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Editor's Corner: The Importance of Designing Joyful Retail

Furniture World Magazine


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The feature article in this issue of Furniture World provides insight into the “design of joyful retail.” You may reasonably ask yourself, “What is joyful retail? Isn’t retail about helping customers to create beautiful homes? Don’t we strive to provide them with satisfying experiences and exceed their expectations? Isn’t that enough to bring them joy?”

If you aren’t familiar with the concept of joyful retailing, check out our interview with Ingrid Fetell Lee, the author of the book “Joyful: The Surprising Power of Ordinary Things to Create Extraordinary Happiness.” Her research focuses on the joyful aesthetics of built environments, including retail stores.

Furniture World asked her how furniture retailers can help their customers to experience moments of joy by incorporating elements such as play, surprise, freedom and abundance into their showrooms.

Lee said that creating the feeling of joy can be a game changer for retailers. It’s a lightning-bolt of emotion, a mood changer accompanied by an afterglow that can positively affect purchasing behaviors.

Here’s the rub. When the excitement fades, it may be replaced by satisfaction and happiness (as the title of Lee’s book suggests), or disappointment, even anger. That’s why next steps at retail matter.

She told Furniture World that “when a furniture retailer delivers a satisfying experience, they may just be delivering relief in the face of low expectations.” Joy is an antidote to low expectations, but it’s not enough.

Providing a competent and satisfying experience is necessary to leave customers feeling happy. That’s why, in addition to opening the door to a consideration of joyful retailing, this issue of Furniture World also features other ways to deliver relief in the face of low expectations. Included are ways to reduce customer frustration due to poor showroom traffic flow, increase the resolution of customers’ service calls, find and retain better employees, train them and much more.

As always, we thank you for your readership. We look forward to your comments and ideas for future editorial content.

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Russell Bienenstock is Editor-in-Chief of Furniture World Magazine, founded 1870. Comments can be directed to him at editor@furninfo.com.