• Thomas Russell

Kincaid Shoppes grow to more than 100 locations

 La-Z-Boy Bedrooms & Dining Rooms in Glendale, Ariz., an 11,000-square-foot store featuring mostly Kincaid product, incorporates the Kincaid Shoppe technology.La-Z-Boy Bedrooms & Dining Rooms in Glendale, Ariz., an 11,000-square-foot store featuring mostly Kincaid product, incorporates the Kincaid Shoppe technology.

HUDSON, N.C. — Kincaid Furniture's efforts to market its custom capabilities through technology are generating continued success at retail, company officials and retailers say.

The company first launched its Kincaid Shoppe retail merchandising program about four years ago.

The concept features some of the company's bestselling upholstery and solid wood bedroom and dining room groups. It also offers a 600-swatch fabric wall and a patent-pending touch screen computer system called Shoppelink that lets salespeople and consumers view the brand's full assortment, along with custom options available within each line.

There are now more than 100 retail locations utilizing this technology, said Max Dyer, vice president of marketing. In addition to the custom options, Shoppelink also shows customers what is in stock and offers price quotes on various items.

"It is like having our entire catalog at their fingertips, along with current pricing and availability," Dyer said. "They can see it customized and price it accordingly."

He said the floor plans range from 2,000 to 5,000 square feet, with many featuring vignettes that help consumers envision room settings. These are meant to give customers ideas and boost their confidence as they approach the often-daunting task of decorating their homes.

"The best thing we can show a consumer is a look and a vignette that inspires them," Dyer said, noting that many shoppers are afraid of making mistakes with big ticket purchases. "We said, ‘Let's create a beautiful statement that makes a consumer comfortable and confident about their purchase.'"

Kincaid provides the software and computer free of charge to retailers that buy into the program. This, in turn, helps educate the customer about the available options and helps market the company's custom capabilities.

"On any floor where the ownership and management is not resistant to special ordering, it has exceeded our expectations," Dyer said. "They have embraced it, and it is amazing how much it gets used."

One proponent of Shoppelink is Chris Bates, vice president of marketing and merchandising for La-Z-Boy Furniture Galleries of Arizona.

In 2011, the nine-store group opened its first La-Z-Boy Bedrooms & Dining Rooms store in Glendale, Ariz. Located next to the number one Galleries store in its system, this 11,000-square-foot location is devoted to the La-Z-Boy wood lines, which include Kincaid, American Drew and Hammary Furniture.

About 80% of the floor space is devoted to Kincaid.

"We have three to four vignettes on the floor that we can show along with the Shoppelink program," Bates said. "We also have some La-Z-Boy upholstery that can be customized."

"A large portion of the business is very project oriented and includes our designers quite often," he added. "There is an opportunity for us to fully utilize the resources that the Shoppelink program offers.... We actively engage with the Shoppelink program. It is an important part of our ability to service our customer in the bedroom and dining room store specifically."

Thomas RussellThomas Russell | Associate Editor, FurnitureToday

I'm Tom Russell and have worked at Furniture/Today since August 2003. Since then, I have covered the international side of the business from a logistics and sourcing standpoint. Since then, I also have visited several furniture trade shows and manufacturing plants in Asia, which has helped me gain perspective about the industry in that part of the world. As I continue covering the import side of the business, I look forward to building on that knowledge base through conversations with industry officials and future overseas plant tours. From time to time, I will file news and other industry perspectives online and, as always, welcome your response to these Web postings.

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