Marketing

recliners

Reclining Furniture – A Look at the Latest Features and Trends

The recliner is a longtime favorite among people who value comfort in their homes. Over the years, this beloved piece of furniture has advanced with the times to include many features that previous generations would have never considered.

Today’s consumers can also find recliners in a wide variety of styles, fabrics, and sizes to fit any home, budget, and design scheme. Additionally, multi-seater reclining sofas are becoming increasingly popular as more people look to boost the comfort level in their homes and commercial spaces such as theaters, auditoriums, and office reception areas. If you’re in the market for new reclining furniture, check out the following features and trends that are driving this area of furniture retail.

 

Current Trends

According to a recent Consumer Trends Buying Survey from Furniture Today, casual styles of reclining chairs are the most readily available in furniture stores. In 2017, these styles accounted for nearly 40 percent of all the reclining units on showroom floors. Among the styles, those selling at middle ($500 to $899) and low price points (below $499) are the most popular. Furniture Today’s survey also revealed that while leather is the most popular covering for recliners, a variety of fabrics are available, including faux leather, vinyl, and polyurethane. Recently, “green” fabrics have also significantly increased in popularity because more consumers are looking for sustainable furniture options.

In the area of reclining sofas, recent research from Technavio shows that increasing demand from younger consumers, particularly millennials, is driving the market. These and other consumer groups are turning more frequently to private-label and niche furniture brands for their reclining furniture. However, well-established retailers such as Ashley HomeStores are still playing a major role in connecting consumers with these furniture styles. In fact, the increasing demand for reclining sofas is driving retailers of all sizes to expand their product offerings in this area.

 

Available Features

As is the case with other areas of life, technology is finding its way into the furniture that people use each day. This is quite evident in the latest features that you will find in reclining furniture of all styles and sizes. Along with the classic comfort that recliners offer, today’s consumers can now enjoy phone chargers, LED lights, full-body massagers, and Bluetooth capability built into their recliners. Even lower-end reclining pieces are receiving a boost from more subtle features such as power-activated footrests and headrests.

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Types of Recliners

As far as basic styles are concerned, the reclining furniture market is certainly not limited. Furniture stores carry a wide variety of traditional recliners with plush padding and an overstuffed look alongside sleek and contemporary pieces with sharp lines and angular edges. Other popular styles are more transitional. These options work well in both classic design schemes and contemporary spaces. Timeless styles that are still widely available include club chair and high-leg recliners, which offer a reclining feature without the recliner look.

In addition to a range of styles, recliners offer several options when it comes to the types of reclining mechanisms they use. One of the main options is the pushback recliner, which you can recline by pushing on the chair’s back while holding the arms. Other recliners have a mechanical handle, lever, or pull-loop to activate the reclining mechanism. In most cases, these options feature two positions: upright and fully reclined.

Along with basic power recliners that recline with the touch of a button, there are also fully automated power chairs available that both recline and lift. Many of these offer several reclining positions, as well as a rising mechanism that enables a person to get on their feet safely and easily. This option, which is typically referred to as a riser recliner, is most well-suited for individuals with mobility issues. While they can be pricey, riser recliners may qualify for rebates if they’re purchased for medical reasons.

 

Purchasing Considerations

If you’re ready to purchase a new piece of reclining furniture, there are several things to consider. Once you’ve established your preferred style, your next step should be to evaluate how much space you have for your new furniture. Be sure to account for the space you’ll need when the piece is fully reclined. You’ll want one that you can recline without making it difficult for others to move throughout the room. Also, whether it’s a reclining chair or sofa, you need to make sure that you have enough space in the back to recline without bumping into walls or other furniture.

Other important considerations to keep in mind are the materials used to build the recliner. In many cases, reclining pieces are among the most popular furniture items in a home. Because of this, it’s important to select a piece that is durable and resistant to staining. Leather and microfiber are both good covering options for durability and stain resistance. It’s also a good idea to opt for reclining furniture with high-density foam cushions, which will hold their shape under frequent use.

Of course, before making a purchase, you should be sure to try out the piece out in both the upright and reclining positions. The best recliners will be sturdy and comfortable and feature easy-to-use reclining mechanisms with smooth action.

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furniture

This Is What’s Happening Right Now in the Home Furnishings Industry

With the US economy improving, furniture retailers and other business leaders in the home furnishings industry have the opportunity to attract customers with more money to spend on large-ticket items such as furniture. However, retailers must learn how to reach a customer base that is embracing e-commerce while still craving quality in-store experiences.

Retailers are also working with a varied group of consumers who differ in their shopping habits and preferences when it comes to what they value in a retail experience. Many of these consumers lean heavily on technology in their day-to-day lives and are attracted to retail brands that are both digitally savvy and in tune with their wants and needs.

Read on to learn more about how these and other major trends are currently driving the home furnishings industry.

 

Economic Growth

In 2018 a strong US economy led to an increase in personal disposable income and a boost in consumer confidence. These and other factors helped the year end on a high note, including a significant increase in holiday spending. In-store and online sales during the 2018 holiday season topped $850 billion, the highest in six years. The economic growth that occurred prior to and during 2018 was also marked by low unemployment rates and a boom in housing, which is a promising trend for furniture and other home furnishings retailers.

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Despite recent growth, however, not all retailers thrived. Major companies such as Sears and Mattress Firm filed for bankruptcy, while others are still struggling to find their way in the market. Going forward, experts anticipate that the furniture market will continue to grow, but retailers are still facing uncertainty due to trade issues.

 

Generational Spending

Another challenge for today’s furniture retailers lies in the changing demographics that are currently shaping the retail economy. Millennials are poised to overtake baby boomers in number during 2019. This means that retailers must find ways to reach millennials and tap into their buying power, which Money Inc. reports is currently around $600 billion.

Meanwhile, a younger group of consumers known as Generation Z is beginning to enter adulthood. By 2020, this group will account for one-third of the population. Fortunately for retailers, millennials and Generation Z value similar things in a retail experience. Retail leaders who focus on digital promotion while providing personalized services will have the most success with these two consumer groups.

 

An Evolving Market

In addition to changing demographics, retailers must also contend with an evolving market environment, requiring the development of new strategic plans. Despite claims that retail is dead, it’s important to remember that changing consumer attitudes and behaviors have always shaped the market and led to changes in the way retailers do business.

Today, the current retail evolution is all about customer engagement rather than customer acquisition. Regardless of whether it’s online or in a brick-and-mortar store, the modern consumer prefers retail businesses that offer quality products, personalized services, and unique experiences.

 

Brick-and-Mortar Retail Gets Creative

In order to attract the modern consumer and compete with online giants like Amazon, brick-and-mortar retailers are focusing more on providing a top-notch in-store experience. The good news for those in furniture retail is that a large majority of consumers still prefer to purchase furniture at a physical store location. This means that today’s retailers who fail to inspire customers to visit their store are losing out on a large market segment.

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Successful retailers know that getting customers into a furniture store starts with marketing, but persuading them to stay and, ultimately, make a purchase relies on other factors. Well-organized merchandizing along with displays that enable customers to easily find and physically interact with the available products increases engagement. Creative visual displays, friendly salespeople, and a welcoming atmosphere can also encourage customers to spend more time in a store, which can translate into increased sales.

 

Retailers Embrace Technology

Although brick-and-mortar dominates furniture retail, digital technology still plays a major role in the overall customer experience. Recent statistics show that only 14 percent of consumers prefer to purchase furniture through a website, but over 90 percent of customers will browse online for products before ultimately making a purchase. Furniture retailers are wise to use technology to improve consumers’ website experiences and get more people into their stores.

Savvy retailers are also leveraging technology to engage with consumers and learn more about their shopping preferences. Maintaining a social media presence is rapidly becoming a necessity, and collecting customer data to personalize services, marketing efforts, and product offerings is now commonplace practice.

Consumer awareness, however, is creating a demand for a balance between privacy and personalization. Rather than relying on third-party data sets, retailers are shifting to “zero-party data,” which uses technology to collect information that customers willingly share with companies.

kitchen

Kitchens and Dining Rooms – How to Get the Most out of Your Space

Although they are often a hub for daily activity in the home, the kitchen and dining areas can easily get overlooked when it comes to furnishing and decorating. In some cases, the space may be cramped or hindered by an odd layout that makes finding the right furniture and décor challenging.

Fortunately, a number of innovative options are readily available in stores. You can also find plenty of creative solutions for overcoming any challenges related to either space or layout.

 

Recent Dining Room and Kitchen Trends

To get the most out of your kitchen and dining room, it can help to know about some of the top trends that are showing up in these spaces. While the use of rustic wood and repurposed materials continues to be popular, a trend toward a sleek and minimalist design is also on the rise in kitchens and dining rooms. Those who prefer an uncluttered look are achieving it by using hidden drawers and inconspicuous cabinets to tuck away dishes, kitchen gadgets, and other items.

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As in other areas of the home, more technology is also finding its way into the kitchen and dining spaces. This includes everything from Wi-Fi enabled coffeemakers to Bluetooth speakers and automatic lighting. Many homeowners, however, are choosing to skip these modern touches in favor of natural materials and vintage-inspired décor.

 

Learning to Maximize Your Layout

Regardless of whether you opt for a trending design or choose to go your own way, you’ll want to start by examining how to get the most out of your current layout. In the dining room, this process will focus heavily on your dining set.

A formal dining room often has the table and chairs as the centerpiece. However, you shouldn’t hesitate to add some bookshelves alongside an armchair and/or bench to make the space a bit more functional. When it comes to a dual-purpose dining room, you can maximize your layout by turning the dining set into a multi-use space for eating, socializing, and studying.

As far as the kitchen layout goes, your options may be limited due to permanent fixtures such as cupboards, cabinets, and islands. That doesn’t mean you can’t look for ways to get more out of the space, however.

To accomplish this, you can take a few pointers from the restaurant industry. Be sure that flow follows function by storing items close to where they’ll be used. This includes keeping prepping items next to cutting surfaces and cooking tools next to the oven and stovetop. It’s a good idea to keep as much open counter space as possible so that you have plenty of room for working and storing kitchen essentials.

 

Selecting the Right Seating

Choosing the appropriate seating for your kitchen and dining areas is part of optimizing your space. The traditional dining chair is probably the first thing that comes to mind here, but it certainly isn’t your only option.

Recently, benches and other banquette-style seating have risen in popularity. In homes without a specific dining area, these options are perfect for creating a space-saving dining nook.

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Those who are tight on kitchen and dining space will want to consider the versatility of bar stools. Stools can slide up to an island or kitchen counter. They can also be conveniently tucked away in a corner until an extra guest is in need of a place to sit.

Whether you’re looking for dining chairs, a kitchen bench, or bar stools, it’s important to obtain the right items for your needs. Before visiting a furniture store, take a few measurements in the area where the items will be used. That way, you get something that is the appropriate size for the space.

Also, don’t forget to think about specific styles and features. For instance, bar stools are available with no backs, small back lips, and full backs. You shouldn’t neglect to consider these kinds of features because they can affect both the look and feel of your seating.

 

Storage Options

Keeping your kitchen and dining room uncluttered requires that you have the appropriate storage space for the items you use on a regular basis. Built-in cupboards, drawers, and shelving are all great, but many people need other storage options.

Fortunately, there are plenty of standalone pieces to choose from, including sideboards and buffets. These pieces are great for storing extra plates and tableware used in a dining room.

For the kitchen, you can find a wide variety of hutches that can be used for everything from pots and pans to everyday pantry items. If your kitchen is on the smaller side, something like a bar cart might be a good option. These versatile carts on wheels may be designed to hold liquor and glasses, but they can also work equally as well as a microwave stand, coffee bar, or convenient kitchen prep station.

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.

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.

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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:

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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.

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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.

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.

 

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  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.

 

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  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.

chair

A Quick and Easy Guide to 10 Types of Chairs for Your Home

Along with the beloved sofa, one of the most-used pieces of furniture in the majority of homes is the living room chair. When carefully chosen, a stylish chair offers an additional seating option and complements larger pieces, such as a sofa. In some homes, a comfortable chair is the star of the living room, providing a cozy place to relax after work or during a lazy weekend.

Regardless of whether you’re looking for an accent piece or a new favorite lounging spot, knowing the different types of chairs available can help you to determine what will work best for your needs. Here’s an overview of the 10 most common types of chairs found in furniture stores:

 

  1. The Recliner

Due to its presence in many American homes, most people are quite familiar with the popular reclining chair. Recliners are ideal for reading and relaxing in front of the television, which makes them suitable for casual family rooms. However, there are many more subtle and stylish versions of recliners available that would work great in a formal living area.

 

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Image courtesy colorblindPICASO | Flickr

 

  1. Club Chair

Likely named in reference to the gentlemen’s clubs that commonly used it during the 19th century, the club chair is a deep-seated armchair that offers comfort rivaling that of the recliner. While club chairs traditionally featured leather upholstery and nail head trim, the style is now available in a wide variety of fabrics and colors. These pieces work great when paired together or used as an accent to a sofa.

 

  1. Wingback Chair

Wingback chairs are easy to spot due to their wide side panels or “wings” that give them their name. Although these tall-back chairs can feature a very formal design, many modern versions are much less “stuffy” in appearance. It’s important to note that wingbacks are typically larger than other chairs, which means they might not be ideal for flexible seating arrangements.

 

  1. Barrel Chair

Like the wingback chair, the barrel chair gets its name from its unique shape, which resembles that of an old-fashioned nail barrel with a cutout area for sitting. Along with the rounded back, these pieces feature high arms that combine with a high backrest to create a cozy place to relax with a good book. In terms of its design, the barrel chair can fit in with traditional or more modern layouts depending on the color, fabric, and embellishments used on the piece.

 

  1. Slipper Chair

An armless seating option, the slipper chair sits much closer to the ground than the other chairs on this list. Originally, they were mostly used in bedrooms, but they have since found a spot in the living room. With their minimal size and silhouette, slipper chairs are a great option for those in search of additional seating in a smaller space.

 

slipper chair

Image by John M. | Flickr

 

  1. Parsons Chair

Another armless option is the Parsons chair, which was first created in the 1930s. The name is derived from its place of origin, the Parsons School of Design in Paris. The best feature of the Parsons chair is its simple design that enables it to fit in with nearly any room’s decor. In a living room, these pieces can be ideal for providing additional seating without taking up much visual or physical space.

 

  1. Occasional Chair

As its name suggests, the occasional chair is not meant for frequent use. Instead, it provides secondary seating when a need arises. Although there is no one shape or style that is common among occasional chairs, most are armless and very lightweight, two features that make them easy to move from one place to another. Additionally, occasional chairs are typically eye-catching pieces that can provide decorative value when they are not in use.

 

  1. Side Chair

Another option for additional seating, the side chair is a petite piece of furniture that may or may not be upholstered. The chair is available in both armed and armless designs. Unlike the occasional chair, most side chairs blend in with other decor and are not necessarily chosen for their eye-catching design. In many cases, they look very similar to dining room chairs.

 

  1. The Chaise Lounge

The style of the chaise lounge has been around since ancient Egypt, and these long chairs with a slanted back remain popular today. The traditional chaise lounge features a long design that essentially combines a chair and footrest into one piece. Other lounger styles, however, consist of a semi-lounging chair along with a separate ottoman. As is evident by its design and name, the piece is all about comfort and relaxation. The chaise lounge is common in living rooms and other areas of the home, including outdoor patios.

 

chaise lounge

Image by David Pritchard | Flickr

 

  1. Chair-and-a-Half

Also referred to simply as an oversized chair, a chair-and-a-half is larger than your typical armchair but a bit smaller than a love seat. Like the chaise lounge, it is perfect for relaxing while reading, watching TV, or listening to music. This makes the chair-and-a-half a great option for informal living areas and even bedrooms. The chair-and-a-half is particularly well-suited for apartments and other small spaces that can’t easily accommodate both a chair and a sofa.

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.