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The Traveling Retailer's Tip #13: Picture This In 2016!

Furniture World News


It’s hard to believe- we just closed the doors to another Holiday Weekend of sales. Now it’s December, and we begin the long stretch run to wrap up 2015.  Whatever plans you made for your business last year (you made plans, didn’t you!?!) I hope that your victories were great and your losses were small.

Don’t give up on 2015 yet-there are still 31 great days of selling! But if you haven’t given much thought to 2016, today is a great day to start. Success starts with imagining the results you want to achieve.  When you think of success as a DESTINATION, then you have to PICTURE what that destination looks like! As Meriwether Clark may have said to William Clark “If we don’t know where we are going; how will we know when we get there”.

Your business’ success is a team effort. Encourage every member of your team from delivery driver clear down to ownership to think about and describe their PICTURE of what success looks like. For some it may be a 10% pay increase, for others a new building, satisfied shoppers, or market dominance. No matter the content, stating the goal is the first part of starting the plan.

Picturing the results is part of long range planning and it should also be part of your daily and hourly routine. 
  • Your store team should PICTURE your store as being a clean and pleasant place to shop-properly lit, uncluttered, with inviting floor samples in a logical order.  
  • As they see the next shopper arrive in the parking lot, sales teams can PICTURE the delight the shopper will get from sampling and testing your merchandise.
  • Shoppers should be given the information to PICTURE how great they will feel from a full restorative night sleep-free of back pain and grogginess-ready to conquer the world. 
  • In the end, top producing sales people will PICTURE the shopper saying “YES!” and signing on that proverbial dotted line. 
  • Store owners know that the game of retail involves risk! Wise owners know that not every business decision will pay off-and making no decision is the shortest road to stagnation and failure. PICTURE the rewards of the risks you have to take, the potholes in that road, and the plan to get to the end (or exit-if needed). 
  • Your PICTURE should always include a well-considered plan for the People, Product, Place, Promotion, and even Pricing needed to reduce risk and increase the odds of success. 
Take a few days to think about the goals that will define success for you in 2016! 
A couple of side notes to help you plan for 2016-For ALL RETAIL SALES (not just bedding and home furnishings) business was down about 10% for Black Friday compared to 2014.  Online sales were up 14%. Here are some of the reasons:  More stores are starting their sales a week or more before Black Friday, so overall sales for November may still increase. Also, more traditional retailers are increasing their online presence. Make sure that your website is up to date and open as a store is a sure way to increase sales next year.

Carrying inventory is always a risk-you have to balance the “just in case” with the “just in time”. But I will bet you my Aunt Mary’s Fruitcake that some shoppers will rush into your store between December 20th and 31st for a queen size mattress or recliner that they need to strap to the minivan RIGHT NOW. Plan to order a couple of mid-priced sets now, and PICTURE those items traveling home with your satisfied shopper.

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