Stop me if you heard this one! I never get tired of gala store openings. Recently we attended the grand opening of Delta Shores California (Sacramento) of R.C. Willey. The ribbon cutting brought out many of the “who’s who” of Western factory and rep personnel, thus, Jay and I were accompanied by Robert VanFarowe, Vice President of Sales for Progressive.
As always, RCW had dazzling in-store displays of crisp new creation from the best factories in the U.S.A. It amazes me to see how many customers come out for these events that have no idea how intricate a process it is to merchandise and display that panorama of style and price points at prices that allow them to purchase for their home. While this event was fresh in my mind, a phone conversation with Tom Balisteri, of Colder’s in Milwaukee, allowed us to reflect on the importance of getting consumers through your store.
So much of the purchase, of items for a women’s home, is an emotion experience that needs to be satisfied. I contend that the internet purchase takes place as a rather business-like affair. Bringing consumers through the door to see the new soft grey finishes on case goods, to feel the luxurious fabrics of fine sofa, to delight in the comfort of a new leather motion sectional pre-sensual.
The internet does not offer price breaks that brick and mortar can but it does offer convenience and speed of transaction.
To counter those advantages, you MUST think outside the box!!! RC Willey was over-whelmed by patrons waiting an hour or more in the rain for some nominal “free” or bargain items.
Many of those bodies through the door may be mooches, but they also are going to remember the beautiful room settings and come back or tell a friend. What ever happened to the customer open house the days before an anniversary sale? Why are the door busters or limited quantity items at blow-out process not seen anymore? Is the only way to entice a customer 60% off a “whackout” price or 7 years no interest? What I’m driving at is the excitement folks feel in a beautiful store with America’s beautiful furniture and a friendly sales associate tactfully presenting it.
Cooking classes, guest speakers, “how to” sessions, welcome wagon parties, etc. The only rea-son for a visit to a brick and mortar operation is to FEEL good about experiencing your purchase.
Rose Blumkin always said she loved selling furniture to people because they were happy to be buying this to make their life and home better.
The internet will grow but so will regular furniture stores if they make people happy to be in your place of business.