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Stein World programs help retailers sell online effectively

Heath E. Combs -- Furniture Today, April 24, 2012

HIGH POINT - Accent source Stein World is hoping several new programs will help brick and mortar furniture stores become more competitive and effective online retailers.
They include new policies to help combat showrooming with Internet minimum pricing and consistent product language, to present a more consistent online brand message. Showrooming refers to the practice in which consumers visit local stores to view and test products but buy them, if available cheaper, online.
Jack Johnson, senior vice president of sales and marketing, said retailers' top complaints about running their own websites are that it's a laborious task, and they don't receive updated product information "in a timely manner."
Stein World's Internet pricing policy allows brick and mortar retailers to earn more off their sales with a hybrid model, with both brick and mortar and online sales, allowing them to compete with online-only retailers, Johnson said.
Among its policies, Stein World has developed consistent product language for all retailers and pricing guidelines that will help better monitor pricing at all retail platforms, Johnson said.
Essentially, the policies will give brick and mortar stores the ability to offer the same pricing as online competitors.
Stein World is also releasing tools allow retailers to sell its product through their own websites, Johnson said.
Any items in the company's line under 150 pounds will be available to drop ship by April 2013, he said.
Johnson said the effort doesn't aim to prohibit online sales, but fosters a more complementary approach between online and brick and mortar stores.
By August, he said, the company will launch a new website that will have a dealer locator function and offer product photography for dealers to use for free, he said. It also will offer real-time updating of product availability and information.
In product, the company has a new domestic chair program with 10 frames and at least 100 fabrics. Chairs retail for about $249 with a 24-chair minimum of the same chair.
The program's value lies in its short stocking and Made in America story, Johnson said. Stein World also launched a barstool program this week.
Also this week, the company announced that it has launched Facebook and Twitter pages.
To celebrate the launch Stein World is holding a contest. Visitors that "like" the page will have three chances to win product with $1,000 in retail value. Winners of the prize will be announced June 22.


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