Bold Retail Predictions for 2016

Bold Retail Predictions for 2016

Volume 145 NO.6 November/December Furniture World Magazine

Posted: 11/27/2015 By Gordon Hecht

 

Whether you browse the headlines of World News Weekly, or cast a glance at the National Enquirer at the supermarket check-out, chances are that you will soon see these headlines touting BOLD REVELATIONS for 2016. I would rather stake my fortune on rolling boxcars three times in a row at the Golden Nugget during January’s Vegas Market, but you can be sure that millions of readers will live by the information they read in those tabloids.

January 2016 Prediction…

Government Forces Take Over Your Business: My crystal ball reveals that your business will be affected by some local, state, or national law that goes into effect four hours after the conclusion of the Orange Bowl. It may be mattress recycling, a sales tax increase, minimum wage changes, or signage restrictions. I’ll take this prediction one step further. At least one out of four retailers will not be ready for this change and some will pay costly penalties. You still have time in 2015 to research any upcoming ordinances so you can avoid legal headaches! Check with your CPA, Attorney, your local congressperson or city council.

February 2016…

Weather-Geddon: You may see buckets of rain in the south, feet of snow in the north, or more darned sunny skies in the west. I can, therefore, be certain that your shopping traffic will be slowed, or even halted at least one day in February. The result will be near zero sales for some period of time. Even your local TV station can’t pinpoint the exact day this will occur, so don’t expect me to tell you either. Plan for the worst today! First, be sure you have an employee phone tree or a way to communicate store and delivery closings. Next, BE READY TO ROLL with the hottest offer ever to melt away Winter Sales Blues. You‘ll have to make up for lost time soon after the next “Weather-geddon”. Get those ads and merchandise ready!

March 2016…

You Will Get A Personnel Headache: I’ll stand by this prediction without reserve. Your top salesperson will LEAVE, or your bottom salesperson will STAY! Either way, early Spring will find you traveling along that famous creek without the necessary oars! Stay or leave, your sales production and morale will be affected. Some wise business leaders will find themselves prepared with a drawer full of resumes of qualified candidates, and others will lose $30-50,000 in sales each month.

April 2016…

Attack Of The Undelivered: It’s hard to believe it, but in 2016 we will still stake our business on that Slow Boat from China, or Viet Nam, or Malaysia. Either you will sell off samples in anticipation of that new shiny merchandise from the Vegas Market coming in, or your phone will ring with customer complaints of undelivered merchandise. April is the cruelest month for shipments. Factory inventory is low and shoppers are flush with Tax Refund Dollars. Plan for these slowdowns by setting up a Reward System for shoppers who are disappointed ($500 in store credit if you fail to meet your delivery promise) and a Punishment System for vendors who over-promise and under-deliver. You might as for 90 day terms if they ship late, or 5% off invoice for late shipments. If your vendors are true partners, they will sign up for this when they get your market orders.

May 2016…

I Foresee A Big Parade At The End Of The Month: Maybe even two! One will be for our brave men and women who made the ultimate sacrifice for our country, and the other will be for your sales and delivery team for planning a successful record breaking event. My Two Parade Prediction is not all inclusive! Some Retailers and Manufacturers will be left out. How many Parades do you want in your town?

June 2016…

The Internet Won’t Shut Down: We will have already wrapped up half of this decade and almost half of 2016, and there are still some retailers who won’t believe in the power of the Internet. I predict that fewer people will get a daily newspaper by this June than last, and more people will DVR and TIVO right past your expensive TV commercials. This is not the year to spend half of your advertising dollars on digital marketing, but it is the year to make sure that Digital gets the largest share of your budget. More than ROP, more than TV, more than inserts and circulars.

July 2016…

Twenty Strong Store Managers Will Declare Independence From Fear: Everyday store managers live with fear, the ANGST that their trusted office manager, or data entry clerk will quit, and no one will understand the POS process (for clarification, POS means Point of Sale!). However, I boldly predict that 20 or more store managers will DEMAND that they are trained and understand all office functions so they will be able to SURVIVE without the office help that holds them hostage. End fear in your store this month. And if you are the store owner, spend some hands-on time to become proficient with your back-end systems as well.

August 2016…

They Are Either Coming In, Or Going Out: By Month 8, one of your local competitors will give up and burn out with one of those WHIZ BANG wall to wall sell-offs. Or, one of those National Behemoth Chains will pick your burg for expansion. Both can disrupt your business and steal market share from you. You don’t have to be the next store with garish yellow and black posters in your windows. If the NBA playoffs are done by now (they seem to last FOREVER!) you will have heard that “THE BEST DEFENSE is a good OFFENSE” at least four score times! Go on offense, and give 110%!

September 2016…

Week #2 Sales Will Be Lower Than Week #1: It seems to happen every year. Labor Day sales reach new records, and then things slowly fizzle. Check your 2015 September numbers, and I’ll wager that you did 60% of September’s business from the first to the tenth. Lots of people wait for Labor Day to shop, but unless your closing rate is 97.5%, your sales team still left a few buyers out there. You can still capture more sales. Create sales by using the “EXTENDED by POPULAR DEMAND” theme.

October 2016…

You Won’t Be Able To Buy Time: In case you haven’t heard, there is some sort of a Presidential Election in 2016 and whoever the candidates are; their spending race will look like a nuclear arms race on steroids! Your loyal TV and Radio stations will drop you like a third party candidate so they can reap the rich rates that the Dems and GOP pay. Less people are reading the paper and local candidates are jamming the Postal Service with junk mail. Pick your advertising source and invest heavily. Vote “NO” on sales slowdowns!

November 2016…

51% Of The Country Will Be Happy With The Election Results: OK, 49% will hate and fight it. I am very sure of those last two statements. But after an election, we tend to see spirits rise, along with the stock market and overall well-being expectations. I predict that 51% of Vendors and Retailers will take advantage of the GOOD FEELINGS and will promote heavily. 49% will grumble and half of those will not see 2018!

December 2016…

I Don’t Think A Furniture Item Is A Very Good Christmas Gift. Try as we might, we have not convinced the public that a new sofa, mattress, recliner, or dresser has a place under that decorated tree. Our customers prefer to waste their money on TVs, Jewelry, and Clothes. You won’t make it with coat racks and silent butlers (does anyone still make those?). I predict that some smart manufacturers will help retailers promote likely Christmas items like TV consoles and jewelry armories by shipping in a ton of them at a hot price, and give them extended terms (March 2017) on the unsold inventory. It will foster a feeling of mutual trust and partnership between Vendors and Retailers that will last throughout the New Year.
On second thought, I am taking that last prediction back!

Gordon Hecht is a Growth and Development Manager for National Bedding Company’s America’s Mattress stores, nearly 400 locally owned and operated bedding stores across the country selling Serta-branded and America’s Mattress-branded mattresses. He started his 30+ years experience in the Home Furnishings industry in Las Vegas, NV as a delivery helper and driver.

He has been recognized for outstanding sales and management achievement with several organizations including Ashley Furniture HomeStores, Drexel-Heritage, RB Furniture, Reliable Stores, and Sofa Express. He has served as Store Manager, Multi-unit manager and National Director of Sales. With his first-hand knowledge of our industry’s front line, Gordon has devoted his career to guiding others to exceed their goals.

Joining National Bedding Company in 2014, as part of the Serta Retail Concepts Group With over 400 stores, America’s Mattress stores is one of the fastest growing bedding retailers in the country.

Co-author of the “Better Bedding Selling Tips” featured on Furniture World Online, Gordon has been a frequent contributor to company newsletters, and contributing writer for industry magazines.
Source: http://furninfo.com/Furniture%20World%20Articles/3581

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