Furniture Everyday

Bill McLoughlin
I'm Bill McLoughlin, Editor in Chief at Furniture Today. In the 25 plus years I’ve covered retail the thing I’ve enjoyed most is the people; hearing their stories, learning about their companies and sharing insights on the business. Through this blog I hope to continue that dialogue. Sometimes you may agree with me, sometimes not. But it’s my hope you will find a fresh perspective and perhaps an idea or two that helps improve your business. I welcome your comments and look forward to a long and productive dialogue.
  • And the award goes to . . .

    And the award goes to ... well, that’s up to you. Furniture Today’s Annual Leadership Conference, this year to be held Nov. 28-30 at the Four Seasons Resort in Orlando, Fla., will crown three Furniture Industry Leadership Award winners, with both nominations and eventual winners determined by you, the members of the furniture industry. This is an evolving process and builds on our initial efforts at industry involvement in the process at last year’s 20th Anniversary Leadership event. In order to ensure meaningful evaluations of comparable organizations, we’ve divided the program this year into three categories, with ... Read More
  • Where sales 'experience' and store 'experience' diverge

    While attending a recent educational event, I was privileged to hear a number of successful store-based retailers talk about the importance of delivering a superior experience to consumers today, at a time when e-commerce is gaining an increasing share of attention and discretionary dollars. One cited Disney and its theme parks as a prime example of such experiences. Given all that our staff has written about this in recent months and how many furniture retailers are now taking proactive and creative steps to enhance their stores, this seemed an exciting and informative topic. But then something surprising happened. In discussing ... Read More
  • Are you fast enough to compete in the coming speed-to-market war?

    When consumers step into a furniture store or surf the store’s website today, they’re not just comparing it to other furniture stores or other furniture sites. Instead their expectations are being set by every other site they visit (retail, social media or otherwise) and every other store they enter. When the average consumer buys a piece of furniture and they’re told it will take six, eight or 12 weeks, they’re not saying to themselves, “Well, that’s a week better than the other furniture store told me.” What they’re thinking instead is that most any ... Read More
  • Did Facebook’s Zuckerberg just fire a warning shot across the furniture industry’s bow?

    Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg’s recent announcement that the social media giant would make its new Camera Effects augmented reality (AR) platform available to outside developers signals a quantum leap forward in the implementation and dissemination of that technology. The announcement drew widespread press coverage as it clearly signals that augmented reality is a technology whose time has come. However, an element of the presentation that garnered far less attention may have even greater implications for the furniture industry. In demonstrating the various applications for AR, which Zuckerberg sees evolving from its current smartphone-based platform to wearable technology that consumers ... Read More
  • 5 strategies to leverage the power of your store

    Hardly a day goes by that a story isn’t published somewhere about the decline of retail stores and the growing dominance of the Internet. And there’s little doubt that some stores, both within the furniture space and without, will go away. However, there is a growing awareness that store-based retail offers some powerful opportunities for consumer engagement, entertainment and interaction that simply can’t be duplicated by a computer screen or cell phone, as Amazon’s increasing experimentation with stores attests. Furniture Today’s High Point Market issue offers several case studies of retailers who are using their ... Read More
  • Will Amazon vs. Alibaba emerge as a battle for global logistics dominance?

    It was one of those news stories that might have gotten overlooked this week and whose significance may only become apparent months or even years from now. A report in the Wall Street Journal this week noted that an Alibaba-backed Chinese logistics firm,Best Logistics Technologies Ltd., is preparing for an IPO here in the U.S., likely in September or October. With the company currently valued at $3 billion, it could be one of the biggest U.S. listings for a Chinese company this year, according to the Journal. The company currently operates 400 centers in China, three warehouses ... Read More
  • What will you do when business gets tough?

    That’s a question a number of retailers may confront this year. The battle for consumer discretionary dollars is more intense than at any time since the Great Recession. Despite generally positive economic conditions consumer spending on furniture remains erratic geographically, demographically and seasonally. With growth likely to be flat or in the low single digits for the foreseeable future, one company’s gains will likely be another’s loss. As a result, many retail business leaders will face difficult decisions about the allocation of scarce resources. When the first wave of difficulty comes and revenues get pinched, how will ... Read More
  • Let’s not start running from the Amazon Death Star just yet

    The sky is falling. The sky is falling. Earlier this week the New York Times reported that Amazon is planning to open brick-and-mortar furniture and appliance locations. The last barrier to the mega retailer’s conquest of the furniture store business has been breached. Certainly the end is near. Or is it? If you’ve followed the ebb and flow of retail long enough, you’ve seen this movie before. High tech mega retailer uncovers new way of serving consumers, disrupts traditional retail, puts lots of stores out of business, eliminates all competition and becomes the only successful retail format ... Read More
  • When furniture and philanthropy come together

    I’d like to shift gears this week from our regular focus on strategies to improve your business and instead talk about some people who are working to improve the lives of others less fortunate. On May 16, the Salvation Army of High Point will hold its inaugural Darrell and Stella Harris Champion of Hope Dinner. The event honors the long-standing commitment of Furnitureland South founders Darrell and Stella Harris, who generously supported the organization both professionally and personally. In speaking recently about the event with Captain Bobby Jackson who runs the local chapter, he recalled the deep and consistent ... Read More
  • Did Premarket reveal the industry’s Achilles heel?

    This week’s Premarket saw its largest number of exhibitors since 2014, and while attendance was somewhat curtailed by an unexpected storm across the Northeast, there were plenty of dealers in town, and some even came in early to get a head start (no surprise there). Events like this are always a good opportunity to assess the industry’s health, and I received some interesting responses to the question, “How is business?” This is one of those questions that typically elicit the stock response: “Good.” This time however, there was often a long pause, occasionally followed by a facial expression ... Read More
  • Is it a craze or just crazy? Build on cultural touchpoints

    About this time next week Disney’s live action version of Beauty & the Beast will open in theaters. That’s significant for at least two reasons. First, early reviews coupled with the usual Disney marketing machine all but guarantee it’s going to be a runaway hit, with the potential to become a short-term cultural phenomenon (more on that later). Second, it’s one of the few movies in which home furnishings play a starring (or at least co-starring) role. And that is an opportunity. Whether or not you are an official licensee or are running an official Disney promotion ... Read More
  • Why a new hire at Clive Daniel Home is more important to your business than you think

    In skimming Furniture Today’s newsletter or website for the latest news you may have glossed over a personnel announcement from Clive Daniel Home. The luxury furniture retailer with stores in Naples and Boca Raton, Fla., has just hired Robert Voelker as director of special projects and visualization. It’s a title you probably haven’t heard before, and a position that didn’t previously exist for the retailer. What’s significant about the post is what it says about the direction Clive Daniel Home sees its business going and the role that new visual technology will play in that ... Read More