Furniture Market To-Do List:
Another market is upon us and there will be no doubt that everyone either showing or shopping will have specific areas of needs to fill. Manufacturers will be looking to grow their distribution into underserved territories and strengthening commitments from established accounts. Retailers will be looking for inspiration, filling category voids and to replacing slower selling items. We all have things that must be accomplished during the most important time for our industry. I wanted to add a couple of items for consideration to the list of necessary things to be accomplished at market.
Manufacturers - What is your Internet policy? Where or with whom do you have an Internet presence? What are your expectations from a channel that produced $11 billion dollars of revenue last year? How much of that was yours? Do you have a MAP policy? Is it set at the right price? How will you get your share of Internet business without harming your brick-and-mortar partnerships? If these items are not on your to-do list, then you have time to add them. The Internet is the desired way for the consumer to begin her shopping experience. If you are not there from the onset, you will be more than likely missed. You spent so much time and effort to develop new product, display it in a compelling manner, photograph it and market it. How will you achieve the return you are looking for without being in front of the desired consumer? This is your opportunity to help your retail channel; by letting the end consumer know who you are, and how to find your products. But, this must be done without taking away from your brick-and-mortar stores.
Retailers - Are the manufacturers you display online? Do they have an enforceable MAP policy? What are they doing to promote their products at the point of entry for the shopper, which will ultimately promote you? What third party site are you partnering with to give your storefront visibility to the end consumer when she starts her buying process? If you are not fully engaged and pursuing her online, then you may have found the reason that your store traffic is in decline. There are third party sites that will help you reach her and the cost is minimal. It's also certainly more effective (and more inexpensive) than traditional forms of advertising.
Please consider adding these items to your list, as we get ready for the most exciting time of the year for our industry.