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.
  • Did furniture stores not get the retail apocalypse memo?

    I keep reading about this retail apocalypse thing. Apparently brick and mortar is dead. It’s time to turn all that space into condos or something. Just yesterday I received an e-mail asking if we were working on any year-in-review/looking-ahead stories focusing on the retail apocalypse. It seems there’s a cottage industry of experts just waiting to share their thoughts on this seeming inevitability. Who knew? I was already to call and find out what they knew that I didn’t. Then the U.S. Department of Commerce released its October results, and it seems it might not ... Read More
  • Traditional rules of retail no longer apply

    I’m always a little surprised when people discuss e-tailers like Wayfair and Amazon and want to measure their success by their month-to-month profitability. It usually goes something like this, “Sure Wayfair had $1.2 billion in sales last quarter and was up 41.9% year over year, but look at the loss it had. When is it ever going to turn a profit?” It’s a direct echo of conversations I heard all throughout the ’90s about Amazon. Each quarter the revenue would go up, it would capture more customers, and sceptics would question its profitability and speculate about ... Read More
  • Your best future customers may not be who you think

    It seems sometimes that all anyone wants to talk about these days is Millennials. There are 80 million of them (possibly more depending on who's counting). They're already the biggest demographic in the market and are about to take over the purchasing world as they get jobs, set up houses and start having kids. You’d think they were the only customers that matter. They’re not. Aside from the millions of still-buying Baby Boomers and the only slightly smaller and often forgotten Generation X, there’s another highly influential, widespread and likely bigger-ticket-buying group you may be ... Read More
  • Are you ready for 2018? Stand out or get shut out

    What happens when retail is soft, store traffic is down, competition for consumers is intense and yet the cost of goods is going up? Whatever it is, we’re about to find out. One of the more widely discussed subjects at the recent High Point Market was the prospect of price increases. They’re a reality in the bedding business, and pass-alongs throughout the supply chain seem likely. They’re being broadly discussed in the upholstery business, although it’s unclear how much of that will be passed along to retailers, and it’s fairly certain consumers won’t see ... Read More
  • The road to tomorrow starts here and now

    A great deal of time and effort these days is spent pondering what the future of the furniture business will look like. How will stores evolve? How can local or regional players compete in an environment of national, even global e-commerce giants? Will digital advertising and social media replace traditional marketing formats? How do you reach Millennials, and what do they want to buy? All of these are important questions, and they just scratch the surface. That said, there is no path to the future that does not go through running a good business today. Despite all the talk about ... Read More
  • Tragedies bring immense pain, but also stories of heroism and hope

    I would like to take pause from the regularly scheduled business column that appears in this space to offer heart-felt condolences to all those impacted by the shooting in Las Vegas. It is yet another reminder, as if one was needed after the succession of tragedies that have struck Houston, Miami, Puerto Rico and so many other places this year, that life is a precious and fragile gift. There are no magic words of comfort to ease the suffering of those who have lost loved ones. There is only empathy, sympathy and prayers to ease their pain. It is a ... Read More
  • What’s the best way to advertise to Millennials?

    Earlier this month, I received a call from a writer working on a story for the website Curbed. For those of you who don’t know the name, Curbed is a Vox Media property focused on housing, architecture and urban lifestyles. It features headlines like, “Best home good sales to shop right now at Wayfair, Amazon and more” and “Stunning 1930s home with private beach asks $3.96M in England.” The premise of the story was, and I quote, “Why is it so hard to create decent, middle-price furniture, stuff that's between Ikea and Crate & Barrel in price.” Now ... Read More
  • 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