As 2018 comes to an end and 2019 is ushered in, I am left with several questions and observations about the furniture industry as I know it. Over the past few years, the small, local furniture stores have taken a hit because of the largely popular use of online purchasing. The larger, big box stores have made purchasing furniture as easy as ”click and ship”. Because there is such a convenience factor associated with the ease of online purchasing, people seem to settle for “stock” type furniture rather than going out and experiencing the up close and personal shopping experience of a local store. I get it. Everybody is multitasking these days, and this purchase can just be another click in your day. These easy clicks are really taking a chunk of business away from the local stores. So, as I sit back, I am trying to figure out how to bring those “clickers” into my store. How do I make the “clickers need me”?
The answer to my question is that I need to show them why it is important to be present for the furniture purchase. The first thing I will point out is that I do feel the internet is an asset to all stores. The internet is currently the largest and fastest vehicle to find a business or person, it is “THE INFORMATION HIGHWAY”. After all, I think most of us can relate to a time that in order to find a business or service, we would take out that big, fat “Yellow Pages Book” and flip the pages until we found a place that had what we were looking for. OK, so I just dated myself with that statement, but I’m sure someone out there relates to this. In today’s world, the Internet is the “Yellow Pages” just faster and has pictures and pricing of merchandise. I am a firm believer in the Internet being that search engine that leads you to me. It is a lifeline to any business in this day and age. All businesses should have a presence so that you as a customer can choose to come visit with us in person.End result, I think the Internet is good for being FOUND!
The next step is totally up to you, the customer, the furniture purchaser. You need to take that information you found and go and immerse yourself in the whole purchasing experience. I’m not going to totally bash the Internet purchasing world because I do it myself for the smaller purchases and convenience products. I mean, let’s really think about this. Furniture is one of the most important things in your home (besides your kids, pets, and spouse). Your home furnishings should be an expression of who you are as an individual and at the same time serve a purpose. There is a saying “form follows function” made famous by an architect named Louis Sullivan. I’d like to think that every customer that comes to visit us is creating their own form to provide a needed function.
Furniture is an up close and personal purchase. It touches all of your senses and not to mention all of your body parts. We all need our furniture to “FIT”. Whether it is a piece of wood furniture for your bedroom or dining room or the main piece of upholstered furniture for your living area. The piece needs to be right for “YOU”. I feel that this needs to be done IN PERSON, not on a computer screen. Some of the questions that you should be asking yourself when making a purchase are:
Do you like to sit ON or IN your sofa or chair? Soft or Firm? For short legs or long? Sloppy look or Tailored?
Is the piece tall enough for me? For a sofa, “Does my head rest correctly to watch TV?” For a bed, it may be that you need the headboard to be tall enough to accommodate all of the decorative pillows you own. Silly but a real concern.
Is the dining chair shaped to fit the small of my back correctly because we play cards at that table for hours? Is the seat large enough for my husband to be comfortable? Upholstered or not? (That’s a real concern for a lot of us, especially me!!!)
Is the sofa a good napping sofa, because I love afternoon naps?
All of these concerns can only be addressed in person and they differ from person to person. You really can’t address “how does it feel and fit me” online. Which leads me to the conclusion that we need to get to know “YOU” and how you live. By getting information from you, about your lifestyle and family, we can tailor items to your needs and comfort level.
Fabric for upholstered selections is an extremely personal choice. There are so many options today with “performance” fabrics that clean very easily, to fabrics that look and feel like leather, to actual beautiful full grain leather in every color imaginable. There are thousands of choices on color and texture out there. There are the “NEW COLOR OF THE YEAR” selections and then there are the good old faithful like navy, brown, black, beige (lots of beige), green and red. You may like lots of pattern and color, or maybe you would like a very neutral palette. By getting to know “YOU” we can help narrow down these selections to be an expression of you and your family.
I know I have been mostly speaking about upholstery here, but it is just as important to lay your eyes on a beautiful piece of wood furniture. You can see the depth of the finish and the quality of the woodworking from the drawer construction to the stability of the rails installed on a bed only if you are touching and feeling the piece. You can only see and appreciate the beauty of a well-made/finished piece of wood furniture or the glow and fire of a “Flame Mahogany”, or the layers of grain in a beautiful cherry piece if you see it in PERSON. (The pictures below do no justice to the actual piece of furniture.)
In closing, I hope I have conveyed the importance of “IN PERSON” furniture purchasing. In order to get the best possible selection, tailored to you and your needs, you need to be “PRESENT”. After all is said and done, “Your home is a reflection of you and your family”. So, get out and come shop your local stores and let us get to know you because “WE CARE”. Can you say the same for the Internet? Food for thought!