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.