In recent years the furniture industry has seen many ideas and styles
recycled. We’ve witnessed a resurgence of Mid-century modern and more
recently, a trend toward a floral, country-influenced aesthetic now known
as cottagecore. Design maximalism and minimalism are trending at the same
time. And, traditional-influenced furniture styles are coming back in a
strong way. People have gone back to adopting their grandparents’
hand-me-down furniture as home decorating gems instead of putting them on
the curb. What’s old has been made new again—often with a new twist.
Much like recovering grandma’s vintage sofa in a cool, new fabric, our
industry continues to expand the time-tested retail ideal of providing
good, old-fashioned customer service. Now it’s been re-branded and updated
under the heading of “customer experience management.” Spurred on by the
likes of Amazon, new ideas about store design and technological advances
allow furniture stores to compete by looking at new ways to keep customers
engaged and happy, removing obstacles to better sales and growth.
Furniture World readers who are interested in further improving how
customers experience their stores will find the March/April 2022 issue to
be an excellent resource.
Jennifer Magee’s article, “Design For Customer Service,” looks at
different ways retailers can use store design and technology to help
customers feel comfortable and cared for as soon as they enter in-store
environments. Innovative store design is one of the best ways to reduce
the anxiety and frustration encountered in many shopping experiences.
David McMahon explains how retail automation for pre-sales and open sales
opportunities can make purchasing home furnishings easier for shoppers and
trigger a variety of follow-up strategies to make sure that questions and
inquiries don’t fall through the cracks. Automation can also enhance
customer access to information from first contact to the post-sale service
For this issue, we interviewed Brian Morgan, a founding partner of
Texas-based retailer Couch Potatoes, who explained why a cold beer goes a
long way toward setting the stage for a good customer experience. The
Couch Potatoes store is a case study in how cultivating a store-wide
attitude of caring for people can make a big difference in people’s lives
and their experience of a store’s brand.
Finally, sales educator Scott Morris’ article, “Closing Moxie” provides
perspective on the skill of closing. Some sales techniques have come to be
viewed as manipulative. But, when used correctly, these tools enhance the
customer experience by breaking down the anxiety and indecision customers
bring with them into stores and help customers make the best possible
Russell Bienenstock is Editor-in-Chief of Furniture World Magazine, founded 1870. Comments can be directed to him at firstname.lastname@example.org.