Merchandising and sales expert Denis Caldora provides tips on how to make smart buying decisions at market.
Do Your Homework
Before you leave for the Dallas Market, take a look through recent editions of the Home section of your local metropolitan newspaper to observe the furniture trends in your area. Then go online to check the furniture styles that are popular right now overall. No one buys a table to go with the chandelier, it’s always the other way around. We are an accessory to the furniture industry, so you must find out what is selling there so we can select lamps and fixtures in complementary styles and finishes. Ask interior designers what style preferences they’re seeing among their clients. Remember to bring along the binder of photographs that you created last month (see Seasonal Displays, December issue) so you can best choose products that perk up each display.
Keep Price Points in Mind
When it comes to figuring out price points, take a look at the local real estate listings to find out what homes in your area sold for – not what the asking prices are. This will help you figure out what the market will allow. Do the homes in your area have granite countertops or laminate? Do stainless steel appliances dominate or gloss white? What are the most popular cabinet finishes? You need to know what your customers want and can realistically afford.
Bring in Some Wow
You should designate 20 percent of your buying budget to brand new products. Choose things that are going to excite your sales staff and spark your customers.
Besides looking for new products that are going to be incorporated into your existing displays, search out new items that can stand on their own. Set a trend by placing these pieces in a display anywhere between the entrance and the sales counter – this is the most highly trafficked pathway in your showroom. Even if customers are just coming in to buy a bath bracket at the back of the store, they still pass by this presentation when they are coming and going. It will get their attention and will give your store a new look. If you want to emphasize the assortment further, you can put up signage that reads “New Arrivals.” Just having a few unique pieces up front will give your showroom a breath of fresh air.