Registrations to the Market were up over 20% I heard. People were in the halls, in the showrooms and in the common areas after the market closed. Buses were full, taxis in high demand and the valet parkers were running their tails off.
By all indications Winter market in Vegas seemed to be a hit!
And why shouldn’t it be? For most 2013 was a good year for our industry. Home sales are trending up, consumer confidence was higher and the stock market exploded giving everyone a sense of better times ahead.
Markets are always a good time to learn more about our industry whether you have a line to show there or not. Here are a few of my market takeaways:
· Walking every floor of every building and looking in windows I got a great sense of some new product trends I want to keep in mind and watch.
· Seeing which showrooms were full of people even without giving free food, gives me a sense of a company that is doing well and makes me ask the question what are they doing right? How can I benefit my business by benchmarking their successes?
· Seeing which retail seminars have the activity and which ones do not gives me an indication of what retailers are interested in to move their business forward. How can I address these interests with my products?
· Checking with the retailer resource center to see what new ideas they are coming up with for retailers give me some ideas to share back home with retailers that did not show up at the market.
· Networking with customers in all parts of the US lets me know what products are selling and what products are not. I also find out what new trends they see, and an overall sense of the market for furniture.
· Talking to other reps at the IHFRA lunch, in the halls, and after hours gives me a sense of what lines are doing good things so I can let my vendors know they need to pay attention. Or if I don’t have a product in that category, should I?
Obviously I am looking at this market from the perspective of a rep. But retailers and factories can take the same thoughts and twist the question to your own perspective. At the last market, I called one of my factories and told them they really should be at market walking the halls to see what was going on even though they were not showing. To their credit, two high level executives came to Vegas for a day and then shopped local furniture stores the next day. They felt it was a very good investment of time to just see what the industry was doing. It got them away from their day to day operations and opened their eyes in some respects to opportunities others were pursuing. That’s very smart and should pay dividends down the road.
We have another big market coming up in April. Start planning right now to make the most of it. By getting outside of your day to day perspectives and seeing what others are doing could easily lead you to a new opportunity that may be your biggest money maker next year.
Best of luck on your market follow up. As always feel free to leave any positive comments below.