quality photos that clearly and accurately display your product offerings. Text can be effective, but images are what matter most in the modern age. It’s also important to remember that today’s consumers have come to expect multi-media visual content that gives them the ability to see products from multiple angles and in different environments. To make the most of your website, offer several high-resolution photos of each product and make sure they are optimized to reduce page-load times, which plays an important role in keeping consumers engaged.

Along with quality photos, effective websites use animation and other visual content to drive attention and quickly tell a story. Eye-catching logos, menus, and banners can improve engagement even further and keep customers on your site for longer. Partnering with a proven website developer can help you put all of your visual content together most effectively.

 

checkout cart

 

Simple Checkouts

If you give customers the ability to buy items through your website, it’s crucial that you make the checkout process as simple as possible. While maintaining security, avoid over-complicating things with too many steps that can lead users to abandon their shopping cart (which happens with nearly 70 percent of all online transactions). Don’t forget to include an easy-to-find shopping cart icon to help speed up the purchasing process.

It’s also a good idea to offer advanced payment options and ensure that customers know what payment methods you accept before proceeding with their purchase. Of course, credit and debit cards are the most common forms of accepted payment, but you may also consider accepting PayPal, Apple Pay, gift vouchers, cash on delivery, and even bitcoin.

living-room

What Will the Future of Furniture Retail Look Like?

furnitureOver the last 10 to 15 years, many retailers in the United States have experienced some ups and downs due to fluctuations in the economy and changes in consumers’ buying habits. These and other factors have undoubtedly affected the world of furniture retail, but the US home furnishings market is now enjoying a fair amount of growth. Thanks in large part to a healthy housing market, sales of furniture and home furnishings have steadily increased since 2013. With spending on furniture and bedding up 3.3 percent in 2017, retailers can be optimistic about the future of the home furnishings market, which is projected to continue growing at least through 2019.

While continued market growth is good news for furniture retailers, now is not the time to be complacent. Consumers are changing their habits, finding new ways to research and purchase goods, so marketing and sales strategies need to change as well. At the same time, some traditional ways of reaching customers are still working. Knowing how to adapt while sticking with the things that continue to work will be the key to success in the future of furniture retail.

 

Brick & mortar holds steady

While online furniture sales have increased dramatically since the 2000s, brick-and-mortar stores still dominate. Unlike other product categories such as music and videos, electronics, and home décor, online penetration into the furniture market remains relatively low. In fact, online sales in the $125 billion furniture industry only represent 5 percent to 6 percent of retail.

The relatively small success of online furniture sales can be attributed to a few factors. First, furniture is a hard sell online and, without massive local fulfillment solutions, large furniture items are very expensive to ship. E-commerce giants like Wayfair and Amazon may have success selling lamps and other small home furnishings, but these sales are having little impact on brick-and-mortar furniture businesses, which continue to thrive by selling larger, pricier items like chairs, sofas, and sectionals.

 

kitchen furniture

 

Retailers boost their presence online

Though brick-and-mortar stores have the advantage over many online players, online retailing can offer traditional furniture businesses plenty of opportunities to boost sales and reach more customers. Savvy retailers know this and have already adapted their business plans to include more online technology.

Boosting their business’ online presence through websites and social media gives retailers the opportunity to improve customer engagement and remote sales while strengthening their brick-and-mortar strategy. In today’s Internet-driven world, studies have shown that as much as 75 percent of consumers research products online prior to visiting a physical store to make a purchase. The fact that online marketing and merchandising essentially drive customers to a store’s doorstep is not going unnoticed. In the future of furniture retail, businesses that effectively retool their strategies to balance their online presence with a great in-store experience will continue to find the most success.

 

Technology supports a better shopping experience

Along with maintaining a presence online, furniture retailers are working to improve the overall customer experience by embracing established and emerging technologies, including mobile-friendly apps and websites. As an increasing number of people use their mobile devices to browse for and purchase various items, planning customer-engagement strategies with mobility in mind is now more important than ever. Many retailers are also beginning to utilize mobile devices in stores to help sales associates better serve their customers.

Augmented reality (AR) is a newer technology that is particularly suited for the furniture industry. AR gives consumers the ability to virtually see how an item will look in their home next to their other existing furniture, which can help to reduce hesitation over purchasing big-ticket items. AR features can be incorporated into websites, apps, or self-service digital kiosks (which are part of another growing area of in-store technology).

 

furniture

 

Manufacturing adapts to changing lifestyles

As retailers adapt to changing sales and marketing strategies, furniture manufacturers are taking new approaches to furniture design. Lifestyle trends among millennials, generation Xers, and baby boomers have spurred furniture manufacturers to begin diversifying their product offerings to better meet the needs of each group.

Unlike the typical furniture shopper of previous generations, more consumers today value affordability over durability. Instead of buying high-dollar pieces that will last 20 years or more, most people, especially millennials, are looking for more cost-effective furniture that they can use for a few years before moving on to something else.

A growing interest in sustainability issues and the increased use of technology among millennials and other consumer groups are also leading manufacturers to design and produce environmental- and tech-friendly pieces. Other consumer segments making an impact on furniture manufacturing include the increasing number of renters and single-person households. These groups are more likely to demand furniture that is affordable, space saving, and multifunctional.

business

Traditional Marketing Actually Matters in the New Digital Age

While it’s important for today’s furniture retailers to market via social media and other digital channels, doing so should not come at the expense of traditional marketing efforts. Of course, most prospective customers are spending a significant amount of time online, but they are still reading the newspaper, watching television, and tuning into the radio. In fact, the average person spends 112 minutes each day listening to the radio and five hours each day in front of the TV. Also, while online and satellite radio services are increasingly popular, more than 90 percent of Americans still listen to AM/FM stations and all of the advertising they broadcast.

People are also exposed to visual advertising each day when they drive past billboards on their way to work and return home to find flyers and brochures in their mailboxes. It’s true that the ways people consume information have changed, but the types of advertising and promotion that worked prior to the digital age are still effective at spreading a brand’s message among potential customers. The fact that radio, television, and print media remain an integral part of most people’s daily routines is exactly why furniture retailers should continue to include these channels in their marketing campaigns. Read on to learn more about traditional marketing methods and find out how you can make them work for your business.

 

Traditional Marketing Channels for Furniture Retailers

Direct mail and printed ads—In a largely brick-and-mortar industry like furniture retail, direct mail can be very effective at generating sales. This is particularly true of small retailers that rely on local customers to remain in business. Flyers, brochures, and even postcards are especially useful for advertising in-store events and other special offers.

mail

Direct mail is also perfect for delivering coupons, which are great tools for getting customers into a store. In a recent survey of furniture shoppers, 70 percent of respondents said that a coupon or ad delivered to their mailbox had led them to take action on a purchase within the last year.

While the main goal of direct mail campaigns is to increase store traffic, they also work for retailers looking to simply boost their brand awareness. In fact, studies have shown that brand recall is much higher among those who received direct mailers as opposed to digital advertisements sent via email.

 

Outdoor advertising—Falling under the category of out-of-home (OOH) advertising, billboards are common, hard-to-miss sights along highways and freeways across the United States. Like direct mail, billboards are strongly effective at promoting brand recall among those who notice them, and they are great tools for advertising sales, new product lines, and store grand openings.

Advancements in digital technology have led to billboards with giant LED screens that bring an advertising message to life using vivid colors and eye-catching movement. It’s also important to note that OOH advertising isn’t limited to billboards. To promote their store, furniture retailers can also use smaller signage on bus benches, public transport, and vehicles.

 

Radio and TV spots—Although radio and television advertisements are more expensive than other traditional marketing channels, they are also among the most effective. Retailers on a budget may want to forgo the TV commercials and opt instead for a radio ad, which is a more affordable option that still has the ability to reach a large number of people. While the exact figure varies among industries, radio advertisements have the ability to generate up to $17 in revenue for every dollar spent on the ad.

Despite the expense, the main benefit of advertising on television is that it gives retailers the ability to use sight, sound, and motion to showcase their products while attaching personality to their business. Consumers also trust TV commercials more than other forms of advertising, which is great for retailers looking to build credibility in their community.

 

Tips to Consider

Now that you know about the traditional marketing channels available to furniture retailers, how can you use them to spread your business’ message? Here are a few quick tips for creating an effective advertising campaign:

post office

 

  1. Target the right audience.

For direct mail campaigns, it’s important for retailers to understand their customer demographics and find ways to target those who will most likely come into their stores. Tools like the U.S. Post Office’s Every Door Direct Mail (EDDM) program can be helpful in accomplishing this goal.

 

  1. Run multiple advertisements.

Whether it’s in a newspaper, on the radio, or on TV, a single advertisement alone isn’t very effective at attracting new customers. Running different ads simultaneously in several formats or running the same ad for an extended period will do a better job of boosting business awareness.

 

  1. Be creative.

Just because they’re labeled “traditional” doesn’t mean that billboard, print, radio, and TV ads should hold back on the creativity. Advertisements with eye-catching logos and designs, and well-crafted photos, videos, and ad copy will attract more attention and potentially more business.

 

  1. Reach out to the community.

Along with using creativity in the content of their advertisements, furniture retailers should be creative in the other ways they communicate their brand locally. Donating products for local contests and raffles or sponsoring sports teams, community groups, and/or events offers retailers the opportunity to fulfill marketing objectives while showing potential customers they are committed to their community.

pinterest

What You Should Know about Using Pinterest for Social Marketing

In the world of retail marketing, visual content is just as important as written content. In fact, it’s often more important. This is particularly true for product categories such as furniture. Next to the fashion and beauty industries, few areas of retail rely more on visual presentation to connect with consumers than home furnishings.

Within brick-and-mortar furniture stores, retailers use thoughtful visual merchandising to highlight each product’s best features and demonstrate how customers can use the items on the showroom floor in their own living spaces. Outside of physical stores, furniture retailers leverage visual advertising to draw customers into their shops. Despite the fact that many furniture retailers understand the important role that visual presentation plays in their advertising efforts, many are missing a great opportunity to spread their message even further through social media.

While almost all social media platforms support photo and video posts, few are as visually focused as Pinterest. And now that many consumers are actively using Pinterest to search for products and ideas, all furniture retailers should be thinking of ways to reach out to potential customers via the platform. Those who do so will find that Pinterest can be an ideal tool for showcasing their product offerings.

 

pinterest

 

Why Furniture Retailers Should Take Pinterest Seriously

Within the last several years, Pinterest has become one of the largest and fastest-growing social networks. The platform has over 200 million active monthly users. The visual nature of Pinterest has made it the go-to network for users to share and discover new interests. Through new features such as visual search and in-app purchases, the platform is also quickly becoming a preferred shopping tool for many social media users, including a large number of millennials who are on Pinterest more than any other age group. According to recent statistics, Pinterest is the top shopping platform among millennials. Over 55 percent of all Pinterest users turn to the site to buy various items.

Even those who do not use the platform to directly buy products use it to plan purchases. In fact, a recent study found that 93 percent of people in the Pinterest community have used “pins” to plan purchases, and 87 percent reported that Pinterest pins have played a major role when they made purchasing decisions. What’s important for furniture retailers to note is that among the various topics available to browse on Pinterest, home decor is one of the most popular. People are now on Pinterest to not only find decorating and design ideas, but to also browse for and buy home decor products, including furniture.

 

Tips for Using Pinterest as a Marketing Tool

The good news for furniture retailers who are just getting started on Pinterest is that the platform is very easy to use. It has many of the same sharing and community-engagement features of other social networks. However, marketing on Pinterest requires a somewhat different approach than on Instagram, Twitter, or Facebook. Following are few tips for retailers to consider.

 

  • Create a visual experience.

Anyone who has been on Pinterest knows that it is full of visual content. Furniture brands and retailers looking to make a marketing impact on the platform should focus on creating a visual experience with pins containing high-quality product photos. In addition to photos of the products themselves, it is also a good idea to pin “lifestyle” pictures that show products in a naturalistic home decor setting. These types of photos will also help users to find product photos via Pinterest’s visual search function, which supports approximately 600 million visual searches each month.

 

  • Don’t forget about searchable keywords.

Unlike other social media platforms, Pinterest is a powerful search engine that handles more than 2 billion searches on a monthly basis. A large number of Pinterest users even prefer the platform to traditional search engines such as Google. With so many people using the network to search for products and ideas, it’s critical for retailers to include keyword-focused pin descriptions alongside their product photos. Searchable descriptions should include trending keywords related to the featured product’s style and design, material, and/or function. It’s still important, however, to keep descriptions short and let the photos speak for themselves.

 

  • Use Pinterest’s specialized pins.

Pinterest offers several solutions for retailers to promote their products and drive traffic to their store website. The solutions include Promoted Pins, which are essentially paid Pinterest advertisements. According to Pinterest, over 60 percent of users have discovered new products or made purchases after seeing a Promoted Pin. Additionally, Pinterest reports that over 70 percent of users have said that Promoted Pins and other business content make the platform more helpful. Along with promoted advertising, retailers can take advantage of Rich Pins, which provide more context about a product, and Buyable Pins, which enable users to purchase products directly through the Pinterest page.

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How to Improve the Customer Experience in Furniture Retail

Furniture retail has taken a hit in recent years due to a slump in home buying and a significant decrease in spending on home furnishings. In fact, the home furnishings market has seen a 25-percent drop in consumer spending over the last 25 years. This reduced spending correlates with a decline in homeownership among younger adults. In the mid-1970s, over half (52 percent) of adults 24 to 34 years of age owned a home. Today, less than a third (29 percent) of adults in that age group are homeowners. Renters and those living with family are less likely to invest in home furnishings, and this has negatively affected many furniture retailers’ bottom line.

Despite these trends, it appears that furniture retailers are approaching the proverbial light at the end of the tunnel. Retail spending as a whole is improving, and the furniture market is poised to experience a boost in sales as more young people start to buy homes. The huge Millennial generation, which is projected to comprise 73 million people by 2019, is now the largest group of homebuyers. More young people buying homes is good news for furniture retailers, but it doesn’t guarantee that customers will start pouring through store doors and dropping large sums of money.

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Industry experts have been providing retailers with guidance on how to increase and improve store visits. Although e-commerce dominates other areas of retail, the furniture industry is still a brick-and-mortar business that relies heavily on in-store purchases. Business leaders in the industry must stay focused on making their stores successful if they want to take advantage of upcoming opportunities. The following provides an overview of suggestions for retailers to improve the overall shopping experience and, in turn, secure more sales.

 

Integrate Technology into Shopping Experiences

Although many consumers still prefer to shop for furniture in-person, retailers should not overlook technology’s ability to attract customers and make it easier for them to find the products they want. At the most basic level, all furniture retailers should have a well-designed website that provides engaging content to hold the attention of prospective customers. Such a website serves as a digital storefront where customers can find product images and descriptions along with reviews and other resources that will make it easier for them to decide on a purchase once they are inside the store.

Beyond an informative and easy-to-use website, retailers can enhance the in-store experience by integrating useful technologies into the store layout. Kiosks with apps that provide customer reviews and shopping guides can build customer confidence and direct them to the items they are looking for. Offering augmented reality (AR) capabilities on store kiosks, apps, and websites is another way to improve furniture shopping. AR gives customers the opportunity to see how an item of furniture will look in their home and/or next to other pieces before they make a purchase. Although AR technology requires a significant initial investment, it can lead to more sales after customers virtually “try out” the furniture.

 

Improve Retail Floor Design

While optimizing store layout is important for all retailers, it is even more critical in the furniture industry. The showroom floor is where store managers can display complementary products and encourage customers to purchase a set of items rather than just a single piece. It also gives retailers the opportunity to show off big-ticket items and create displays featuring products found on the store website.

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To make the most of their retail space, storeowners should display product groupings designed for both small and large living spaces. Retailers can take it one step further by customizing their displays with those items that customers in the local neighborhood are looking to buy. This type of segmentation requires research, but it can also lead to increased sales and improved inventory management. Regardless of the products on display, it’s important to have a clean, uncluttered showroom floor that customers can easily navigate from the front to the back of the store.

 

Don’t Forget the Basics

Certain store improvements may be impossible for some business owners to implement, but all furniture retailers can do a few basic things to enhance their customers’ shopping experiences. In addition to following the above tips for a better store layout, retailers should make it a point to thoroughly train their employees. Managers and sales teams with in-depth knowledge of the products they are selling can educate customers and help them find what they need. This type of quality service can increase sales and help establish long-term customer relationships.

Along with investing in their employees, all furniture retailers need to understand their market. Running a successful furniture store requires good advertising and wise product selection, but neither of these can be accomplished without understanding the customer base. Market knowledge also informs product pricing and helps ensure retailers can offer the value and personalized attention that will help them remain competitive.

An Insider’s Guide to the Las Vegas Market – What You Need to Know

lasvegasmarketlogoFurniture and home decor professionals from across the country gather at the biannual Las Vegas Market to see the latest styles and trends in home furnishings and interior design. The expansive market features more than 4,000 brands across over 5.4 million square feet of showroom space. In addition to furniture for all rooms in the home, the products on display include bedding, textiles, housewares, floor coverings, lighting, and wall décor.

The 2018 Summer Las Vegas Market takes place July 29 through August 2. Organizers of the five-day event are looking to build on the success of the 2018 Winter Market, which saw a record number of buyers and suppliers in attendance. Those planning to take part in the event can plan ahead so that they know what to expect when they get to Las Vegas. Check out this quick guide for valuable information about the Las Vegas Market.

 

Registration Details

The Las Vegas Market is free to attend. Registration for the event, however, is limited to those who work in the home furnishings, gift, and design trades. This includes furniture retailers and manufacturers, interior decorators, architects, and product distributors.

In addition to government-issued photo identification, all attendees are required to provide proof-of-trade documents to show that they are a member of the home furnishings and/or design industries. Las Vegas Market officials accept business cards and business licenses as well as previous Market purchase orders/invoices to establish proof-of-trade status.

Although guests are welcome to register for the Market at the on-site registration tent, event organizers recommend that attendees register online prior to their arrival. Those who register before the show can pick up their badges using scan-and-go kiosks at the registration tent and select partner hotels (Aria and the Golden Nugget).

 

Where to Stay

The Summer Las Vegas Market is partnering with over two dozen Las Vegas properties to provide attendees with special hotel rates for booking dates from July 28, 2018, to August 2, 2018. Depending on where one stays, daily rates at the partner hotels range from $28 to $270.

Attendees can choose to stay on the Las Vegas Strip or at one of the off-strip partner hotels, including Marriott Las Vegas, Springhill Suites, and Signature at MGM. Available properties also include non-gaming hotels such as Hilton Grand Vacations Club, Mandarin Oriental, and Elara.

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The Best Way to Get Around

To save on airfare, those flying into Las Vegas can book a flight with one of the Las Vegas Market’s partner airlines. Partners include WestJet, Air Canada, and United Airlines. Copa Airlines and Delta Air Lines are also offering discounted airfare for event attendees. Available discounts include rates up to 15 percent off the regular price.

After arriving in Las Vegas, Market attendees can rent a car or choose from other available transportation options, including taxis and on-demand car services such as Lyft and Uber. Low-cost shuttles from McCarren International Airport to Las Vegas hotels are also available. Attendees staying at select host hotels can also take advantage of complimentary shuttles to and from Las Vegas Market every morning, afternoon, and evening of the event.

 

Making the Most of the Market Experience

With so much to see and do at the Las Vegas Market, it can be difficult for both first-time and experienced attendees to know where to start. Fortunately, the Las Vegas Market offers numerous tools and resources to make it easier to plan for and explore the event.

The Market Planner is a new digital tool that allows attendees to create and save custom itineraries outlining the sessions they want to experience and the exhibitors they want to meet. Available for iPhone and Android devices, the Las Vegas Market app is another valuable attendee resource. The app, which is updated prior to each Las Vegas Market, includes floor plans, an exhibitor directory, seminar schedules, and a listing of available dining options.

Along with digital tools, Las Vegas Market offers a variety of print publications to help attendees get the most out of their visit. Available publications include the comprehensive Market Resource Guide, the Designer’s Guide to Las Vegas Market, Pavilions Magazine, and the First Look style guide, which highlights the top new trends and products featured at the Market.

 

Things to Do Afterhours

After a long day of exploring products and attending seminars, Market attendees can unwind at on-site happy hour bars or the spacious Grand Plaza Courtyard, which offers refreshments each evening of the event. Off the Market grounds, a number of fun activities are available for those who want to enjoy local attractions. Market organizers suggest side trips to the Ethel M. Chocolate Factory, the Neon Museum Boneyard, and the Bellagio Gallery of Fine Arts. More information about what to see and do during the Las Vegas Market is available at www.lasvegasmarket.com.