The retail landscape has changed dramatically in the last few years thanks to style influencers like Restoration Hardware. Among the retailer’s latest moves: a 680-page “Wish Book” that landed with a resounding “thud” in mailboxes across America this season. Like the September issue of Vogue, aka the bible of Fall Fashion, the sheer weight of Restoration’s publication commanded attention in the daily deluge of holiday catalogs. A lesson in brand strategy, the message to consumers was pretty simple: In a world of retail sameness, when it comes to the home category, Restoration Hardware is, well, Big!
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Take a look at this month’s major magazine covers. Whatever the weather report may be saying, the home fashion forecast is calling for a white winter. Why white? White in all its myriad variations is clean and immaculate, pure in heart and spirit. Like a porch light that welcomes us home in the darkness or a cold glass of milk after a cookie, white comforts, calms and refreshes. Sounds pretty good in difficult times, doesn’t it?
Still, as wonderfully crisp and clean as white feels in a messy world, studies show we often choose white for the wrong reasons. Fearing a costly decorating mistake, homes (and retail stores!) get stuck in neutral, with walls awash in all manner of white and beige. Herewith, a few ideas on how to play it for all its worth this season, rather than play it safe.
First, my pick for this month’s most inspirational magazine cover. A simple white sofa surrounded by exciting, color-packed pillows is a quick fix for the winter doldrums. The good news is that it’s easy to harness this energy to promote the purchase of new home décor at your store.
Demonstrate to your customers that the advantage to having upholstered furniture in neutral tones is that it’s easy to quickly and affordably change the feeling of a room setting with colorful decorative accessories. After all, the very definition of a neutral palette is that it works beautifully with every other color on the wheel!
Bear in mind that, for home and home décor retailers, the best thing about HGTV is that all of their content constantly promotes change. My advice is to hop on the coattails of that media monster and start promoting like the savvy home fashionista that you are!
As John Ross, chief executive of Shopper Sciences recently noted in a report on 2011 Holiday Shopping Trends, “Americans may be under pressure from the economy, but that doesn’t mean they want to endure a disappointing holiday… For those retailers and brands willing to share, support and empower shoppers – rather than just sell to them – it has the opportunity to be a bright season.”
IMAX has made it easier than ever to empower your shoppers with an ever-expanding collection of ColorPOST accessory pods. The pods make it simple for your customers to pull a room together and a no-brainer for merchants to project a fashionable image!
Mix history and tradition with a lighthearted, whimsical twist or pop of unexpected color…
Experience the magic of the French Quarter – from architectural details such as intricate cast iron railings and lush, private courtyards to the jazz music heritage and magnificent splendor that is Mardi Gras! Interpret all of this into a look that is uniquely your own…
Online commerce is becoming a larger part of our industry, and the economy as a whole, every day. Maybe you’ve put it off for years, but it might finally be the right time for you to make the leap to the World Wide Web. Don’t worry, there’s room for you.
According to our latest IMAX survey, only 13% of accessory retailers currently sell online. That leaves a lot of sales space for a properly built and marketed online store. That’s potential that Brent Freeman, who owns and operates online-only accessory retail store, Accents for Elegance can attest to.
“If an accessory retailer doesn’t already have an online store, they should,” said Freeman. “It’s where customers go to begin with. They shop online to compare products and prices before actually making the trip to a brick-and-mortar store.”
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Sure, those fun little one page wonders can give you some great merchandising ideas all on their own. What you might not know – they represent full length multi-page idea-books just waiting to jump start your creative process!
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Like it or not, 4th quarter is upon us. If you’re like most retailers, you’re grateful to have made it this far into the year. If you’re not like most retailers, you’re going to develop a strategic plan for how to not only survive – but also thrive – this holiday shopping season.
This year more than ever, it is important to go into the next 90 days proactive, organized and ready to deliver. This is not the year to “wait and see and hope for the best”. Take some time to plan and take charge.
Here are 9 Steps to a Rockin’ Q4:
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How much of your time at work is focused on employees? In fact, often only one or two employees.
The answer probably is too much. We all have one of those people for whom nothing is ever quite good enough. We listen, we support, we negotiate, we compromise – whatever we do, we can’t make that person happy.
Well, a smart retailer in Chicago named Jay Goltz has one answer, maybe the best one. He shared his thoughts in an op-ed piece in The New York Times recently and I liked what he said.
His solution: fire the unhappy ones.
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I have long been convinced that the best ideas to improve your retail business come from other independent retailers. They’re out there in the trenches just like you are and most of them are bright and clever people.
A couple of months ago, a group of home accent retailers got together at the Atlanta market, shut the door and talked candidly about their business. Accessories Resource Team (ART) Executive Director Sharon Davis moderated and Home Accents Today magazine wrote about the meeting.
As I said, these are bright folks.
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As we began the new year, I found myself thinking back on all the conversations I’ve had last year with manufacturers and retailers about the things that caused them the most lost sleep.
Without question, the conversation almost always quickly turned to inventory issues.
Whether you are a retailer or a manufacturer, virtually nothing can get you in trouble quicker than inventory. So, let’s spend a few minutes thinking about how to lower our risk. First and foremost, 2010 will be the year of price to value ratio if turns are important to you.
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Q: Every November we hold a holiday open house for our best customers. But we don’t have anything planned for January. Should we lay low while business is slow?
A: Good for you for doing a big event during the holiday season. As the old advertising adage goes, “you should sell peanuts while the circus is in town.” But that doesn’t mean that you should not have something special happening in your store during the slower months as well.