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Editor's Corner: Lead A Horse to Water

Furniture World Magazine


Editor's Corner


Our lead article, “Multiple Storefronts and Why They Are a Great Idea,” by Jeniffer Magee, explains the value of creating multiple store entrances to attract attention, reach shoppers who might not otherwise visit, and achieve other brand goals. It’s gotten me thinking more generally about entryways.

“Look on every exit as being an entrance somewhere else,” said a character in Tom Stoppard’s play “Rosencrantz and Guildenstern Are Dead.” It’s a cautionary quotation, since store entrances are exits by another name, and “somewhere else” for furniture retailers is often an online or brick-and-mortar competitor.

Every exit is a re-entrance:: A best practice for furniture retailers, Magee suggests, is to show shoppers a door that is a re-entrance to another storefront, a main store entry or another free-standing store within your home store campus. “Was what you found at one of our entrances too expensive? Try our clearance center entry. Too cheap? Perhaps our elegant, free-standing design center has just what you need!”

Another way to help shoppers re-enter and refocus on what’s important, says Ed Tashjian (page 86), is to realize that people visit furniture stores to benefit from living more comfortable and satisfying lives. Gala Magriñá (page 20) takes this idea one step further. She observes that most people have accepted that spending most of their lives in subpar interior environments is okay. Her experience is that it doesn’t take too much coaxing to get most people to realize that improving home environments can make them healthier, improve their relationships, and maybe become better versions of themselves. It can be a more differentiating message than offering a variation of the unbeatable prices, quality and service promises almost every other furniture retailer touts.

“You can lead a horse to water, but you can’t make it drink,” states the Old English proverb. Likewise, getting shoppers to re-enter to drink repeatedly is what successful retailers do. Whether customers buy something today or exit without purchasing, bringing them back is easier if they leave their data behind. Jeff Horowitz shares ideas for using data (page 50) in re-marketing campaigns to reach the right people at the right time with the right messages.

Also in this issue, Pam Danziger explains how Crate & Barrel (page 96) encourages re-entry by filling product gaps and working to help customers build on past purchases. Finally, David McMahon (page 38) advises Furniture World readers not to despair. Same-store sales numbers and other operational metrics are up for some retailers in 2023. Even in the current economic climate, taking steps to ensure that every store exit is an entrance back into your stores will facilitate the best possible results.

Wishing you good retailing,

Russell Bienenstock
Editorial Director/CEO

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