Wednesday, August 19th, 2009

Web Summit 3.0

September 14 in Vegas | REGISTER HERE



Is your online strategy struggling? Do you even have an online strategy? The third release of the Industry-Wide Web Summit will unite home furnishings retailers, manufacturers, representatives and suppliers to:

o Brainstorm new solutions

o Work through existing conflicts

o Bury old misconceptions


You CAN show and sell furniture online.

We’ll show you how.




Monday, September 14, 2009 | Opening day of the Las Vegas Market

Building C | 9th Floor | Room C976 | 1:00 pm – 4:00 pm


You will leave the Web Summit with practical, real world information and implementation strategies for all areas of electronic media and web for the furniture industry. Seating is limited. Registration is required for this free event.

Click here to register: please provide your name, company and telephone number.

How to Implement Email Marketing and Social Media for Results | David McMahon | PROFITconsulting

Throw Web-Based Marketing Into Your Mix | Ron Carpenter | Strategic Marketing Solutions LLC

Demystifying the Online Furniture Shopper | David Lively | The Lively Merchant

Create an Engaging Website that Brings Your Brand to Life Online | Renee Loper | aspenhome

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Wednesday, August 6th, 2008

Do you know this man?

Who says the furniture business isn’t jam packed with creative talent? Here is Billy Spurlock and his soon to be four-year old singing a worlwide VH1 video hit.

Are we looking at the next American Idol? Could they win the grand prize on America’s Got Talent? Or, is Billy planning on winning the $15k on America’s Funniest Videos?

Whichever it is I know Billy would be happy. Because he is a fine young man who has a great sense of humor and he and his family make the entire independent retail furniture business look good. If you ever want to see a wonderful operation while traveling through WVA stop at Star Furniture. You’ll be glad you did.

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Monday, July 7th, 2008

Of Course You Should Count Traffic

You need to understand the importance of tracking the number of opportunities you have to serve Ms. Jones. This number is indicative of the health of so many of the things successful retailers are doing each day. It is also a number that can be gathered and acted upon without turning the entire organization inside out, regardless of your level of computer sophistication. I will also attempt to help you make the best use of the information once it is collected.

Who, what, how?

WHO will count the traffic? Because counting your traffic is important to the success of the entire sales team, getting them involved in the process is comparatively easy. Throughout the day, the sales staff in every furniture store in America is dealing with down time. Sales managers are constantly trying to find things for their staff to do between customers. They are more likely to support this new initiative than, say, dusting their area of the store.

A second option in many stores is the receptionist. While answering the phones and welcoming guests to the store, this position is perfect for the accurate gathering of traffic count.

WHAT will be counted? You may believe you only want to count the total number of Ms. Joneses who come to your store to buy. What about those customers entering our store each day looking for a water fountain, a gift certificate or drapery hardware? These “non-customers” are indeed shopping and truly are an opportunity to show off your exciting store and wonderful customer service skills. They must be counted.

Counting traffic in a store reminds me of playing golf with a certain friend who needed to win each round. Mind you, no money was on the line. At the end of each round, regardless of how well I played, he always beat me by a stroke or two. We would sit and talk about each hole, and when the question would arise about the ball going out of bounds on three, the answer was always the same: he didn’t count that stroke. “No problem,” I would reply, “But, who’s cheating who?”

HOW will traffic be counted? One little, two little, three little Indians. It really is this simple. Get a piece of copy paper, or a notebook or legal pad. Make three columns on the sheet. Write the time in the first column. Write a brief description of the customer in the second column. Write the name of the salesperson who helped them in the third column. (This process can also be done in Microsoft Excel or other computer software if you choose.) At the end of each day the sheet should be torn off or printed and placed in your mailbox for review.

It really is that simple. This information is your very own personal gold mine. The deeper you dig, the more you will glean from the mine.

First, you begin to track the effectiveness of your marketing dollar in terms of the traffic it generates. Customers often hold their marketing company accountable for traffic count. It is a simple graph of improvement… or not.

The second number that quickly presents itself is the closing percentage of your sales associates. By comparing the list of daily traffic to the number of sales made by each employee, you now have a basis for managing the effectiveness of each sales person against the store’s average.

Using these two numbers daily can dramatically improve the operation of your store. We find those who improve their operation are likely the same stores improving their profitability. The sales payroll in most stores is a large percentage, and advertising is also a big chunk after inventory, rent, and payroll. Make certain you are getting your fair share of closed sales for every Ms. Jones who was driven into your store by your advertising, and that every penny spent on marketing is bringing in enough of them.

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Wednesday, May 14th, 2008

“Facts is facts. I run a business here, I’m cleanin’ house.”

If we simply stay focused on bad news we will continue a self filling decline into the retail abyss. Yes business conditions are difficult. Possibly as difficult as they have been in the last ½ century, but retail furniture remains a numbers business.

Is your inventory at the proper level? The industry average for inventory turn is 3.2, what’s yours?

The equation: COGS / Average Inventory = Inventory Turn.

During recent performance group meetings we spent significant time discussing this topic. The question is simply; would you rather have furniture in boxes in the warehouse or cash in the bank?

Back in 1986 one of the smartest retailers I have ever known explained to me during difficult times the key to weathering the storm is to control your inventory. “Spread the floor, decrease density, make each display more attractive, and put the money in the bank!” he’d say.

22 years later I believe this to be the best advice I’ve ever received.

Maybe some of you can use it in 2008

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