Furniture Comes to the Fore at BrandSource Convention

By Alan Wolf, YSN

AVB’s commitment to the furniture category will be showing this weekend, when BrandSource’s 2021 Convention rolls into Nashville with the largest contingent of home furnishings dealers in the group’s history.

Building on its groundbreaking furniture track at last March’s Summit, AVB has prepared a power-packed agenda for home furnishings members under the Furniture Technology Source (FTS) banner.

The program kicks off this Sunday with a special Mattress University session featuring Serta Simmons Bedding’s marketing chief Melanie Huet. Huet, who recently assumed the added title of Chief Commercial Officer, will speak to changes in the consumer’s shopping journey, and how mattress shoppers continue to buy in-store after researching online.

Next up, FTS will focus on three critical areas for home furnishings dealers: Recruitment, marketing and supply chain. The first will be tackled in a “Lunch & Learn” session led by hiring experts CareerPlug, followed by a presentation by AVB Marketing’s own Alisha Starelli, who will examine the future of home furnishings marketing in a post-pandemic marketplace, and will share tips on keeping your furniture business at the forefront of customer awareness.

The afternoon concludes with a Supply Chain Fireside Chat, led by Derek Miller, Chief Sales Officer at Serta Simmons, and Ben Grosebeck, Vice President of Sales for Flexsteel, who will address members’ questions and concerns head on.

The furniture confab continues on Monday with a members-only Furniture Town Hall hosted by Seth Weisblatt, AVB’s Director of Home Furnishings. The closed-door session will provide dealers the opportunity to meet fellow furniture and mattress retailers, share best practices, and discuss new trends and challenges in an open, unfettered forum.

“BrandSource and AVB Marketing continue to provide great solutions for furniture retailers,” Weisblatt observed. “The Furniture Technology Source program plugs members into a platform of vendors, marketing tools and information, helping them remain competitive and viable in their marketplaces.”

Weisblatt noted that despite the reshuffling of furniture markets due to the pandemic — and the resulting overlap with BrandSource’s first in-person event in 2021 — this week’s Convention will have the greatest attendance by furniture retailers in AVB history.

“It is clear that retailers are focused on strategy and connectedness,” Weisblatt said.  “This is the most difficult environment in the last 40 years for merchants, and the concerns over supply chain and product availability are significant. That’s why it’s time to ‘double down’— to sharpen the tools in the toolbox, like marketing implementations and hiring practices, and to leverage the support and collective wisdom of fellow members. The comradery and fellowship between BrandSource dealers is more important than ever before.”