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The Traveling Retailer's Tip #26: Tips From The Field

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By Gordon Hecht

Tipping is a common practice in our country. Diners expect to pay it and restaurant workers depend on it as a source of income. The people in your organization provide some pretty great service too, but rarely get tips.

Legend has it that the word TIPS is an acronym for “To Insure Proper Service”. I am not so sure if that is true, as I would use Ensure instead of Insure-and we would be leaving generous TEPS for our pancake and coffee breakfasts! Legend or not, TIPS can also mean “To Insure Prosperous Sales”! If you’ll grant me that, read on for some great TIPS I’ve picked up in my travels.

Kudos to Kota! I met Kota, an RSA from the Charlotte, NC area this week. He is a 20-something that can be the poster person for Millennials-and I mean that in a good way. I stopped by Kota’s store and watched him work with mattress shoppers. It seemed odd, but he had his smart phone in his hand the entire time. Back in my pre-2010 retail days RSAs were FORBIDDEN from having their personal phones on the sales floor.

The strangeness dissipated when a shopper was asking about a specific mattress at a Mega Club. Kota swiftly punched it up on his phone, identified the model and specs and showed his shopper a comparable/identical model. Later I worked with him on setting up a Bluetooth operated power bed. We kept getting an error message regarding an unplugged cord. The cord name was unfamiliar to us-but Koda and his phone rescued us when he did a swift search and we saw what we needed to connect.
  
Tony the Director. Tony is not a Millennial-I can say that because we’re about the same age. His STORE could be a millennial, as it has been around for 23+ years. A few weeks ago we worked together on promoting his Facebook Page. He started with a few postings and then a few homemade videos. Last week I saw Tony’s latest production. Think about a video made in the store, but with music, captions, and address placards. Because Tony decided to not let technology pass him by he experimented with Adobe Movie Editor and created a great local commercial that he is boosting on Facebook for less than a double sawbuck a day. (That’s $20 for any Millennial that may have read down this far).

Go Tell it on the Mountain. I get a little bit of time to read while traveling, and came across an article about this year’s election. Analysts expect $4.4 Billion to be spent on advertising for that big National race that you may have heard of. Add to that money spent on State and Local races and you may find all TV, Cable and Radio time has been purchased for Labor Day to Election Day. The article said that even if you can find media time-it’s likely that your ad will be sandwiched between opposing political messages. And those are not Dove and Palmolive ads! You can be sure the costs will rise also. Your electronic media outlets also have the right to BUMP YOUR AD if their slots get filled up-even if you’ve preplanned and prepaid!

If you decided you need to be on TV, Cable or Radio-you have to plan and purchase now. Remind your media salesperson that you will REQUIRE a full accounting of when your ads run and you will not pay for any bumps.

More realistically, start to think about more effective ways to reach your buyers. I gotta tell you-Facebook is being underutilized and is underpriced right now. Direct Mail is another alternative-but is most effective after a third or fourth run-meaning you’ll need to start with July 4th.

It’s okay to go ON THE CHEAP. It’s FREE to get your Website up-to-date. You’ll want to check your store listing on Google too-people will check your Google Reviews. If you have zero to four reviews or if your reviews are OLD or BAD that’s worse than having NONE. Recruit reviews from your buyers by offering a FREE DELIVERY or other bonus if they will review your store from their phone at time of purchase. Great reviews help to build great traffic!

Gordon Hecht is a Growth and Development Manager for National Bedding Company’s America’s Mattress stores, nearly 400 locally owned and operated bedding stores across the country selling Serta-branded and America’s Mattress-branded mattresses. He started his 30+ years experience in the Home Furnishings industry in Las Vegas, NV as a delivery helper and driver.

He has been recognized for outstanding sales and management achievement with several organizations including Ashley Furniture HomeStores, Drexel-Heritage, RB Furniture, Reliable Stores, and Sofa Express. He has served as Store Manager, Multi-unit manager and National Director of Sales. With his first-hand knowledge of our industry’s front line, Gordon has devoted his career to guiding others to exceed their goals.

Joining National Bedding Company in 2014, as part of the Serta Retail Concepts Group With over 400 stores, America’s Mattress stores is one of the fastest growing bedding retailers in the country.

Co-author of the “Better Bedding Selling Tips” featured on Furniture World Online, Gordon has been a frequent contributor to company newsletters, and contributing writer for industry magazines.
Read other articles by Gordon Hecht

Furniture Industry News and in depth magazine articles for the furniture retail, furniture manufacturers, and furniture distributors.
Read other articles by Gordon Hecht