With fall selling season moving in there is a clear sense of anticipation with both retailers and suppliers. The summer lull was profound this year as everyone complains about lackluster traffic. There were just not bodies coming through the doors. It could be a malaise in the buying public towards furniture which is a highly discretionary purchase. Some say that Hispanics which constitute quite a buying force in many markets are all not spending money because they don’t know what’s going to happen on the immigration front. One of our astute local dealers indicates that the buyers come into his store and claim product in all stores in his market look the same. When queried further he finds out their real problem is everyone is advertising the same stuff. In his words the consumer thinks the product is bad based on online reviews so they just don’t bother looking in the store.
Another common theme we hear and read about in retail magazines and articles is that consumers have no need to go into a store to shop when they can do all that online before buying. They look at various sites, read reviews, research manufacturers sites, etc. This obviously keeps door swings down.
No doubt, web sales are on the rise as evidenced by all financial numbers we see reported. Wayfair’s insatiable appetite for goods from many suppliers I talk to, Amazon’s increased emphasis on big tickets, the Walmart – Hayneedle merger and the internet IS stealing sales from traditional stores. In spite of this, many brick & mortar merchants have sharpened their stores, improved their mix and put an urgency to the efforts of their staff. This plus retailers beginning to aggressively use the internet themselves has led to a mini revival in their fighting attitude. We are working with many to help beef up their online assortment and if we can help please give us a call to share what’s working online. Some categories are definitely better than others.
Until proven wrong I still contend that the female buyer (who is our bread and butter) would still rather touch, feel and be romanced by the merchandise and a professional sales associate. Use the internet to show them what you got and then reel them into your store for the purchase. This year vow to make that customer love your establishment and reward you with strong sales and bottom line profits.