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12 Quick Retail Tips

Furniture World Magazine
Volume 146 NO.4 July/August


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If you build it, they will come, is the epitaph of many a deceased retail furniture store. Modern customers must be wooed - not sold, and not bought. So get wooing. Check out and check off these retail furniture marketing tips for the second half of 2016.

1. Colonize Craigslist: Harvest organic traffic from Craigslist, Facebook Marketplace, and other local classified advertisement websites. Pictures and proofreading will work wonders. Don’t rite n fonetic English, k?

2. Build Your Own Oscar Mayer Wienermobile: Remodel an old school bus into a rolling furniture showroom that looks like a sofa for Paul Bunyan. You’ll be basking in more brand awareness than you’ll know what to do with.

3. Designate an Expert: Behind a polished counter-top in most any Apple store is a row of “Geniuses,” clad in navy blue shirts, who provide technical support. You can hire a furniture craftsmen or interior designer to answer customer questions as well. Alternatively, like West Elm, you can deploy an interior designer straight to someone’s home.

4. Design an Online Showroom: “We believe that more than 50 percent of the customers who buy in the store have been looking intensely at products through the site before they visit,” say Mike and Doug, owners of Wrightwood Furniture in Chicago. Exploit the power of CSS3 and HTML5 to engineer an interactive online showroom.

5. Switch to Salaries, Bonuses: Salaried employees make the most accurate, not necessarily the most expensive, recommendations, and customers can sense the difference.

6. Send Birthday Cards to Your Customers: Handwrite a message. Include a special discount. Ask about the kids.

7. Recruit a Sponsor: Find a local celebrity to hawk your products.

8. Post How-To Content: Spark passion in your customers by writing how-to blog posts, posting videos, and distributing e-photobooks.

9. Paint a Mural: Lake Placid, Florida, was a small, struggling town amidst an ocean of orange groves. Then someone had an idea: paint the town. More than 40 public murals now adorn Main Street, home to bustling boutiques and successful entrepreneurs.

10. Gamify: Take a lesson from McDonald’s “Monopoly” sweepstakes. Arrange a raffle, a lottery, or a hula-hooping contest to attract foot traffic.

11. Offer a Free Test-Drive: Everyone has an inner, pigheaded toddler: Once they get their hands on a toy, they won’t let go. Let a customer try out a piece, for free, for 30 days.

12. Encourage a Shopkeeper Ethos: West Elm encourages its retail outlets to adopt a “suburban hub” mentality, where salespersons recommend local restaurants and suggest popular apps to build rapport.


About Tim Smith:
Tim Smith is a writer for Modernize, a website that connects contractors of all specialties to homeowners looking for home improvement services. Head to Modernize to find inspiration and other tips and tricks for your next home improvement project.” For more tips, visit Modernize.com.

Furniture World is the oldest, continuously published trade publication in the United States. It is published for the benefit of furniture retail executives. Print circulation of 20,000 is directed primarily to furniture retailers in the US and Canada.  In 1970, the magazine established and endowed the Bernice Bienenstock Furniture Library (www.furniturelibrary.com) in High Point, NC, now a public foundation containing more than 5,000 books on furniture and design dating from 1620. For more information contact editor@furninfo.com.