Run a Successful Furniture Retail Store
If you think about it, a furniture retail store should be among the most successful businesses out there. Everyone needs furniture. But only a few furniture stores succeed while most flounder. So what makes a furniture store successful?
While no single formula applies to all furniture businesses equally, some rules do apply, such as offering value and outstanding customer service.
To offer value, you have to know and understand the community in which you set up your store. You have to understand the needs, desires, and aspirations of those who live in the area. That understanding should guide and inform your merchandising, advertising, and pricing.
To offer value, you also need to understand the product you are selling. Value never goes out of style whether times are tough or whether there is a boom.
Outstanding customer service is also part of offering value. What customers experience in your store counts for as much as what they buy. Hire people who reflect your values, and treat them with the same respect you want them to extend to the customer.
Advertise to Your Market
You have to get the word out. All advertising is not expensive, as there are many different ways of getting the word out. Pick one that suits your budget and market.
- Know your market. Target your advertising to your customer's needs.
- Emphasize your strengths and never misrepresent them.
- Mention if you are offering a free service or item. Although discounts can bring in customers, offering something for free can bring in additional ones. You can offer free sales tax or free delivery. Think about ways of making this possible and the trade-offs.
- Make your advertising more concentrated. Instead of advertising within a 25-mile radius, bring it down to 15 miles and advertise more intensively.
Carry Quality Furniture
While advertising will bring people to your furniture store, you need to have quality furniture to back it up. If not, you’re throwing money down the drain and doing yourself a disservice.
- Offering quality furniture and other home furnishings will earn you respect and a reputation for reliability.
- Comparing what you carry with what the customer wants. Always monitor customer complaints about the furniture you carry, as returns and complaints will give you a good idea of what the customer does not want.
- Continuously add new collections to your merchandise offerings to keep it exciting.
- Offering choices.
- Featuring unique accessories that complement your furniture mainstays.
- Creating an exciting floor display by arranging vignettes.
Offer Competitive Pricing
When you offer competitive pricing, you offer value to make it worthwhile for a customer to shop at your store.
- Know your market. This can't be stressed enough. When you run a furniture retail store, you should offer prices that keep with your location and the demographic that you are targeting. Offering too low or too high a price will make you less competitive.
- By streamlining your operation and offering only basics at your store, you can whittle your price down and offer bargains and discounts.
- By offering a specialized service, such as personalized attention to the customer, in-home design service, or customization, you can charge somewhat higher prices. Before you do that, however, you should always make sure that there is a need for any such service within your target market.
- Show respect for your customers by offering real value. Simply offering a low price is not enough.
Have a Trained Sales Team
Having a trained sales team lets you convey confidence in your products and company.
- Your sales team should have strong knowledge about the products and understand the different price points. They should always know where your advertised items are located and the price you are offering.
- They should be able to engage the customer in a dialogue to ascertain their needs and preferences. Good listening skills are very important.
- Customers appreciate a salesperson who goes out of his or her way to help them. This approach can also help in establishing long-term relationships and garner customer loyalty. As you know, customer loyalty translates into future sales and creating a favorable word of mouth buzz.
- Your sales team should act as facilitators in helping customers find what they need.
- Appearances do matter and reflect your company, which is why your sales team should always be appropriately groomed. They should present an approachable and pleasant face to the world.
Offer Outstanding Customer Service
So many customers' complaints stem from bad customer service. Make sure that your furniture store offers your customers an experience that goes beyond their expectations.
- Build relationships with your customers to create an environment of trust and loyalty. This will only generate more sales for you.
- Have your entire workforce including delivery, warehouse, and office staff understand the principles of good customer service to prevent losing the sales that your sales team worked so hard to get.
- Make sure to communicate clearly and answer any questions promptly.
- Never over-promise. While that might work in the short-term, making promises you cannot keep will only make customers unhappy.
- One very important principle of good customer service is that you should treat your workforce with courtesy and respect, setting a tone for how things get done around your store.
Conclude With a Satisfying Delivery
Stellar delivery service is as important to your business as any other aspect. Remember that this is the last contact point that the customer will have with your business. As such, your delivery staff should act as your ambassadors.
- Require your delivery staff to be presentable and polite.
- Determine the day and time of delivery, and confirm with the customer. Clear communication is essential to customer satisfaction and reduces complaints and problems.
- The delivery staff should know how to handle the furniture appropriately and carry tools to take care of minor problems, such as touch-up pens and screwdrivers.
- If the delivery staff is to set up the furniture, make sure that they understand they are to do so.