Furniture Everyday

Bill McLoughlin
I'm Bill McLoughlin, Editor in Chief at Furniture Today. In the 25 plus years I’ve covered retail the thing I’ve enjoyed most is the people; hearing their stories, learning about their companies and sharing insights on the business. Through this blog I hope to continue that dialogue. Sometimes you may agree with me, sometimes not. But it’s my hope you will find a fresh perspective and perhaps an idea or two that helps improve your business. I welcome your comments and look forward to a long and productive dialogue.
  • A 4-step furniture store survival guide

    The first half of 2017 is in the books, and for many it continues to be a struggle. Almost every week there’s another story about a second, third, fourth-generation family business throwing in the towel. It’s not all gloom and doom however, as a few innovative, forward-looking operators are uncovering new ways into the future. If you’d like to join them, here are four things to consider: 1. Escape the commodity trap Unless you’re the low-cost provider, making price the focal point of your selling proposition is no longer sustainable. Treating furniture like any other commodity ... Read More
  • For every disruption, opportunity

    If there was any doubt that the next wave of furniture industry change will be driven by technology — and how companies respond to it — Monday’s issue should put an end to it. Two recent events covered in this issue, Ashley’s DomiNation 2017 and the Shift Tech Summit, each offered a glimpse into the future and what’s clear is: The future is coming faster than you think and Doing what you've done, no matter how well, will put you out of business sooner rather than later.  Interestingly, both events featured presentations in which Kodak figured prominently. For ... Read More
  • Organic eggs, Swiss chard and sofas, oh my!

    What do Swiss chard, organic eggs and sofas have in common? They could all soon be ordered on and delivered by Amazon.com within a day or two, possibly within hours. The e-commerce giant’s recent acquisition of Whole Foods opens up a whole range of possibilities for Amazon, not the least of which are more than 460 potential new distribution points across the U.S. in the form of Whole Foods store locations. (For more, see story on page 1). Now exactly how “soon” is soon and how fast the delivery will ultimately be are details that remain to ... Read More
  • An open letter to Amazon’s Jeff Bezos

    Dear Mr. Bezos, It has become increasingly apparent that Amazon.com is intent on becoming a major player in the furniture business. For the better part of the past two years, our editors have run into your representatives at industry trade events as they scoured the country seeking converts to your platforms. Most recently, one of our editors attended a meeting of furniture industry retailers in which Amazon’s representatives announced plans to eliminate your national delivery requirement for furniture sellers in an effort to draw local furniture stores into the Amazon marketplace. You may have seen that story or ... Read More
  • What it means to lead, and why you should care

    If you look up the definition of leadership in the dictionary you find things like, “a capacity to lead; the act or instance of leading.” Both of these are defining the thing in terms of itself, creating a meaningless definitional loop, much like defining a circle as, “a shape that has the properties of a circle.” You could try googling “what is leadership”. You’ll find “about 207,000,000” results, a large number of which are pitches for various products promoting leadership books or classes and just as large a number of articles that define leadership by what it ... Read More
  • If only every day were a holiday

    One of the cover stories in this week’s issue looks at furniture store sales over the Memorial Day holiday, and by all accounts it was a great weekend. Many of the retailers contacted reported double-digit gains, with some setting sales records. Perhaps that comes as little surprise since Monday-holiday sales events have become a critical driver of furniture industry sales in recent years. The real challenge appears to be maintaining momentum between holidays. Even those enjoying the Memorial Day magic offered mixed reactions about what strong holiday sales mean for the remainder of the year. While some saw it ... Read More
  • And the award goes to . . .

    And the award goes to ... well, that’s up to you. Furniture Today’s Annual Leadership Conference, this year to be held Nov. 28-30 at the Four Seasons Resort in Orlando, Fla., will crown three Furniture Industry Leadership Award winners, with both nominations and eventual winners determined by you, the members of the furniture industry. This is an evolving process and builds on our initial efforts at industry involvement in the process at last year’s 20th Anniversary Leadership event. In order to ensure meaningful evaluations of comparable organizations, we’ve divided the program this year into three categories, with ... Read More
  • Where sales 'experience' and store 'experience' diverge

    While attending a recent educational event, I was privileged to hear a number of successful store-based retailers talk about the importance of delivering a superior experience to consumers today, at a time when e-commerce is gaining an increasing share of attention and discretionary dollars. One cited Disney and its theme parks as a prime example of such experiences. Given all that our staff has written about this in recent months and how many furniture retailers are now taking proactive and creative steps to enhance their stores, this seemed an exciting and informative topic. But then something surprising happened. In discussing ... Read More
  • Are you fast enough to compete in the coming speed-to-market war?

    When consumers step into a furniture store or surf the store’s website today, they’re not just comparing it to other furniture stores or other furniture sites. Instead their expectations are being set by every other site they visit (retail, social media or otherwise) and every other store they enter. When the average consumer buys a piece of furniture and they’re told it will take six, eight or 12 weeks, they’re not saying to themselves, “Well, that’s a week better than the other furniture store told me.” What they’re thinking instead is that most any ... Read More
  • Did Facebook’s Zuckerberg just fire a warning shot across the furniture industry’s bow?

    Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg’s recent announcement that the social media giant would make its new Camera Effects augmented reality (AR) platform available to outside developers signals a quantum leap forward in the implementation and dissemination of that technology. The announcement drew widespread press coverage as it clearly signals that augmented reality is a technology whose time has come. However, an element of the presentation that garnered far less attention may have even greater implications for the furniture industry. In demonstrating the various applications for AR, which Zuckerberg sees evolving from its current smartphone-based platform to wearable technology that consumers ... Read More
  • 5 strategies to leverage the power of your store

    Hardly a day goes by that a story isn’t published somewhere about the decline of retail stores and the growing dominance of the Internet. And there’s little doubt that some stores, both within the furniture space and without, will go away. However, there is a growing awareness that store-based retail offers some powerful opportunities for consumer engagement, entertainment and interaction that simply can’t be duplicated by a computer screen or cell phone, as Amazon’s increasing experimentation with stores attests. Furniture Today’s High Point Market issue offers several case studies of retailers who are using their ... Read More
  • Will Amazon vs. Alibaba emerge as a battle for global logistics dominance?

    It was one of those news stories that might have gotten overlooked this week and whose significance may only become apparent months or even years from now. A report in the Wall Street Journal this week noted that an Alibaba-backed Chinese logistics firm,Best Logistics Technologies Ltd., is preparing for an IPO here in the U.S., likely in September or October. With the company currently valued at $3 billion, it could be one of the biggest U.S. listings for a Chinese company this year, according to the Journal. The company currently operates 400 centers in China, three warehouses ... Read More