In the Press


Grab a cup of coffee and enjoy an article from The Lively Merchant, featured in various nationwide publications:

Nine Lessons on Proper Use of Retail Authority

Furniture World Magazine  ::  January 2011

Four men stand chatting causally in a golf club locker room after their round of 18 holes when a ringing phone interrupts their conversation. “Sure, I can talk,” says the man who answers the call. “You’re out shopping? That’s nice.” His eavesdropping friends smile knowingly at each other. “You want to buy that new living room and dining room group? Okay… and they’ll include the custom rug for an extra five thousand?  Sure, why not?” The grins grow wider among the listeners. “You want to book a week-long vacation in Hilton Head?  What’s that, they’re holding the price at ten thousand? Sounds like a bargain to me! Let’s go for two weeks instead!” Slowly, the smiles fade to expressions of envy. “And you want to give the builder the go-ahead for the new outdoor kitchen and pool? Fifty-five thousand if we say yes today? Sounds fair… sure, that’s fine.” The listeners exchange glances of amazement. “Okay, honey, see you later. I love you, too,” says the man as he ends the call. He looks slyly at his friends and asks… Read more.


Utilizing SEO

Western Retailer  ::  March 2010

Used to be, the company with the biggest Yellow Page ad won the local search wars. Businesses vied for newspaper ads above the fold, billboards at prime intersections, drive time radio and prime time TV.
Now, when print media is experiencing cutbacks, layoffs and declining readership, it comes as no surprise that businesses are turning to online marketing alternatives to reach customers. Where many print media companies require a minimum commitment to display an ad over so many issues, website space and domain names can be purchased for low annual fees. Pay-Per-Click (PPC) advertising on sites like Google and Yahoo allows site owners to set their own budgets and targets when setting up campaigns. Search Engine Optimization (SEO) is the new normal for businesses looking to compete in the 21st century. Read more…


From Old World to Real World

Western Retailer  ::  March 2010

A furniture trade publication recently estimated that an amazing 42 percent of retailers do not have a website. At the same time, an online poll revealed this about retail customers:“The Internet has become an important part of consumer shopping behavior, with 66 percent of consumers telling a Harris Interactive poll conducted for Yahoo that they shop online before making an online or offline purchase. Seventy-five percent say that going online to research products and services is the first stop in their shopping experience. Ninety percent say they have a better overall shopping experience when they research products online before shopping in-store.”This growing disconnect between furniture retailers and consumers is costing the industry millions of dollars in top line sales. Read More…


Family Affair

Home Furnishings Business :: January 2010

The hand off from one generation to the next is the single biggest key to a family business’ future, said David Lively, president of Lancaster, Ohio-based furniture retail consultancy The Lively Merchant. The issues facing family business have him refocusing his business to concentrate on that area. “Management succession planning focuses on the four key departments of the company: administration, finance, operations and customer fulfillment, which includes sales and marketing,” he said. “Management succession planning has nothing to do with who owns the company, but what happens when you unplug a key executive from the equation. How does this company operate when the key executive dies or retires? Ownership succession planning deals with estate planning, taxes and wills, dealing with the transfer plan. It’s about sitting down and saying, ‘OK, kids, this is how it will work.’ We’re dealing with the technical issues, the how-to. What we’re trying to eliminate is dealing with companies where the dad has died and it’s now a triage. Without a plan, the assets of the business move to a surviving spouse who might not have been involved with the business. That leads to technical mistakes popping up.” Read more…


Confessions of a Family Furniture Store Owner

Furniture World  ::  October 4, 2009

The Family Business Series by David Lively

I got started in this crazy, wonderful industry quite by accident: My roommate’s parents owned a store and I was a young guy looking for a job. In fact, when I started back in the 1980’s, the industry had recently completed a generational transition similar to the one happening now. Today I make my living as a consultant to retail family businesses, but in my prior life I owned three different retail furniture companies – all of which were family owned and operated before and after my family was involved. Over the years, I have learned that many of us have a story similar to mine. While names have been changed to protect the innocent, you will undoubtedly recognize many of the characters in this fictional drama about the life of a typical family business owner Robert Sr. Read more…


Three firms partnering for e-Showroom program

FURNITURE|Today  ::  September 21, 2009

Three of the industry’s top technology specialists have formed a partnership to provide an e-commerce offering for retailers hoping to attract and serve consumers shopping on the Internet. The partnership includes Colorado-based PROFITsystems, North Carolina-based MicroD and Ohio-based The Lively Merchant. Together, the companies have developed an advanced Web solution called e-Showroom. The process basically allows retailers with no Web sites or Web sites that need improvement to get a turnkey enhancement. The process starts with an assessment of what the retailer really wants his Web site to do (The Lively Merchant) and continues through the creation of catalogs and room-planning capabilities (MicroD) and setting up a system to run it on (PROFITsystems). Read more…


Furniture retailers offered ‘Game Night’ promotion

FURNITURE|Today  ::  September 9, 2009

MINNEAPOLIS — Bill Napier and other industry marketers have teamed with board game producer Hasbro to offer furniture retailers an in-store “Friends, Family & Fun Game Night” promotion that includes games, furniture makeovers, cash and other prizes for consumers.

The promotion, which will run Jan. 18-March 12 will include short-version game challenges of Monopoly, Scrabble Slam, Pictionary, Boggle and Catch Phrase.

As with the previously announced “Ice Age 3” promotion, Napier, of Napier Marketing here, is working with Imagine Advertising to develop the creative elements. R&A Marketing and The Lively Merchant are handling related Web marketing initiatives including social media campaigns. Read more…


How To Make Your Website Really Sell

Entrepreneur Magazine  ::  September, 2009

Be sure to post toll-free phone numbers and e-mail addresses on every page, as well as fields for visitors to submit questions, says David Lively, whose Ohio consulting firm, The Lively Merchant, specializes in retail sales. Glickman says retail sites should also allow visitors to calculate shipping costs early in the purchase process so that they aren’t ambushed at the conclusion of the transaction.

The ability to send automated responses to visitors who have reached the shopping cart is also critical, Lively says. “You want to be able to send auto responses that correspond to the exact point where a customer exits the shopping cart before purchasing, a communication that says, ‘We saw you were considering purchasing so-and-so product. If there are any questions we can answer about that product…’” Read more…


Profitsystems, MicroD, Lively Merchant Team up for e-Showroom

Home Furnishings Business  ::  August 21, 2009

Retail automation vendor Profitsystems has partnered with MicroD and The Lively Merchant on e-Showroom an advanced Web solution designed to help their customers sell additional product, more effectively and efficiently. e-Showroom enables retailers using Profitprofessional software to integrate and cross reference their inventory flawlessly with vendor catalogs and display them directly on their new e-commerce enabled Web site. The partnership will utilize the ePiphany Web site platform developed by MicroD. Read more…


Retail Compensation Winners & Losers

Furniture World  ::  August 19, 2009

The Family Business Series by David Lively

For years, Gordy looked forward to having his son and daughter join him in his retail furniture business. Gordy and his wife, Alica, had rebuilt the business after Gordy’s father lost the family fortune due to poor planning and marketplace miscalculations. Even though the business went under when Gordy was in college, he could see the potential. He had a degree in marketing and knew the retail furniture business from the inside out. With Alica’s accounting background, they systematically restored the business to health. About the time that Gordy’s and Alica’s two children were off to college, the business was in expansion mode and Gordy was counting on his son and daughter to help take the company into the twenty-first century. Read more…


Web Summit in Las Vegas

Home Furnishings Business  ::  August 21, 2009

A third Industry-Wide Web Summit is set for opening day of the Las Vegas Market. The session run 1-4 p.m., Monday, Sept. 14, 2009, on the 9th Floor of Building C in Room C976. “This is truly an industry-wide meeting where we can brainstorm new solutions, work through existing conflicts and bury old misconceptions about online strategy for the furniture industry,” said David Lively of The Lively Merchant, which is sponsoring the Web Summit with Home Furnishings Independents Association and World Market Center Las Vegas. Read more…

The Absurdity of Family Business Decision Making

Furniture World :: June 12, 2009

Do you think your family business has advantages over your larger competitors because you’re more nimble and therefore capable of making faster, better business decisions? After spending over twenty years working in, managing, owning, buying, and observing family businesses, I respectfully challenge this conventional wisdom. Read more…


Soaring Inventory Strangles

WHFA Furniture Business Briefing :: June, 2009

Being over inventoried leads to two serious operational failures. Typically, once you figure out you’re in inventory overload the next step is to increase advertising in order to increase traffic by promoting some version of clearance, liquidation, or other gimmicky transactional promotion. As soon as the gimmicky promotion begins to drive foot traffic higher, your selling cost as a percentage of sales increases and the GM percent decreases. The process I’m describing is playing out daily in retail stores throughout America. Visually it looks like a 1980s beer bong; profits seen funneling quickly into the belly of the already overly intoxicated crowd. Read more…


Maintaining Your Operation’s Online Image

Western Reporter :: Page 20 :: WHFA magazine :: March 2009

“Buzz” is a big buzzword these days, because consumers are buzzing in ways that were unheard of just five years ago. Forget the back fence. Today they share their opinions and experiences on social networks such as Facebook, MySpace, LinkedIn and Twitter. What this means to you is that managing your customer satisfaction department just became a global endeavor. Read more…

Web Summit: Furniture industry needs to connect

Furniture Today :: February 10, 2009

LAS VEGAS — If there was one takeaway from the Industry-wide Web Summit here, it was that furniture customers are now connecting online in a multitude of ways. And if industry players aren’t doing the same, they’ll soon be left behind. David Lively, president and CEO of consulting firm The Lively Merchant, showed images of a going-out-of-business sale and said he’s concerned that could be the result “for those who do not embrace a digital footprint.” Read more…


Social Media

Western Reporter :: Featured Article, page 12 :: WHFA magazine :: January 2009

The vague uneasiness, forehead-creasing confusion and general malaise I had been feeling were finally explained. It was February, 2004. My diagnosis was presented in 538 pages of small type, and I read every word to find out why the advertising that had worked so well in the past for my 50-year old furniture store was no longer working at all… Read more…











Industry-Wide Web Summit Convenes at Las Vegas Market

Furniture World :: January 20, 2009

Many in the home furnishings industry are still trying to figure out how to best use the internet to boost the bottom line. To simplify the complex world of online marketing, home furnishings retailers, manufacturers, representatives and suppliers will gather at an Industry-Wide Web Summit on February 8, 2009, in Las Vegas, NV. “The most pressing issues in the home furnishings industry are increasing expenses and decreasing revenues. Being online is the solution to both,” said David Lively of the retail consulting firm The Lively Merchant. “We’ve broken online marketing down to its basic fundamentals. After four hours of teaching and an hour of interactive discussion, participants will better understand the whole because they’ll understand the parts.” Read more…


WHFA and NHFA Set Las Vegas Seminar Lineup

Home Furnishings Business :: January 19, 2009

The Western Home Furnishings Association (WHFA) and National Home Furnishings Association (NHFA) have unveiled their February Las Vegas Winter Market Web site and released a schedule for educational seminars at Market, Feb. 9–13.

“Fast Forward: Six Things—No, Seven Things Your Family Business Can Do In A Recession”; Mon., Feb. 9, 4–5, p.m. David Lively, The Lively Merchant, will show innovative ways to take advantage of economic downtime while increasing revenue, occupying salespeople, growing your company and protecting your investment. Read more…


Quicksand by David Lively

e-Communicator newsletter by PROFITsystems, Inc.

Does it feel like quicksand? Is your business growing slower than the interest payment on your line-of-credit? Have you begun the entrepreneurial dance of assigning blame? Do you suspect this might have something to do with ineffective marketing? Read more…


PROFITsystems and The Lively Merchant Team Up

The Lively Merchant and PROFITsystems

PROFITsystems and The Lively Merchant announce an exciting new program to help retailers. The Lively Merchant specializes in generational transfer consulting which PROFITsystems and The Lively Merchant are making available to their clients. The two companies will also be joining efforts in developing marketing campaigns for retailers.

David McMahon, Direct of e-Commerce and SR Business Coach for PROFITsystems and David Lively, owner of The Lively Merchant, are the primaries in this program. McMahon has been in the furniture consulting business for 10 years. He has recently taken on e-commerce, marketing and search engine optimization (SEO) as one of his passions. His excitement is contagious and he has a wealth of knowledge to share. To schedule an interview with him please call 719.622.8718. David Lively is a no nonsense guy who tells it like it is. To schedule an interview please call 800-549-9206 ext. 1.

As seen in:

Home Furnishings Business

Furniture World

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Seven Essential Traits For Leaders

Western Reporter  ::  July 2008

“Happy birthday, you need bifocals,” the optometrist said. At 42, it’s hard to get used to wearing glasses. They give me a headache as I constantly adjust my angle of vision and change my perspective. My perspective into the changing home furnishings industry gives me a headache sometimes, too. Read more…




Lively Solutions to 15 Marketing Mishaps

Home Furnishings Business :: October 1, 2007

David Lively believes you have a great story to tell. The only problem is, you probably aren’t telling it. Lively, a consultant who specializes in advertising, marketing and operations for home furnishings businesses, presented his potentially controversial views in “Manage Your Media Mess,” a session at the 2007 Myriad Conference in Scottsdale, Arizona. In his opinion, the main challenge furniture retailers face in getting their message-their story, to customers is cutting through the “media myths” that can ultimately do more harm than good when you’re planning your your marketing strategies. To illustrate, Lively discussed 15 of these myths and offered his take on ways to bypass them and – ultimately strengthen your advertising attack. Here they are.  Read more…

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