Time to fuel the home furnishings fires

Hello Team,

Happy nearly-end-of-summer to all BrandSource members.  We look forward to seeing many of you at the rapidly approaching Convention 2022 in Dallas.

For those who haven’t been to a BrandSource show in awhile, things have changed quite a bit on the furniture side of things, and I implore you to speak with your fellow members, your member relations specialist or to myself about all the new and exciting benefits you can take away from an AVB event.

A major focus of this month’s show will be the sudden downturn in traffic through our furniture showrooms (and to our websites) starting in mid-to-late spring, and how to address it. The first rule is don’t panic. Yes, business is softer, and July ’22 was slower than the pre-pandemic July 2019 period, but the evidence suggests we are possibly returning to a normal summer seasonality here.

Now is the time to put your stake in the ground within your home market, before your competition does. The major regional and national players — Ashley Homestores, Rooms-to-Go, Ethan Allen and the like — are going big on marketing, and their sales are outpacing the broader industry as a result. (More on industry data at the Convention.)

That said, it would certainly behoove us to look back a few years and see what we used to do to drive consistent traffic. The one-word answer: advertise! Of course, in these dynamic times, managing cash, people and supply chain are pivotal. But above all, you can help mitigate these problems by promoting your business.

Two years of record-breaking sales spoiled many of us, and made us forget that promotion has long been the key ingredient in building our businesses. But furniture does not benefit from manufacturers calling consumers to action in multi-billion-dollar ad campaigns. We must do it ourselves. And while traditional advertising mediums such as newspapers, mailers and TV may still have some pull depending on your market, the best bang for your buck has been and remains digital. In fact, we have many BrandSource members who have gone all-digital, all the time.

Here are some “bare minimum traditional marketing suggestions (many of which your AVB Marketing team can deploy on your behalf) from SmallBizGenius and ZenBusiness:

Create unique video ads. YouTube videos are watched by over 2 billion users monthly.

Advertise on YouTube Mobile. These ads receive viewer attention 83% of the time!

Hold a Social Media Contest. Not only is a social media giveaway great for engaging customers and increasing page views, but it also creates goodwill for your business.

Partner with another business. Collaborating with another company can be a great way to boost sales for both. Plus, you’ll have a new audience that you might not have otherwise come into contact with.

Introduce a new product. Few new items are launched this time of year, and there have been fewer new product introductions during COVID than during “normal” times. That means your item has a better chance of standing out and attracting attention.

Have a tent sale. Some dealers have dropped this traditional promotion, but many have also brought back their annual tent sale events. They remain a great way to move excess product or clear out old merchandise. Bring up the margins by supplementing these sale items with closeout buys or promotional products purchased just for the event.

Email your customers a killer deal. Ninety-nine percent of consumers check their email daily, and 49% say they would like to receive a promotional email from their favorite brands on a weekly basis.

So don’t sit back and wait this one out. Get out there and promote yourself; there is business to be had! And I know this may be tough to hear with many of your warehouses bursting at the seams, but now may be the time to thank your vendor partners, who took care of you throughout the pandemic. Also, consider creating a dialogue with new partners, what with all the flooring and inventory discounts seemingly being offered across the industry.

And never fear — we have many FTS sessions at the BrandSource Convention that will address each of these topics and more (see agenda below). 

See you in Dallas!

Michael Posa
General Manager | Home Furnishings
Michael.Posa@avb.net

Convention Furniture Sessions

FTS and its vendor partners will be presenting a gangbuster cluster of timely, informative and can’t-miss educational and training sessions at the Gaylord Texan in Dallas. (For the complete BrandSource Convention agenda, click here.)

Sunday, Aug. 28

12 p.m.

  • Serta Arctic Product Training (San Antonio 1)
  • Beko: Who’s in It for Today (Texas 6)

2 p.m.

  • Serta Arctic Product Training (San Antonio 1)
  • Ashley Furniture Product Training (Texas 4)
  • Tempur-Pedic Product Training (Texas 6)

4 p.m.

  • Ashley Furniture Product Training (Texas 4)
  • Corsicana: How to Close More Mattress Sales, the Choice Can
    Be Yours! (Texas 5)
  • Tempur-Sealy: BrandSource Exclusive! Introduction to All-New Sherwood (Texas 6)

Monday, Aug. 29

1 – 2 p.m.

  • Furniture Technology Source Track: Best Practices on Driving Foot Traffic Through Promotions (Grapevine 2)

2 – 3 p.m.

  • Furniture Technology Source Track: Optimizing Your Product (Grapevine 2)

4:45 – 7:30 p.m.

  • General Session & Stampede (Texas Ballroom)

Tuesday, Aug. 30

7:30 – 9 a.m.

  • Furniture Town Hall Breakfast (Texas 5 & 6)

9 a.m. – 5:30 p.m.

  • Expo (Longhorn Exhibit Hall)

Wednesday, Aug. 31

8 a.m. – 12 p.m.

  • Expo (Longhorn Exhibit Hall)