Are we stuck in the furniture industry’s version of flypaper—sticky, pandemic-created—where the end to the inconvenience and
uncertainty is endless? Sometimes it feels that way. As I write this column, the news cycle has taken a negative turn with regard to the pandemic.
Everything contains its opposite. Booms set the stage for busts. Inconvenient times allow prepared businesses to take advantage of opportunities. Putting negativity bias aside can reveal flip side opportunities to the supply chain issues, hiring problems and cash flow concerns that occupy the current collective industry psyche. A number of these opportunities are revealed in this edition of Furniture World. For example:
Roughly 1.5 billion square feet of retail space will become available this year. High real estate vacancy rates have made it a buyers’ market for home furnishings retailers who are looking to expand in innovative ways. Check out Jennifer Magee’s article to find out how to negotiate your best deal no matter what size space you are shopping for.
A structural change in how consumers shop for mattresses during the height of the pandemic has settled back to a constant 51 percent of consumers saying they are willing to buy a mattress without visiting a brick-and-mortar store. Goodbed.com founder Michael Magnuson explains in this issue and advises how retailers can compensate.
As incredible as it may seem, one exceptional salesperson wrote over $3 million in furniture and mattress sales in 2020. With the right conditions, policies, expectations, and marketing, contributing editor Gordon Hecht suggests, retailers can recreate conditions that encourage this type of highly productive salesperson.
Many retailers are finding it difficult to find and retain excellent employees. Industry consultant David McMahon sees this as an opportunity for retailers to apply the same processes they use to attract and retain external customers to supercharge how they find, interview, on-board and retain employees.
So, are we stuck in the furniture industry’s version of flypaper? Should we, like common house flies, wring our hands in apparent agitation? I hope that, instead, you will be able to implement a number of the ideas found in this issue to your advantage.
Russell Bienenstock is Editor-in-Chief of Furniture World Magazine, founded 1870. Comments can be directed to him at email@example.com.