Third Annual National Home Furnishings Month Launches 2011 Home Mortgage or Rent Sweepstakes

Third Annual National Home Furnishings Month Launches 2011 Home Mortgage or Rent Sweepstakes

Dealer Sign Up Now to Participate in Only National Sales Event Connecting Home Furnishings Retailers and Consumers, Increase Store Traffic This September

LAS VEGAS — (July 13, 2011) — For the third consecutive year, National Home Furnishings Month unites retailers and brand leaders from across the country, bringing consumers sage advice on home décor and driving sales at furnishing retail locations throughout the United States. Retailer participation opens today for this International Market Centers-sponsored Is It Home Yet?™ campaign, a complimentary service to retailers that provides the opportunity to utilize sweepstakes and promotions to drive in-store traffic.

This year’s campaign will feature a Home Mortgage or Rent Sweepstakes. In addition to last year’s highly successful Home Mortgage Sweepstakes, in which homeowners have the chance to win mortgage payments for one year, renters will now be given the chance to win one year’s rent. This promotional element will be supported by International Market Centers’ marketing efforts, as well. The sweepstakes kicks off Labor Day Weekend and runs through Sept. 30.

“We created National Home Furnishings Month three years ago with the goal of uniting retailers, and providing our partners with the necessary tools to inspire a new-found customer enthusiasm,” said Robert Maricich, chief executive officer of International Market Centers. “Last year’s resounding 30 percent increase in participation proves that this concept works, and has been widely received by our retail partners. Our hope is that this year’s sweepstakes inclusion of renters as well as homeowners will open the doors for retailers to reach a new consumer.”

Last year’s NHFM set a new nationwide participation standard for both retailers and consumers. More than 9,000 retailers nationwide participated in the consumer-facing marketing initiative, which included taking advantage of a listing on the store locator section of the campaign’s official website, www.HomeYet.com, as well as the complimentary toolkit and in-store promotion. This year, the promotion will run throughout the entire month of September allowing time for retailers to garner additional sales and take advantage of the month-long sweepstakes.

Aside from retailer’s own media commitments, the campaign will be promoted through a significant social advertising campaign on Facebook that will be hyper-targeted to reach millions of engaged users, those with the highest affinity toward decorating and purchasing for their home, building a community of influencers on social media. Consumers can become fans of the Is It Home Yet?™ Facebook fan page where they can get trend updates and interact through activities including a “What’s Your Style Design Quiz.”

The campaign’s website, www.HomeYet.com, enables retailers to easily promote their store’s National Home Furnishings Month specials and sales events on the Retailer Locator.  The site also features new content including home makeover tips and trend information, design quizzes to engage consumers, as well as recent woman-on-the-street interviews featuring HGTV’s Monica Pedersen designed to uncover what today’s consumers are seeking for their home.

“National Home Furnishings Month is a great way to encourage customers to celebrate their homes and purchase new home furnishings,” said Sharron Bradley, executive director of Western Home Furnishings Association. “Over the last few years, we have seen this campaign create a renewed sense of excitement with customers in purchasing home furnishings and it has helped drive traffic to our retailer stores during the month. Is It Home Yet? is a simple and low-cost campaign for both large and small retailers to participate in. We encourage all of our members to take part in this month-long event and drive more traffic to their stores.”

Retailers who want to participate in this year’s NHFM Is It Home Yet?™ campaign can sign up today at www.homeyet.com/retailer-login or visit the WHFA Retail Resource Center located in Building C, Suite C-496 during the Summer 2011 Las Vegas Market, taking place Aug. 1-5. Interested retailers will be prompted to answer the three questions listed on the retailer administration page. Retailers signing up to participate in the sweepstakes component before Aug. 5 will receive a uniquely branded URL which their customers will use to enter the online sweepstakes.  Retailers who sign up after this date will refer their customers directly to www.HomeYet.com to enter the online sweepstakes.

For more information, visit http://homeyet.com/retailer-login or contact retailstores@homeyet.com.

GREENleaders Certified Sustainability Training

RETAILERS: Don’t miss the greatest opportunity for growth in the home furnishings industry!

The latest consumer research shows that there is a burgeoning interest in green residential, especially for stores located in the western US. Our latest consumer research found an overall 37% consumer trial rate for green products which rises to 47% on the west coast! Yet, the research also shows that consumers don’t know what products are green or how to find them. Closing that gap represents YOUR best opportunity for growing your business!

WHFA and the Sustainable Furnishings Council want to help YOU succeed!

GET A SNEAK PREVIEW OF GREENleaders Certified Sustainability Training

Sample the value of GREENleaders and gain some business-building tips with SFC’s FREE webinar:

Sustainability Essentials
Join us for a FREE Webinar on July 18 1:00 PM – 2:00 PM EDT
Space is limited.
Reserve your Webinar seat now at:
https://www2.gotomeeting.com/register/824841699

This one-hour webinar provides a grounding in the environmental issues related to home furnishings. Content also includes a synopsis of GREENleaders, the industry first certified sustainability training course. After registering you will receive a confirmation email containing information about joining the Webinar.

Then register for GREENleaders scheduled now in 3 cities near you!

Aug 3 – San Francisco
Aug 4 – World Market Center Las Vegas
Aug 4 – San Jose

CLICK HERE to find out more and register.
www.sustainablefurnishings.org

Ibiza Collection, With An Old World Design Motif, Is The Latest Introduction From Pride Family Brands’ Castelle Line

From the manufacturer of handcrafted outdoor furnishings, Pride Family Brands, the Ibiza Collection incorporates intricate cast work while adding old world style to outdoor living.

(Hollywood, FL) – July 13, 2011 – A European design influence and old world details are incorporated as the latest collection from Pride Family Brands’ Castelle line, the Ibiza, is introduced. From the luxury manufacturer of aluminum outdoor furnishings, the Ibiza Collection is handcrafted incorporating designer cast components inspired by old world artistry.

“The handcrafted quality of our furnishings is on full display with the Ibiza Collection,” said Jamie Lowsky, CEO, Pride Family Brands, Hollywood, Fla. “Simple, yet well appointed, the curved supports and open back castings exemplify the artistry and skill that our design team puts into every collection and what has made them the recipient of multiple design awards.”

Named for a beautiful Mediterranean island off Spain, the Ibiza boasts intricate eternity-like curves in chair back castings and flowing arm supports. Ibiza is being introduced with a full complement of dining options including sling and cushioned seating as well as multiple conversation pieces. Items within this collection are crafted to coordinate with other old world collections offered throughout Pride’s Castelle line. All pieces are equipped for long outdoor use with durable multi-phase powder coat finishing and attractive hand-applied antiquing.

The Ibiza Collection will be introduced in Pride Family Brands’ showroom #1747 during the International Casual Furnishings  and Accessories Market at the Chicago Merchandise Mart  from September 12 – 15, 2011.

For more information about Pride Family Brands and their distinguished lines of casual furniture visit www.pridefamilybrands.com or contact 954-735-9800.

WHFA & NHFA Announce 2011 Las Vegas Summer Market Seminar & Business Survival Academy Series

Las Vegas, NV—The Western Home Furnishings Association (WHFA) and National Home Furnishings Association (NHFA), leaders in quality education, have released the Summer Market educational seminar schedule. The Retailer Resource Center (RRC), located in their new showroom in C-496, is designed to provide buyers with every business need and convenience.

During Market, the RRC will host a powerful selection of industry speakers on a diverse range of specific retail issues. These complimentary workshops are designed to motivate, educate and accommodate busy buyer schedules while still providing a wealth of quality information.

WHFA has partnered with the World Market Center to offer the WHFA Business Survival Academy Series on Wednesday afternoon in the Retailer Resource Center. Retail industry experts Rich Kizer and Georganne Bender will present GenerationSpeak: What You Need to Know About the Diverse Generations of People Who Shop and Work In Your Business. This Business Survival Academy Series session pulls from data that Kizer and Bender have learned over the years of generational focus groups and attendees will come away from this presentation with a clear understanding of each generation, what they expect and what to do about it. Other sessions held in the new Retailer Resource Center will feature topics such as sales and sales management, social media, succession planning, design, operations, promotions and much more.

RRC seminars, brought to you by WHFA and NHFA, are offered Monday, August 1 through Thursday, August 4 during the Summer Las Vegas Market.

A complete listing of the dates and times of WHFA seminars follows:

All seminars are in the WHFA/NHFA Retailer Resource Center, C-496.

Monday, August 1, 2011

9:30 a.m.

8 Great Closings
Philip Gutsell, GutSELL & Associates

How often have you seen or heard the following from your customers? “This is the first place I’ve shopped”; “It’s more than I want to spend”; “I have to check with my significant other, room size, etc.”; “I have to think about it”; “I saw it elsewhere for less.” Philip Gutsell will show and demonstrate the most effective methods to teach your salespeople how to close today. Each of these eight techniques will be elaborately exposed with step-by-step procedures to cut down the number of walks you currently experience.

11:00 a.m.

We Can’t Wait For Customers, Go Get Them!
Brad Huisken, IAS Training

No longer can furniture retailers wait for customers—sometimes they aren’t coming. Dealers today have to create business. Most salespeople believe the goal when a customer walks in is to make the sale—Brad Huisken says the real goal should be to make a friend. Learn to increase your personal trade, repeat business and referral business through building relationships with your customers. Brad will share how salespeople can get more people coming into the store than ever before, how to sell more of the people that are already coming in and how to sell more to the people you are already selling.

12:30 p.m.

Profit NOW
John Egger, Profitability Consulting Group

Profit is the bottom line—period. John Egger, drawing on years of industry experience, education and consulting observations, will show you how stores, even during the recession have kept profit for their companies.

2:00 p.m.

Web-based Intelligence
Bob George, FurnitureCore.com

Would you buy a car without any gauges? That decision would be the equivalent of running your business without knowing your numbers. A recent survey in a major technology magazine listed the leading investment for small and mid-sized businesses in 2011 as Business Intelligence Technology applications. Learn how retailers and manufacturers alike can use groundbreaking software service applications to improve top line and bottom line profitability. Know the available gauges that measure your performance and enable you to make fact-based business decisions in real time.

3:30 p.m.

My Associates Have Been Trained & Don’t Need or Want More Training
Mark Lacy, The Furniture Training Company

Retailers large and small too often believe that their salespeople don’t need or want more sales training. Nothing could be further from the truth. They absolutely need and want better training. This seminar, for corporate executives and furniture store owners, examines the impact an organized, ongoing furniture training program has on store sales. Attendees will review eye-opening, never-before-seen data collected from thousands of furniture sales associates. Learn the differences between the training needs of newly hired and veteran sales associates. Discover the differences in attitudes towards training between poor producers and million dollar sellers.

Tuesday, August 2, 2011

9:30 a.m.

Public Relations: The Secrets Revealed
Kathy Wall, The Media Matters, Inc

Kathy Wall, from The Media Matters, unveils the mysteries of public relations, and how you can make it work for your company. What is the purpose of PR? Do you know the difference between good PR and advertising? How do you identify what is newsworthy without being self-serving? How can you use PR to increase your traffic and increase sales? What does the press need from you to cover your story? Kathy will also share ideas, stories and great examples of public relations opportunities.

11:00 a.m.

Measuring and Maximizing the Value of your Website
Steven McLendon, MicroD, Inc.

Relative to your peers, how does your website compare? What are the key attributes that provide superior performance? This program will present simple metrics and key objectives to measure the performance of your site while providing business advancing “best practices” to maximize your website’s performance.

12:30 p.m.

How to Prepare for Today’s Emboldened Mattress Shoppers
Gerry Morris, Inner Spring, Inc.

In recent years, mattress shoppers have become empowered because of the proliferation of choices, the abundance of research information on the Internet, and the influence of social media networks to determine what and where to buy. Now the slow economy is turning these consumers into emboldened shoppers. Armed with knowledge they are wielding their power to seek and find that elusive “best value” for a mattress. What’s a retailer to do? This seminar will help you meet the challenge and turn discriminating shoppers into satisfied customers.

2:00 p.m.

Anatomy of a Salesperson
Joe Milevsky, JRM Sales & Management, Inc.

What makes one salesperson succeed while others fail? Is there a magic profile? Do you know where to find the best candidates and if so, why would they come work for you? Do you position them for success?  Join Joe Milevsky for an in-depth discussion that will give you the much needed information to identify, hire and retain the best sales team you could ever hope for.

3:30 p.m.

Hire Google
Seth Weisblatt, Nulution

A Google Certified Small Business Trainer and furniture store owner, Seth will teach you how to use Google to get your business found online. Make the world’s largest search engine work for your company. Topics include Google Places, Google Analytics, Google Apps, and Google AdWords.

Wednesday, August 3, 2011

9:30 a.m.

Creation + Sharing + Engagement ÷ by Marketing = Social Media!
Kevin Doran, R&A Marketing

First things first, there are no exact answers on how to make sales from social media. Don’t let anyone tell you that they have the greatest solution to start getting you sales from social media. Social media is an ever-changing media. Every day something new is introduced or taken away. What you need to learn is how to best reach and understand your Facebook marketplace. From there you can start making sales and start growing your social media presence.

11:00 a.m.

Hire Google (repeated from Tuesday)
Seth Weisblatt, Nulution

A Google Certified Small Business Trainer and furniture store owner, Seth will teach you how to use Google to get your business found online. Make the world’s largest search engine work for your company. Topics include Google Places, Google Analytics, Google Apps, and Google AdWords.

12:30 p.m.

Dynamics of Family Business—What is Your Succession Plan?
Carolynne Ruccereto, STORIS Management Systems

Join us for a powerful presentation of multi-generational planning within a retail business. The statistics may surprise you. We will discuss the importance of understanding succession planning and the unique challenges in running a family business. This topic will touch on the statistics, the pillars and pitfalls of family business and also provide insight for planning a future successful enterprise.

2:00 p.m.

Nobody Notices Normal
Sally Morse, HunterDouglas

In this session you will learn how to set yourself apart from your competition. Maybe you are doing the same type of advertising marketing and networking as your competition but there are ways to garner your potential customer’s attention. This seminar will make you see your business through your customer’s eyes. Learn why your customer will buy from you and what they want from you as a retailer/designer.

4:00 p.m. SPECIAL SESSION!

** Business Survival Series hosted by World Market Center and Western Home Furnishings Association**

GenerationSpeak!—What you Need to Know about the Diverse Generations of People who Shop and Work in Your Business.
Rich Kizer & Georganne Bender, Kizer and Bender Speaking!

Do you speak the same language that your customers speak? Do you understand generational nuances—the things that make each generation who they are? Getting a handle on your changing customers has never been easier! Kizer & Bender host yearly focus groups with each generation. They’ve observed how they shop and what they look for in their businesses of choice. You’ll come away from this presentation with a clear understanding of each generation, what they expect and what to do about it. You’ll leave armed with the know-how to give each generation what they want, when they want it, the way that they want it!

Thursday, August 4, 2011

9:30 a.m.

The Magic 3’s
Sally Morse, HunterDouglas

How many colors work well together in a room? How many colors make up a triadic color scheme? An analogous color scheme? How many times must a color be used to make it an accent color? To what proportion do you mix patterns in a room? This fact-filled presentation points out the many times the number three is used in the rules of design, showing proportion in a fun-filled way. These and many other questions are answered in this lively presentation. Just think about the number three…

11:00 a.m.

The Real Estate Market is Ready for You
Douglas Kays, Douglas Kays Real Estate

If you are ready to think about expanding or reducing, you need to understand today’s changing commercial real estate market. Whether you own or lease, learn how the changes in the market and market conditions have created opportunities that we haven’t seen in 25 years.

12:30 p.m.

Get a Grip on Your Business Financials

Bob Moorman, JRM Sales & Management, Inc.

Gain penetration insights into your financials. Learn how every financial document tells you a story, understand and identify how a P&L or budget gives you the initiatives you should be going after. Learn the early warnings that can appear in your financial documents. Understand what it takes to keep a company safe and how to have predictable net profits.

2:00 p.m.

True Cost of Home Delivery
Kevin Truett, Speedy Delivery LLC

One of the most common complaints we hear from furniture dealers today is the headache they receive when dealing with home deliveries. This workshop is designed to identify the true cost of home delivery and how to eliminate the headaches. We’ll outline over a dozen hard costs and time consumers directly associated with home delivery, from employee wages to damage and liabilities; we’ll talk about reducing your cost and improving your bottom line. Join us as we also compare side-by-side the advantages and disadvantages of outsourcing your home deliveries. Save time, save money and increase profits!

A full listing of seminars, RRC MarketPlace tradeshow vendors and other Market activities can be found on WHFA’s brand new website at www.WHFA.org.

President Bill Clinton Keynote Speech Changed to Tues. Aug. 2

Due to a late-breaking scheduling conflict beyond our control, the Keynote Event featuring President Bill Clinton will now take place on Tuesday, August 2nd at 6:45 p.m.

President Bill Clinton will be speaking on August 2 at the Las Vegas Market

President Bill Clinton served the United States for eight years during a time of unprecedented prosperity and change. Now, home furnishings industry professionals will have the unique opportunity to hear his insights and solutions on the most pressing economic and social issues in the United States and abroad.

President Clinton will focus on the challenge of globalization, emphasize our growing interdependence, and point the way toward a common future based on shared goals and values. Following his keynote address, President Clinton will participate in a moderated question and answer session.

Enjoy networking, cocktails and hors d’oeuvres prior to and following this special event. Don’t miss this unique opportunity to hear directly from President Clinton and engage with other market attendees! Interested attendees can RSVP here.

Wood Finishers to Breathe Easier with First High-Performance Conversion Varnish with No Post-Cure Formaldehyde Emissions from Sherwin-Williams

Product Finishes Division Introduces Sher-Wood® F3 Kemvar® Varnish for Wood Finishing Applications at AWFS Fair 2011

(CLEVELAND, OH) July 11, 2011 – Sherwin-Williams introduces Sher-Wood® F3 Kemvar® Varnish, the first in a line of F3 Formaldehyde Hazard-Free Finishes for wood industrial finishing applications at booth #1513, AWFS Fair 2011 (July 20-23; Las Vegas, NV). As a drop-in replacement for traditional conversion varnishes, finishers are now able to easily meet the high performance and appearance expectations of customers while addressing consumer interest in reducing indoor air contaminants, like formaldehyde.

“With recent global acquisitions, Sherwin-Williams Product Finishes is now a global leader of industrial wood coatings,” said David Kennedy, Market Director, Kitchen Cabinets of the Sherwin-Williams Product Finishes Division. “As a leader in the finishing industry, we are proud to introduce an formaldehyde hazard free, isocyanate-free finish that eliminates the need to change equipment or processing set-up, or sacrifice the aesthetics of traditional catalyzed coatings.”

With the growing impact of regulations and specification programs that reference stringent limits on formaldehyde emissions, manufacturers increasingly need to be able to provide this type of formaldehyde hazard free, high performance finish option to their consumers.  For these finishers, the ability to offer wood products with no post-cure formaldehyde emissions can be a significant differentiator in their marketplace, and open up new opportunities with a wider range of consumers.

Additionally, the evolving financial mind-set means manufacturers and shops are doing more with less.  Recognizing this, Sherwin-Williams continues to invest in programs that provide value-added services to our customers. Programs range from ProVisions, which enables manufacturers to order from over 10,000 of the tools and supplies used in the finishing process at the same time they place their coatings order, to the company’s commitment to expert on-site technical support.

For more information, visit http://oem.sherwin.com or stop by booth #1513 during AWFS Fair 2011.

About Sherwin-Williams Product Finishes
The Sherwin-Williams Product Finishes Division provides metal, plastic and wood finishing solutions to global brands and OEMs of: kitchen cabinets, heavy equipment, wind energy, medical equipment, electronic enclosures, metal building products, wood building products, automotive under hold, metal and wood furniture, military equipment and munitions and general finishing.  Product Finishes’ manufacturing, technical, facility and distribution networks span six continents. This expansive infrastructure allows Sherwin-Williams to provide our OEM partners with advanced liquid and powder product finishes, extensive on-sight technical resources, design and color expertise, and regional manufacturing support – all on a global scale.  For more than 145 years customers have trusted Sherwin-Williams for a better finish.  For a Better Finish. Ask Sherwin-Williams. 

Furniturecore.Com Taps Ron Sellers As Senior Vice President Of Sales

Ron Sellers, Senior Vice President of Sales, FurnitureCore.com

FurnitureCore.com, a dynamic web portal to vital research, designed expressly for the home furnishings industry, announced the addition of Ron Sellers as senior vice president of sales. In this new position, he will report to Bob George, managing partner of Impact Consulting Inc., which launched FurnitureCore.com in 2009 as a separate company.

FurnitureCore equips online subscribers with customized research to improve their market share and bottom line profitability. The virtual resource provides comprehensive market intelligence by integrating dozens of databases with extensive, proprietary FurnitureCore research, creating information that is relevant to each client, and making it easy for retailers and manufacturers to apply it to their business model.

“Ron brings an undivided focus and many years of industry knowledge to offer a clear vision to retailers and manufacturers about how FurnitureCore can help their business regardless of economic conditions,” George says. “Ron will head up sales for FurnitureCore, a groundbreaking web interface for retailers and manufacturers which provides affordable ongoing access to relevant information using the power of technology.”

FurnitureCore currently is used by manufacturers and retailers, including adoption by the National Home Furnishings Association and the Western Home Furnishings Association, and retail buying groups including Furniture First and the Furniture Marketing Group.

“Ron has been instrumental to the success of my companies for more than 10 years. Since we already work with FurnitureCore, we are excited about his move. Their services allow us to know our market share, advertising effectiveness, merchandising, consumer preferences and segmentation in our market,” says Lee Goodman, president and CEO of the San Diego-based Jerome’s.  “In house, we refer to FurnitureCore as our retail brain and we’re thrilled that Ron is joining the FurnitureCore team to help take the company to the next level.”

Sellers most recently served as vice president of sales for Escalate Retail Systems (formally GERS Retail Systems), a leading provider of enterprise software solutions for the home furnishings industry.  Prior to that, he was a founder of FurnishNet, which has become the home furnishings standard for electronic data interchange.

“FurnitureCore offers business intelligence that is essential for making educated decisions and creating effective strategies in today’s world,” Sellers says. “This is the platinum resource standard for home furnishings information for both retailers and manufacturers so that they can accurately compare themselves to their specific market.

“It’s irrelevant if the home furnishings market is up or down.  A company should focus on growing its market share and FurnitureCore provides the information that they need to do that,” he says. “FurnitureCore offers research you can’t live without.”

FurnitureCore.com was created by Impact Consulting Inc., in 2009 as a dynamic web application for the furniture industry. In a unique virtual environment, subscribers gain access to comprehensive data based on dozens of resources including primary FurnitureCore research, consumer research, economic indicators, productivity tools, industry trends and proprietary insights. As a sister company using the latest internet technology, FurnitureCore offers a data-only option from Impact Consulting, which has provided management and primary research to its home furnishings clients for more than 30 years. The ground-breaking technology of FurnitureCore.com, www.furniturecore.com, creates affordable research you can’t live without.

New Location of Rug Showrooms Delivers More Crossover Shopping Opportunities with Home Decor Segment

New Location of Rug Showrooms Delivers More Crossover Shopping Opportunities with Home Decor Segment

Hot Home Decor Products and Trends on Display in New ‘B Scene’ Vignettes in Building B

Six rug showrooms relocating for Summer 2011 Las Vegas Market aim to deliver more crossover shopping opportunities and synergy for retailers within the home decor segment.

Starting at Summer 2011 Las Vegas Market, rug showrooms on the eighth floor of Building C are moving to Building B, floors 3, 4 and 5, co-locating within the complementary home decor and adjacent rug showrooms in Building B, and providing a better overall connectivity to the existing spaces within that segment.

“With the move to Building B, these rug showrooms will experience a new synergy and excitement with the strong home décor segment at Las Vegas Market,” said Robert Maricich, chief executive officer for International Market Centers, parent company of World Market Center Las Vegas. “Retailers will be equally pleased with the convenience of these new resources and the cross-buying opportunities it presents on these floors.”

Re-merchandising the floor coverings segment to encompass home accents and decorative accessories and joining a majority of existing rug companies already existing in Building B ultimately creates a more convenient shopping experience for Las Vegas Market buyers. Rug companies in new locations at Las Vegas Market include Chandra, Natco/Central Oriental, Dynamic Rugs, Masland Carpet and Rugs, Rizzy Rugs and CMI (Colonial Mills, Inc.).

“To be intermingled now with the home decor marketplace is significant in that it we now have the opportunity of the broader home furnishings buyer,” said Don Scarlata, president and chief executive officer of CMI (Colonial Mills, Inc.). “We feel this new opportunity in Building B will have an increased traffic and showcase Colonial Mills to a new array of home decor buyers. We hope to expose our area rugs to retailers that otherwise may not have purchased rugs, and we feel they’ll certainly have that opportunity when visiting our new showroom in Building B at Las Vegas Market.”

The showrooms previously occupied by these rug exhibitors on the eighth floor of Building C will allow for further growth and expansion within the gift segment in that building, according to market officials.

“We are excited about moving where we hope to see more mainstream rug buyer traffic in Building B,” said Dan Phelan, vice president of marketing for Masland Carpet and Rugs. “Masland has shown at the Las Vegas Market for the last two years and we are confident the move to Building B will garner more buyers. We’re looking forward to boosting our number of visitors and bullish on the opportunity for this Summer Market and beyond.”

Additionally, Las Vegas Market attendees will notice new merchandised vignettes floors 3, 4 and 5 of Building B, showcasing some of the latest in what the home decor categories haves to offer at Las Vegas Market. These displays, rightly entitled “B Scene,” will be merchandised and highlight samples not only from these newly relocated showrooms, but other home décor showrooms in Building B, as well.

Las Vegas Market will commemorate this rug relocation with a champagne toast Wed., Aug. 3 at 3 p.m. in each of the newly relocated rug showrooms. Attendees are invited to join this celebration launch of the new space with this complimentary champagne toast.

Registration for Summer 2011 Las Vegas Market is now open. Attendees are able to register online at www.lasvegasmarket.com and take advantage of discounted hotel rates at some of Las Vegas’ best hotels, both on and off the Strip, through the Las Vegas Market website.

The specific rug showrooms relocating and their showroom suite numbers are as follows:

Chandra – Suite B-300
Natco/Central Oriental – Suite B-367
Dynamic Rugs – Suite B-504
Masland Carpet and Rugs – Suite B-416
Rizzy Rugs – Suite B-518, B-520, B-524
CMI (Colonial Mills, Inc.) – Suite B-431

For more information on Las Vegas Market, visit www.lasvegasmarket.com.

5 Simple Ideas to Improve Your Bottom Line

When the economy began to slide in late 2008, Banner Marketing began to see more and more retailers become distressed about the lack of customers walking through their door. While some had individual concerns about how to drum up business in a slow market – many were simply frustrated by the fact that the advertising program they’d used for years was not generating the sales spikes they once experienced.

We advised retailers to take a hard look at their overall marketing strategy. When the market changed, retailers were hesitant to change with it, which resulted in less than stellar sales. While the economy is showing signs of improvement, it’s certainly not back to the glory days. But all is not lost in a down economy, below are five tips for getting customers in the door and improving your bottom line.

1. Watch who walks through your door. This means more than just casual observances – pay attention to the details and create a profile of the customers visiting your store. When they enter your establishment, which direction do customers go first? What types of items draw their attention? What do they purchase? Are they coming back multiple times to make a decision? Do they bring others with them to assist with decision making? An important note here is that females make the vast majority of purchasing decisions when it comes to home décor. Keep this in mind when establishing your customer profile, and cater to the women who enter your store.

After you’ve identified your target customers, make sure that your price points and product mix are meeting the needs of your target audience, and that the most sought after items are in stock.

2. Rank your best sellers. It may seem obvious, but it’s extremely important to know what items are drawing in your target customers. Focus advertising promotions and showroom displays on your best-selling categories. As the economy improves, customer preference will shift from needs to wants, and you want to make sure that those customers are coming to you when they are ready to purchase.

3. Don’t just sell products, solve problems. Many customers may very well want to make a purchase when they enter your store, but if something is holding them back, it’s important to help them find a solution. On the logistical side, it may be creative financing, a bundling of products to provide greater value, or offering a service that people need to stretch their budget. But it’s also important to tap into the emotional side of the often female buyer. Help her visualize the piece of furniture in her home, engaging in activities that make her happy. Help her choose the colors that best fit her home. Does she need her old furniture removed? Does she need a delivery made same day? Anticipate his or her problem and help find a solution. In short – train your sales staff to help make the customer’s life easier.

4. Make them offers they can’t refuse. When the market is slow, customers are looking for greater value, savings, service, warranty and guarantee protection – and overall more incentives to justify parting with their money. Use traditional advertising and time-sensitive offers to entice them and direct interested customers online to download the offer. This allows you to collect information about your target customers. In your next promotion, connect with them directly by mail or email to send an offer or personal invitation to your sale.

5. Continue to advertise in good times and bad (and integrate your advertising!) Advertising is about reaching your target audience with consistent messaging, and eliciting an emotional response from the recipient. A structured advertising plan enhances buyer confidence, top of mind awareness and identifies brand preferences. An integrated program repeats the messages across mediums – an absolute must when trying to reach hard-to-get customers.

Shirley Griffiths, the vice president of sales, is one of Banner Marketing’s longest tenured employees with 11 years of experience with the integrated marketing company.  Griffiths is responsible for overseeing Banner’s sales, creative and operations departments. She can be reached at shirleyg@bannerretail.com or (800) 843-9271.

Banner Marketing helps businesses grow through integrated marketing; a combination of digital and traditional marketing strategies that reach a company’s key consumers and inspire them to buy.  In business since 1983 and based in Spokane, Wash., Banner develops creative content to support its client’s brands – from traditional circulars to cutting edge Web sites – keeps that content up-to-date, tracks program results, and provides reporting to refine and adjust strategies for even greater success.

New Media Marketing – What’s In It For You?

Digital marketing. New media marketing. Social media marketing. Web 2.0 marketing. These are all interchangeable terms which have at their core the crafting of a marketing strategy that combines social media such as blogs, podcasts, webinars, videos and social networking sites such as LinkedIn, Twitter, Bebo, Facebook, Flickr, Ning, etc. to cost-effectively and directly connect with your current and future consumers.

Why are so many brands switching from traditional media to social media or, at the very least, combining the two? Simply put, because that’s where consumers are spending their time — over 570 million of them a year and growing. In addition, social media is cost effective, completely measurable and targeted.

Just what are some of the social media tools available to you and why consider using them? The rest of the article will examine that topic in depth.

Here are 10 reasons why it might be a good idea for you to consider a comprehensive digital marketing plan for 2009:

1.  Over 570 million people worldwide use some type of social networking site —not just the Internet, but, specifically, a social networking site such as those shown above. Facebook has the highest adoption rate worldwide at this time with over 52 million users alone. This means it is highly likely that at least some of your potential consumers can be reached this way and Facebook for Business is but one of many very powerful, free applications available to you to do so.

2.  General Internet usage by consumers is exploding: According to Nielsen/Net Ratings, there are over 1,463,632,361 people using the Internet as of June 2008. Yes, 1.4+ BILLION. This is approximately one-sixth of the entire world population and represents a worldwide usage growth rate of 305.5 percent from 2000 until 2008. North America alone has had a 129.6 percent increase in usage between the year 2000-2008, but that pales in comparison to the Middle East and Latin America at 1,176.8 percent and 669.3 percent respectively.

3.  Social networking sites are free for you to use. There is no cost. They are generally supported through ads or through premium levels of subscription services. Facebook for Business is free and supported by ads, LinkedIn is supported through premium subscriptions. Twitter is free. Flickr is free. YouTube is free.

4.  By careful use of social media and social networking platforms, you can find out in real time what your customers want, what they are thinking and how you can serve them more effectively.

5.  Setting up digital marketing strategies does not require you to spend additional money. It requires you to migrate part of your traditional marketing and advertising expense into new media platforms.
Once the strategy has been implemented, the cost is free with the exception of online community moderation. This cost, while real, means that you or someone you hire is actively talking with your potential consumers every second of the day through online conversations. You can’t get much closer to the pulse of the consumer than that nor show them a better level of customer service. Active community management through engagement and conversation will be a key differentiator for smart retailers in 2009 and beyond.

6.  Mobile phone text messaging usage is increasing: The official Google blog writes:

There are currently about 3.2 billion mobile subscribers in the world, and that number is expected to grow by at least a billion in the next few years. Today, mobile phones are more prevalent than cars (about 800 million registered vehicles in the world) and credit cards (only 1.4 billion of those). While it took 100 years for landline phones to spread to more than 80 percent of the countries in the world, their wireless descendants did it in 16.

By utilizing new media tools, you will be able to connect with your potential customers as they are driving around on a Saturday afternoon. You will be able to invite them all in for a special event or give them a discount for the next two hours only.

7.  Every time your company engages in an online media strategy, your company name and your company’s keywords are indexed and search engine optimized. Why is this important? Because if a potential customer types in to Google’s browser the words “traditional sofas Portland Oregon” and you don’t show up, then you are invisible to that consumer. If that consumer lives out of state and is moving to your area, you have just lost your opportunity for them to know you exist.

Points 8, 9 and 10 are the same:

Social media and social networking marketing initiatives are directly measurable. You can see exactly which initiatives and sites are sending traffic to your website, how many visitors are coming, what time of day, what pages they are landing on, how long they stay on the page, what they click through to from one page to the next, and many more data points.

I leave you with this:
When was the last time you had to spend no money to drive traffic to your website and into your store? When was the last time paid advertising and marketing were directly measurable on an hourly basis?
That’s why so many consumer durables companies are setting up a presence within the social networking and social media communities.

IKEA, NestLiving, HomeReserve, Landfair Furniture+Design, many interior designers (wouldn’t you like to connect with interior designers in your market for free?) are all adopting new media tools as a key component of their 2009 marketing and sales strategy. Within the greater consumer durables world, Proctor and Gamble, Ford, Constant Contact, Dunkin’ Donuts, Sears, Kmart and Comcast, to name a few, are all developing a personal connection with their customers in the social networking world.

It’s easy, it’s simple, it’s free except for upfront strategy development and ongoing monitoring costs.

Digital marketing using social networking and social media tools will cut your marketing budgets by two-thirds, give you the ability to listen and learn from your potential customers, prospect extremely fast and develop a reputation amongst your customers and on consumer online opinion sites as being connected, engaged and caring. What could be better than that?

Sales. More. Larger. Faster because your customers know you are listening and engaging them where they are in the online communities they have chosen to participate in.
To survive and thrive in 2009 and beyond, I think it’s time for all retailers, manufacturers suppliers and designers to be there, too.

What do you think?

Please email me with your comments or questions at leslie@tkpartnership.com or call me at (713) 705-2482. Your opinion is the one that really matters to me.

The Kaleidoscope Partnership is a new media consulting firm specializing in providing retailers, manufacturers and suppliers in the home industries with the tools they need to execute social networking, online reputation management, e-conversion and analytics sales and marketing strategies. For more information, please see Leslie’s profile on www.linkedin.com/in/lesliecarothers, visit her company page on Facebook at The Kaleidoscope Partnership, follow her on Twitter at tkpleslie or visit her website at www.tkpartnership.com.