Why FT’s Top 100 furniture figures aren’t entirely dour

By Gordon Hecht, YSN Contributor

Earlier this month Furniture Today (FT) magazine released its annual ranking of the Top 100 home furnishings retailers. While the list is not as well read as the Billboard Hot 100, there is an important overall fact revealed on the charts.

Conventional furniture stores, defined as retailers with a traditional mix of furniture, bedding and decorative accessories and possibly appliances and electronics, saw sales declines of nearly 9% from 2022 to 2023. More than 80 of the top 100 dealers saw some declines, meaning that the effect was near universal.

See: Economy Continues to Vex Furniture Biz

Dealers who invest time to measure their incoming shopper traffic experienced a 25-30% drop in shoppers. (Not part of the FT study.) If traffic drops 30% and sales drop 9%, that can mean only one thing.

Retailers are converting shoppers into buyers at higher rates than ever.

Know this: it’s highly unlikely that your sales team became closing machines in the last 12 months. In fact, shoppers today experience fewer sales associates asking for a sale.

Let Your Fingers Do the Walking

The difference is that your shopper is doing more research on that World Wide Inter-webby thing. Before they jump out of the BarcaLounger and pack little Madison and Caden into the family EV Econobox, they pretty much know what they are going to buy and where they are going to buy it.

Your store and business are judged by the appearance and ease of your website. And you have 15-20 seconds to make that first impression.

Your online presence must be complete with photos, videos, prices, reviews, policies, an online offer, chat feature and a list of hot specials. If you are not there today, you need to fix it. There’s just no reason not to.

Gordon Hecht is a business growth and development consultant to the retail home furnishings industry and a regular contributor to YSN. You can reach him at Gordon.Hecht@aol.com.

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