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.
  • Now is the time for leadership

    In times of uncertainty or challenge, the difference between success and failure can be slight and often comes down to a single intangible quality — leadership. Defined, somewhat inadequately, as “the capacity to lead,” true leadership is easily distinguished by its absence and immediately recognized by its effective application. Within most any gathering, it will quickly become apparent where leadership resides, although many institutions and even industries struggle with creating a culture capable of nurturing and developing it. There are traits, however, that all leaders seem to possess. Where some see obstacles, leaders see opportunity. While some rest on their success ... Read More
  • How to win the Internet in 3 easy steps

    If only it was that easy. Every retailer today is wrestling with existential questions around the integration of e-commerce and digital marketing into established business models. There is no longer a debate about the need to play in these spaces, but many questions remain about the most effective steps to execute against that need: How can the store experience be integrated with the digital one? Does a larger digital footprint mean a smaller brick-and-mortar one? How can you own your market when consumers are free to shop across a national, even international, landscape? The retail furniture business today faces unprecedented ... Read More
  • Market events more important as industry challenges mount

    If the furniture industry is going to show meaningful growth this year it’s only because determined and resourceful people are making the tough choices necessary to achieve in a difficult environment. With a few exceptions, this year’s business has been challenging, and every gain has been hard-fought. And at no time has that been more evident than the last few weeks leading into High Point Premarket. The devastation visited on Houston and surrounding areas by Hurricane Harvey was among the most severe in U.S. history, chasing thousands of people out of their homes and confronting thousands with ... Read More
  • Harvey affords perfect example of 'doing the right thing'

    There are very few times when it is difficult to write about the furniture business, but this is one of those times. This week the people of Houston and the surrounding areas of both Texas and Louisiana have endured a level of upheaval and devastation rarely seen on this scale. Thousands have been uprooted from their homes and sent fleeing for their lives, forced to leave their possessions, their family treasures — so much of what makes up the safe cocoon we all build around ourselves — behind. And before it’s over, hundreds of thousands will likely have their lives upended ... Read More
  • Why is the Internet taking share? It’s the consumer’s fault

    There’s been a great deal of discussion recently about the rising power of e-commerce and the concern that Internet specialists could cause a decline in brick-and- mortar retail. Having recently completed, or almost completed, the purchase of a new bed and mattress, I think I know why that might be happening. It’s the consumer’s fault. Consumers are just not reasonable. They don’t care about reasonable delivery windows, the time it takes to have something made or shipped, or unexpected delays from vendors who didn’t hold up their end of the bargain. They live messy, hectic ... Read More
  • How to make ‘customer experience’ more than a buzzword

    It seems almost everyone today is talking about “customer experience.” It has become the retail buzzword du jour, ranking with such classics as “taking it to the next level,” “thinking outside the box,” or my personal favorite, “right-sizing,” (does anyone ever feel “right” after they’ve been “sized” to the unemployment line? And as with so many other buzzwords, the meaning becomes cloudier with increased usage. Ask five people to describe what it means to deliver a great customer experience, and you’ll get several different answers, although most will likely describe something akin to what used to be called ... Read More
  • The first change is the hardest, but could be the best

    Ever have an idea that you thought was great? You did the research, consulted the experts, put together a strategic plan … and then life intervened. Events that seemed certain didn’t materialize. Reasonable, even cautious projections of economic conditions met with a shifting reality, and you were faced with a choice — push through and hope for the best or regroup, reassess and adapt to the needs of a new reality. That’s the choice many retailers are facing this year. January’s optimism to start the year seems like such a long time ago. A new administration in Washington was ... Read More
  • Will you be a 'have' or a 'have not'?

    The most frequently asked question coming out of this Las Vegas Market, as after every market, is how was attendance? Certainly IMC will release results after the market, and just as certainly those who didn’t have a good market will scoff and jest about all markets’ tendency to inflate results. But that would distract from a more important point. The recent market was in many ways a microcosm for the industry itself today. And like the industry, the market was divided into haves and have nots. Some had good (in some cases, great) traffic, and others did not. But ... Read More
  • Uncertain times call for renewed determination

    This was supposed to be the year things turned around. The election, one of the ugliest in memory, was over. A sense of optimism was going to be ushered in by a new business-friendly administration. The uncertainty of 2016 was going to give way to a clear direction fueled by renewed infrastructure investment, a focus on rebuilding domestic manufacturing and the removal of the kinds of regulations and obstacles that were said to be preventing a stronger recovery from the Great Recession. So what happened? It appears instead that continuing gridlock in Washington and increasing international turmoil are making consumers ... Read More
  • Retail Armageddon, my eye! Furniture industry has success stories to tell

    There is a quote attributed to Charles Swindoll that has gained widespread use in motivational presentations, and while such widespread usage can sometimes make such things seem trite, I think it has particular relevance for the furniture business in today’s competitive environment. “I am convinced that life is 10% what happens to me and 90% how I react to it.And so it is with you ... we are in charge of our attitudes.” It seems sometimes that much of the focus on the furniture business is on its struggles, its challenges, on those whose traffic is down or whose ... Read More
  • A 4-step furniture store survival guide

    The first half of 2017 is in the books, and for many it continues to be a struggle. Almost every week there’s another story about a second, third, fourth-generation family business throwing in the towel. It’s not all gloom and doom however, as a few innovative, forward-looking operators are uncovering new ways into the future. If you’d like to join them, here are four things to consider: 1. Escape the commodity trap Unless you’re the low-cost provider, making price the focal point of your selling proposition is no longer sustainable. Treating furniture like any other commodity ... Read More
  • For every disruption, opportunity

    If there was any doubt that the next wave of furniture industry change will be driven by technology — and how companies respond to it — Monday’s issue should put an end to it. Two recent events covered in this issue, Ashley’s DomiNation 2017 and the Shift Tech Summit, each offered a glimpse into the future and what’s clear is: The future is coming faster than you think and Doing what you've done, no matter how well, will put you out of business sooner rather than later.  Interestingly, both events featured presentations in which Kodak figured prominently. For ... Read More