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The Traveling Retailer's Tip #28: It’s Halftime

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By Gordon Hecht

Sometimes the way we measure time defies the calendar. When it comes to summer, we talk about Memorial Day as the start and Labor Day as the end-making July 4 the middle of the summer, even though summer started just 2 weeks before. However you define time, you’d have to agree that it’s HALFTIME for 2016!

You might think of HALFTIME as a Football term. Besides a myriad of commercials and a bunch of ex-jocks “breaking down the game” halftime affords coaches and players to assess their first half performance. This past week was also Major League Baseball’s Halftime. Managers and owners decide if they have a shot at winning, are they buyers of more talent, or sellers of talent. It’s also a great time for a status check on your business year! Take a look at your sales goals, break even, and growth plans. Business success is more than good luck; it also includes good planning, observation, measuring results, and making adjustments as needed. Hopefully you are heading for a BIG YEAR in the BLACK, but if not here are a few areas to focus to be a second-half winner.

  • Incoming Shopper Traffic-are you happy with the number of people walking through your doors? And are you sure that you are getting an accurate traffic count? A good “up count” is the cornerstone of all retail business measurement. 

  • If you aren’t getting enough people through the door, you may want to mix up your advertising. These days the message has to be RED HOT-simply listing the models you carry and the price is not enough! FREE is the most POWERFUL word in advertising, but FREE Pillows, Delivery, Set Up, and Haul Away is the price of admission! Create an urgent LIMITED TIME offer to create a call to action with a deadline!

  • Advertising is EXPENSIVE! Up to 90% of the dollars you spend on ads are wasted when sent to the wrong audience. But don’t be the person who wakes up by an ADVERTISED alarm clock, drinks ADVERTISED coffee, drives an ADVERTISED car to the store, munches on an ADVERTISED donut, and then says ADVERTISING doesn’t work! There are more low cost ways to reach a focused audience of LIKELY shoppers now than ever before! Let us show you how you can engage them!

  • If you have good foot traffic, but closing is low-it may be your merchandise selection or pricing strategy. Good Factory Reps are trained to help you measure your results; sift through the winners (and losers) in your store and your marketplace. Sometimes just adjusting the floor plan and flow can help you sell more too!

  • Some stores concentrate on CLOSING, others on AVERAGE SALE! I like both, but it is easier to help each BUYER select one more item than to sell a new SHOPPER. Accessory Items and Service Protection Plans help build sales and profit Consider 25% add-on a minimum. Go for 25% attachment on lamps, artwork and rugs and 90% attachment on protection and you can weather any slow period of traffic or closing. Oh, BTW, the key to closing more sales is easy-Just ask each SHOPPER to BUY TODAY.

  • It’s called the 10 Foot Rule! Your shoppers make up their mind about how they feel about your store within the first 10 feet of your store. If you missed SPRING CLEANING, it’s not too late! Get your best and hottest beds up front with fresh footers and tags! Clean, dust, and scrub your entrance and rest rooms so that SHE is satisfied. And the sun has been bright this year! Step out on to the sidewalk in front of your store and make a list of all faded signs and POP that she sees before she walks in. 
The GOOD NEWS is that there are still 5 ½ months of OPPORTUNITY in 2016! The time left may be more challenging than the front half of the year, you know-with that election thingy that’s going on. There are still FOUR OR FIVE major promotional periods left this year and lots of selling days in between. Rev up your team, your store, and your marketing and you’ll have a great shot to finish strong!

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