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Room Planners Publishes Four New Home Furnishings Reports

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Furniture companies that shift away from a style-driven to a benefit-driven approach will fare better during the current economy, Loreen Epp, a furniture industry veteran says. “Focusing on style alone keeps furniture deep down on the discretionary spending list where purchases are easily postponed,” says Loreen Epp, President of Room Planners Inc, a company focused on aligning home furnishings with consumer priorities. “Today’s consumers are focused on their pocketbook, but many are still willing to spend on products that make a difference to their lives.” Epp believes that the current economic downturn provides an ideal opportunity for the furniture industry to re-position itself away from messages focused on discretionary spending and debt, and toward messages of improved lifestyle such as more rest, better organization, easier cleaning and much more. “Lowering prices may not be enough to convince some consumers to buy furniture at this time… and financing options that create greater debt may be off-putting,” she says. “But finding new ways to add value and margin will help furniture manufacturers and retailers improve profitability and build excitement.” To help furniture retailers and manufacturers reposition their message to focus on benefits, Room Planners has issued four idea-driven special reports that cover key shifts in consumer priorities. Each leverages a big key issue on the mind of consumers as a way to generate fresh ideas and apply innovation to products, selling conversations and marketing messages. ORGANIZED HOME: positioning furniture as a solution to clutter… reports on the latest trend to clean up clutter, and taps into product ideas form related house-wares, kitchen and bath, and home building industries… some of whom are taking market share from furniture with well-planned built-ins and closet systems. “Furniture needs to shift its role from passively storing more stuff to actively helping consumers feel organized and in control of their lives,” says Epp, noting that the report contains ideas about how to improve furniture usability in every room, along with marketing ideas to position furniture as a solution to clutter. STYLE BY THE AISLE: creating custom looks without custom orders… reports on new product opportunities resulting from eclectic shopping trends that motivate consumers to choose home furnishings that look one-of-a-kind or personal. “This move away from conventional style preferences has big implications for furniture merchants,” says Epp. “From simulating a flea-market appeal to creating the look of customization, this report focuses on ways to add value and margin with less matching, more unexpected features and more eclectic displays. WANT FRIES WITH THAT? adding value to the sale and margin to the bottom line… offers retailers ways to gain traffic and traction at a time when consumers are as eager for a good deal as retailers are for a promotion that works. “With a little ingenuity, retailers can build a more compelling brand and leverage their resources,” says Epp, who invites retailers to rate their own efforts against the report’s 24 value-added techniques—most costing little or no money. “Not adding value isn’t an option today, but neither is giving the store away. Adding value and excitement for customers will bring both revenue and referrals for the store.” RU TALKING 2 ME? gen Y @ home; reaching a new generation of furniture shoppers… looks at new challenges facing home furnishing retailers from younger consumers, and provides fresh ideas that will reach a generation of shoppers that are choosing retailers for a new set of reasons. “Young consumers are plugged into the Internet and tapped into social media,” she says. “They’re eager for reality and authenticity rather than advertising claims. Every retailer needs to update their marketing efforts in the face of changing shopping habits and preferences.” “More than ever before, the furniture industry needs to study consumers’ priorities and come up with new conclusions,” Epp insists. “The right conclusions can be the catalyst for product and marketing ideas that are innovative, surprising and anything but discretionary. ABOUT ROOM PLANNERS: Room Planners is an idea-based company that translates consumer realities into practical information for home furnishing professionals. The company publishes a variety of reports on consumer home furnishing preferences, retail and product trends, and consults with leading manufacturers and retailers on new product and market opportunities. Room Planners products are available to purchase online at www.roomplanners.com, or contact Loreen Epp at 631.896.6169 / loreen@roomplanners.com. ABOUT LOREEN EPP: Room Planner’s founder and president, Loreen Epp, is a veteran of the home furnishing industry. Born in Canada and living in New York, she has written and spoken internationally on retail and consumer trends, and held executive merchandising positions with top furniture retailers and manufacturers including Staples, Levitz /Seaman’s Furniture and Palliser Furniture. Epp has written a column for Furniture/Today and feature articles for leading industry trade publications, and been a key-note speaker at retail home furnishing conferences across North America.

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