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Jim Green Hi, I’m Jim Green, author of the three volume set of books on the retail furniture business, Furniture Retailing 101 . The set of books looks at the industry from a newcomer’s perspective and covers the fundamentals and basics of nearly every aspect of furniture retailing. Though it has been written for the novice, I believe the book set will have real value to individuals entering the business from other industries, journalists, analysts, manufacturing executives and representatives and anyone with an interest in learning more about our industry. I have over 30 years experience in both the supply and retail sides of the furniture business, and hold an MBA in Management. In this Web log I will write about some of the more basic and rudimentary aspects of our business and present observations of some of what I have learned over the past three decades. Visit my web site at www.furnitureindustry101.com . Contact me at firstname.lastname@example.org or phone 727 347-1201.
Thirty years ago, I learned a little lesson from the most savvy merchant of mattresses I have ever known. The little nugget is as valid today as it was then. The lesson...bedding is like a box of chocolates. First, a consumer often doesn't know what he/she's going to get because it's often a mystery as to what's inside. Second, and more importantly, when you want one...well... you want one. Beddin... Read MoreComments (0)
In most retail furniture companies, buyers are guided by budgeted gross margin objectives on each category of merchandise for which they are responsible. Generally, to continue in their jobs, they are bound to achieve the objective. Pricing merchandise for sale to consumers can be very cut-and-dried or can require significant consideration, review, and intuition. Formulaic Pricing or Pricing for P... Read MoreComments (8)
To a new buyer, it is logical that everything one buys to sell to retail customers should be huge winners. After all...that is somewhat the definition of the job of a merchant, isn't it? Everything a retailer places on the showroom floor should result in sale after sale after sale...shouldn't it? Actually, no. Blasphemy, you say.Merchandise to Say ‘NO' ToI've written about this several times befor... Read MoreComments (3)
In April 2010, I wrote this blog which seems highly appropriate in this little series, ‘For New Buyers' so I have decided to repeat it. In my last post, ‘Negotiating with a Plan' some readers seemed incensed at the notion that a retail furniture merchant might be so bold as to attempt to negotiate the terms of a furniture sale with a vendor. While I could not disagree more, I do appreciate the inp... Read MoreComments (4)
One of the most critical errors made by new (and many experienced) buyers in their mastery of effective negotiating skills is entering into a bargaining session without any pre-determined strategy. A merchant should be keenly aware of the fact that negotiating terms of a buy, whether price, payment, discount, shipping, or lead times can be the difference between a good deal and a great deal, a goo... Read MoreComments (11)
The art of negotiation is an acquired one. Of course, some individual personality plays a part; so does the relative size of the dealer's ability to order merchandise, the power of the ‘P.O.'; relationships may have a bearing. To a great degree, though, a buyer can learn many of the skills involved in becoming an effective and successful negotiator. There are indeed, many components that play a pa... Read MoreComments (1)
A dilemma for most merchants is in determining the optimum number of vendors from whom to buy. Two alternatives of varying degrees exist. The first is to be highly selective with the vendor structure and only buy from a few. The second is to have a more well rounded, varied assortment by buying from many vendors. Of course there are degrees of each but the issue is the level to which the vendor st... Read MoreComments (3)
In many ways, merchandising is a balancing act. The very undertaking of putting together an assortment of merchandise consisting of both style and value, taste and price, enough products that are superstars in sales as well as some that round out a selection while selling at an acceptable level all represent balance. One of the greatest challenges though, lies in when to eliminate merchandise from... Read MoreComments (2)
A furniture merchandiser's job isn't all glamour. He/she is expected to be a prognosticator of saleable merchandise, a fashion guru, and a predictor of trends. The merchant must be a forecaster of exactly how many per month of an item will be sold (sometimes seeing into the future 60 or 90 days). If too many are bought for stock, the buyer may be over-inventoried and the boss might get angry. If t... Read MoreComments (3)
Chuck Limberopoulos was a giant of a man. He stood 6 feet 2 inches tall and tipped the scales at about 300 pounds. He was a big Greek with a fondness for horribly foul cigars and ouzo. Chuck could be volatile (not often) or he could be the most charming person in whatever room he seemed to captivate (very often). Those who knew him or worked with him in the bedding industry will most assuredly rem... Read MoreComments (3)
For almost three months, now I have posting what I think are valid examples of ‘common sense marketing'. This is the final one. Retailers might wish to do an internal audit of their businesses to determine how well their marketing uses a common sense approach. While this audit may not be totally scientific, it might reveal areas that should be targeted for improvement. I would be happy to email al... Read MoreComments (9)
I have been posting examples of common sense marketing since my post of August 19 because I wanted to cause readers to think about whether his/her business uses common sense strategies and tactics. I think that common sense, more than anything else, drives businesses. Sometimes, these common sense decisions may not be monumental. But, they also may be the difference between achieving moderate and... Read MoreComments (3)