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Editor's Corner

Furniture World Magazine



In the fourth century B.C. Taoist philosopher Chuang Tzu wrote: “You can break down walls with battering rams, but you cannot stop holes with them. All things have different uses. Fine horses can travel a hundred miles a day, but they cannot catch mice like terriers or weasels.”

It occurred to me that in 2021 our industry used ‘battering rams’ to remove barriers to doing business and, like ‘fine horses,’ retailers traveled a hundred miles a day to keep up with demand. As for terriers and weasels, I’ve decided to withhold comment.

During COVID, many Furniture World readers used sets of tools for website development, lead funnel management and staffing solutions, among others. Now that the rush of consumer spending on home furnishings has reversed, additional sets of tools are being considered.

You may believe, as Bob’s Discount Furniture’s CEO Bill Barton (interviewed for this issue) does, that choppy economic times are an excellent place to be for your business. But, if you are concerned about slowing retail traffic, this edition of Furniture World offers useful suggestions.

Check out David McMahon’s article that provides strategies for building traffic, including ways to skillfully use CRM systems, adjust advertising and refocus sales associates on honing their follow-up skills.

For those of you who are looking for ways to increase close rate and average sale from available traffic, Laura Khoury explains the benefits of using click data to reduce style choice indecision. Gordon Hecht suggests applying Dairy Queen’s approach to present manageable choices on the sales floor to achieve those same ends.

Jennifer Magee continues her excellent series on store design, with a focus on what retailers are doing to improve design center areas; a proven way to extend brand appeal, boost store traffic and close sales.

One more thought. Back in early 2020, It never occurred to me that furniture retailers would look back fondly on the COVID years as a time of record sales and profits. And, right now, hardly anyone can see a quick resolution to current economic concerns. Is there still cause for optimism? Loren Bouchard, the creator of “Bob’s Burgers” thinks so. “It’s a choice,” he recently observed. “It’s not because you expect a good outcome. It’s because to face the future with a pessimistic attitude is worse for you, no matter what comes.” Is Bouchard a modern-day Chuang Tzu? Maybe not, but I believe that his observation is a valuable tool for times like these.

Good Retailing!

Russell Bienenstock

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