Marketing

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.

 

recliner

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.

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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.

 

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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.

What You Need to Know about Furniture Today’s Leadership Conference

furnituretodayleadershipconferenceEach year, the top furniture retailers and manufacturers in the home furnishings industry gather at Furniture Today’s Leadership Conference. The multi-day event features expert speakers, panel discussions, and insightful presentations.

The Furniture Today 2018 Leadership Conference takes place November 27-29 in Lake Buena Vista, Florida. Following is an overview of everything you need to know about the industry event.

 

Venue Location, Travel Details, and Lodging Options

Furniture Today’s 2018 Leadership Conference will be held at the Four Seasons Orlando Resort on Dream Tree Boulevard. Those flying in for the event will likely land at either Orlando International Airport or Orlando Executive Airport. These are both approximately 30 minutes from the conference venue.

The conference does not provide transportation between the hotel and the airport. However, attendees can hire a taxi, hop on a shuttle, or rent a car. During the event, attendees can take advantage of reduced valet parking rates at the Four Seasons.

The hotel room block reserved for attendees at the Four Seasons Orlando is sold out. However, there are numerous lodging options in the area. Nearby hotels include Villas of Grand Cypress (3 miles away), Hilton Orlando Bonnet Creek (4 miles away), and Hyatt Regency Grand Cypress (5 miles away).

 

Four Seasons Orlando

Four Seasons Orlando | Image by Inside the Magic | Flickr

 

Registration Information

Those planning to attend the Leadership Conference can register for the event online. Registration pricing ranges from $599 for home furnishings retailers to $1,499 for third-party service providers. The rate for manufacturers is $1,250 per person. Spouses and other non-industry guests can attend conference activities for $499 per person. Registered parties who find that they are no longer able to attend may be subject to a cancellation fee of up to 50 percent of the registration total.

 

What to Expect from the Educational Programming

One of the main highlights of Furniture Today’s 2018 Leadership Conference is the all-star lineup of prominent speakers. Vincent Boles, a US Army general who served in the military for over three decades, is the event’s keynote speaker. During his presentation, Boles will discuss the leadership insights and experience he gained over the years serving as an Army general, executive coach, university professor, and owner of a supply chain consulting practice.

In addition to General Boles, expert speakers and panelists include Clarence Smith and Irv Blumkin. The home furnishings executives are directing a peer-to-peer leadership session focused on furniture retail. During the discussion, Smith, Blumkin, and other panelists will cover topics ranging from merchandising and retail technology to human resources and business management.

Other speakers include Liza Hausman of Houzz and Alessandra Wood of Modsy. Their merchandising session will focus on holistic retail and discuss how consumers are engaging with businesses through both in-store and online environments.

TedX speaker Andrew Tarvin will discuss leadership through improvisation. Danny Kim, a millennial executive coach, will explore how today’s furniture industry leaders can best manage a multi-generational workplace that is affected by technology and social media. Attendees can also learn about human resources best practices from furniture industry veterans Joe Genduso and Victor Herrera.

A leadership session examining the customer experience will focus specifically on what furniture retailers and manufacturers need to do in order to compete for customers in a retail environment dominated by big-box and online companies. Strategic consulting executive Lorri Kelly will lead the discussion.

To close the show, a “Future of the Industry” panel led by Ryan Blumkin, Mark Mueller, and Travis Wagner will address how the next generation will guide the future of furniture retail and manufacturing. Following the panel, Furniture Today Editor-in-Chief Bill McLoughlin will officially wrap up the 2018 Leadership Conference.

 

What about Networking?

Outside of the learning activities, there will be plenty of time for attendees to socialize and network with other leaders in the home furnishings industry. On the afternoon of November 27, Leadership Conference sponsor Malouf will host a golf tournament at the Tranquilo Golf Club.

Attendees not interested in hitting the fairways can instead take part in a tour of a local furniture store’s warehouse, showroom, and adjoining café and wine bar. In the evening, attendees can return to the Four Seasons Orlando for a cocktail reception and dinner in the hotel’s grand ballroom.

Other networking activities at the conference will include an awards dinner and after-party on the evening of November 28. More information is available at www.leadershipcon.com.

furniture

What to Know about Sofa Design – A Look at 9 Popular Styles

Few pieces of furniture can affect the look and feel of a living space as much as a sofa. As a favorite spot to socialize, entertain, and relax, it gets a lot of use and is often a focal point of many design schemes.

The earliest sofas were little more than wooden benches. However, over the years, advances in materials, design, and construction led to much more comfortable furniture pieces suitable for an extended Netflix binge.

Today, the sofa, which many people prefer to call a couch, is available in a wide range of styles, sizes, and configurations. Finding one that fits your family’s needs and complements the overall look of your living space can be delete a challenge.

Fortunately, taking a few minutes to learn a little more about the available styles can help make the task a whole lot easier. Here’s a closer look at some of the most common sofa options:

 

  1. Chaise Lounge

As one of the oldest sofa styles, the chaise lounge dates back thousands of years. In fact, it was commonly used in ancient times by Egyptian pharaohs and upper-class Greeks and Romans. The style continues to be popular today.

A chaise lounge can be a great addition to any living room, but it is also suitable for other areas of the home, including a master bedroom suite. With its elongated, reclining design, it is also a popular patio furniture item.

 

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  1. Camelback

Named for its characteristic hump-shaped backrest, the camelback sofa also traditionally features exposed wooden legs, scrolled arms, and elegant upholstery. This option has an antique look that is ideal for traditional or formal spaces. Pairing a camelback sofa with a chaise lounge is the perfect way to add some regal elegance to any room.

 

  1. Chesterfield

The Chesterfield sofa is known for its classic design featuring deep button-tufting and high rolled arms. Most often, these sofas are fashioned out of leather, but the style also works well with other materials.

First created in the 1700s for the fourth Earl of Chesterfield, the sofa was traditionally found in gentlemen’s clubs and libraries. Nowadays, a Chesterfield is a great option for those striving to add a time-honored look to any space.

 

  1. Tuxedo

Like the formal suit of the same name, the tuxedo sofa is simultaneously timeless and modern. The style is similar to the Chesterfield in that it typically features tufted elements and exposed legs. The tuxedo sofa also features the Chesterfield’s high arms, but instead of being rolled, they are usually square shaped.

With their boxy design and straight backrests, tuxedos aren’t the most comfortable sofas available. The sleek, clean lines, however, make them perfect for modern spaces, and a few stylish throw pillows can help boost a tuxedo sofa’s comfort level.

 

sofa

Image courtesy erin williamson | Flickr

 

  1. English Roll Arm

A more casual option than the Chesterfield, the English roll arm sofa has low, rolled arms and loose seat cushions. The design is loved for its comfort and timeless style that works well alongside a variety of home décor. Regardless of whether a space is traditional or modern, the sophisticated silhouette of the English roll arm will likely complement the look.

 

  1. Lawson

The signature features of the Lawson-style sofa are its back pillows and seat cushions that sit separate from the frame. The loose pillows and cushions create a softer and more comfortable piece of furniture that is perfect for lounging. The Lawson-style sofa has become an American favorite over the years, and it’s probably what most people picture in their heads when they hear the word “couch.”

 

  1. Mid-Century Modern

While the name may sound complicated, the mid-century modern sofa features a straightforward design defined by clean lines and a minimalistic, streamlined look. The style was popular from the 1940s until the 1970s. It recently made a comeback thanks in part to the TV series Mad Men. These sofas work equally well in both minimalist and eclectic homes with a modern aesthetic.

 

sofa

 

  1. Sectional

Designed to seat the whole family, the sectional sofa first became popular in the mid-20th century, but the style dates back to the Victorian era. Today, sectionals are most commonly configured in either an L-shape or U-shape. Both configurations are great for entertaining and can be found in a wide variety of materials and design styles.

 

  1. Sleeper Sofa

If you’re looking for a piece of furniture that plays double duty, the sleeper sofa is for you. Since the first modern sleeper was invented in the 1930s, many other types have hit the market. In addition to a traditional pullout sofa bed, you can find convertible sleepers, futons, daybeds, and even bunkbed sleepers.

The technology has also come a long way over the years. Today, the sleeper sofa is a great option for those who often host overnight guests or need a space-saving solution in a cramped apartment.

 

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.

 

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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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Your Complete Guide to the 2018 NEXT Conference

NEXTlogoThe time has come again for furniture retailers and other industry professionals to gather at the NEXT Conference, a three-day interactive forum focused on marketing, technology, and business strategies that can help them to earn repeat customers. The 2018 event will take place from September 24-26 at Austin City Limits Live at The Moody Theater in Austin, Texas. In addition to prominent speakers in the area of retail, marketing, and consumer relations, the 2018 NEXT Conference will feature a range of educational sessions and networking events to help attendees enhance their professional knowledge and skills while making new connections with others in the retail industry. If you plan to attend, read on to learn how to prepare and what to expect when you get there.

How to Register

Registration for the 2018 NEXT Conference is a simple process. Retailers, manufacturers, suppliers, and other prospective attendees can visit Next.PBMConferences.com and click on the “Register Now” button on the home page. Doing so will take you to a registration page where you will enter personal information, including your name, address, and job title, before paying any applicable registration fees. Alternatively, you can choose to register on-site from 3 p.m. to 4 p.m. on the opening day of the event. Registration rates range from $499 for retailers to $999 for manufacturers, suppliers, and other attendees.

 

Where to Stay and How to Get Around

NEXT Conference organizers have reserved a block of hotel rooms for attendees at Hotel Van Zandt, which is located only minutes from the conference venue. Rooms start at $239 per night and can be booked through the NEXT Conference website or by calling the hotel directly. Of course, attendees also have the option to stay at one of the many other hotels in the Austin area.

Moody Theater

Image courtesy Todd Dwyer | Flickr

Those flying into Austin will likely arrive at the Austin-Bergstrom International Airport (AUS). At AUS, attendees can pick up a rental car, take the Super Shuttle, or hire a taxi to travel to their hotel or the conference venue, which is located approximately 10 miles away from AUS. Transportation services will not be provided during the event, so attendees will have to walk, rent a car, hire a service, or take public transportation to travel between their hotel and The Moody Theater.

 

Lineup of Speakers

Each year, the NEXT Conference features a lineup of prominent speakers with diverse backgrounds in marketing and advertising, retail sales, and business leadership. Over a dozen big-name speakers will speak at this year’s conference, including Gay Gaddis, Steve Dennis, and Phil Gwoke.

A Texas-based marketing executive, keynote speaker Gay Gaddis oversees The Think Tank (T3), which she launched in 1989 after cashing in a $16,000 IRA. Gaddis, who has worked with some of the country’s top companies, will take the stage at the NEXT Conference to discuss how attendees can harness their personal power to make their own way in business.

Opening speaker Steve Dennis is the president of SageBerry Consulting. Before assuming his current position, Steve Dennis served as the chief strategy officer and head of multichannel marketing for the Neiman Marcus Group. He has used his extensive experience to write and speak on retail innovation. His presentation at the 2018 NEXT Conference will focus on helping attendees to stay fresh in today’s retail environment.

On the morning of September 25, Phil Gwoke will address the NEXT audience. Gwoke, a former high school teacher and small business owner, is a respected expert in generational intelligence. He will leverage his expertise to discuss the four generations that comprise today’s retail market and provide insight into how salespeople can be successful in reaching each age group.

In addition to gaining insights from the three featured speakers, attendees at the 2018 NEXT Conference will have an opportunity to learn from a number of other marketers and retail leaders, including Jasmine Jaco, Casey Miller, Tim McLain, and Shrenik Sadalgi. Bill McLoughlin and Catherine Silver from Furniture Today will also present at the event.

 

What Attendees Can Expect to Learn at the NEXT Conference

Beyond the presentations on personal power, retail innovation, and generational demographics, NEXT attendees will learn how to harness creative marketing and modern tools to drive the growth of their companies. Conference sessions will focus on how retailers can create compelling stories to promote products and brands while reaching new customers through technology and experiential merchandising. Speaker Seth Weisblatt will also discuss how attendees can use social media, data mining, and other digital marketing tools to stand out from their competitors.

 

Opportunities for Networking and Socializing

Outside of the educational programming, attendees will have an opportunity to socialize and establish new professional connections during several networking activities. The conference will include daily networking breaks, as well as special events such as luncheons and cocktail parties. On September 25, Catherine Silver, the vice president of the parent company of Furniture Today, will host a ceremony recognizing the winners of the Impact Mentorship Award and the Impact Innovator Awards. Before traveling back home, attendees can also take part in networking excursions throughout Austin on the morning of September 26. More information about all the activities at the 2018 NEXT Conference is available at Next.PBMConferences.com.

business

9 of the Most Successful Entrepreneurs Who Started with Little Money

A recent study conducted by Harvard Business School found that 50 percent of all new businesses in the United States fail within the first five years, and over 70 percent of companies never make it to their 10th anniversary. While these statistics are quite discouraging, they didn’t prevent the most successful entrepreneurs from launching their own enterprises with nothing more than a good idea, a commitment to hard work, and a strong motivation to succeed.

Some of these entrepreneurs have become well-known public figures, while others remain relatively unheard of, but they all prove that it is possible for anyone to attain success in today’s competitive business environment. The following is a look at 9 successful entrepreneurs who launched businesses with very little money:

 

  1. Steve Jobs

Steve Jobs

Image courtesy Andrea Omizzolo | Flickr

Now a household name, Steve Jobs cofounded Apple Computers with Steve Wozniak in 1976 using $1,350 the two college dropouts made by selling some personal items. This initial investment quickly grew to $200 million thanks to sales of the user-friendly Apple II computer. Driven by Jobs’ later innovations, including the iMac, iPod, iPad, and iPhone, Apple is currently valued at an astonishing $1 trillion.

 

  1. Henry Ford

Anyone growing up in the United States is likely quite familiar with Henry Ford. The father of the assembly line, he launched the Ford Motor Company in 1903 using cash supplied mostly by relatives and friends of Alexander V. Malcomson, an early investor in Ford’s designs. In addition to streamlining the auto-manufacturing process, Ford was known for treating his employees very well. His high wages attracted reliable workers and helped him take his company to the top of the automobile industry.

 

  1. John Pemberton

John Pemberton

Image courtesy justiny8s | Flickr

The founder of one of the world’s most iconic brands, John Pemberton created Coca-Cola based on a non-alcoholic version of his French Wine Coca nerve tonic. The Georgia pharmacist developed the soda-fountain drink with little financial backing and initially sold the product for a mere 5 cents a gallon. Although Pemberton died before Coca-Cola really took off, his invention would go on to become a globally recognized product.

 

  1. Roxanne Quimby and Burt Shavitz

Although this entry technically counts as two entrepreneurs, they are listed together because they are both responsible for creating the successful Burt’s Bees line of personal care products. Using Quimby’s creativity and leftover wax from Shavitz’ honey business, the couple began creating and selling homemade candles. With $200 made during their first craft fair, they launched a candle-making operation that made $20,000 in its first year. After adding other products, most notably lip balm, Burt’s Bees became a very successful company. In 2007, Clorox acquired the brand for $925 million.

 

  1. Sam Walton

Initially the owner of several Ben Franklin franchises, Sam Walton took out a loan from his father-in-law to open his first store in Newport, Arkansas, in the mid-1940s. The location’s success allowed him to quickly pay back the loan, and he was soon operating stores in two additional states. During his early career, Walton established the retail practices that would come to define Walmart, which he launched in the early 1960s. Today, Walmart brings in over $500 billion in annual revenue and employs 2.3 million people worldwide.

 

  1. Daymond John

FUBU founder Daymond John launched his business empire selling handmade wool hats on a street corner in Queens. His first batch of hats netted John $800 and encouraged him to continue pursuing the endeavor. Later, John’s mother mortgaged her home to finance his pursuits, and he began to expand his line to include hip-hop-inspired T-shirts, sportswear, and accessories. To date, FUBU has generated over $6 billion in retail sales. Daymond John is worth an estimated $300 million.

 

  1. Sophia Amoruso

Sophia Amoruso

Image courtesy TechCrunch | Flickr

Not your typical entrepreneurial success story, Sophia Amoruso never intended to launch a business. At 22, she started an eBay store that grew into the Nasty Gal clothing brand. Amoruso eventually stepped down as CEO of Nasty Gal, which at its height was worth $350 million. She currently leads Girlboss, a community and media company that supports the endeavors of working women.

 

  1. David Packard and William Redington Hewlett

Another two-for-one entry on this list, William (Bill) Redington Hewlett and David Packard met each other while studying engineering at Stanford University in the early 1930s. Encouraged by a Stanford professor, the pair used a $500 loan and a second-hand drill press to launch Hewlett Packard from a small garage in Palo Alto. The two men developed a wide range of innovative tech products over the years and helped give rise to what became known as Silicon Valley. The garage where Hewlett and Packard started their business is now a California Historic Landmark, and Hewlett Packard is worth approximately $27.4 billion.

 

  1. Kevin Plank

Although Kevin Plank grew up in a prominent Maryland family, his success as an entrepreneur stemmed from his own hard work and determination. As a student at the University of Maryland, he launched Cupid’s Valentine, a company that sold roses on Valentine’s Day. With the $17,000 he made from the venture, Plank developed and started selling the first products that would make up his Under Armour brand. Today, Under Armour generates close to $5 billion in annual revenue.