The principles of Blue Ocean marketing have been covered in previous issues. See FURNITURE WORLD articles, "Blue Ocean Marketing Can Make Your Competitors Irrelevant" - Parts 1&2 posted to the marketing article archives on www.furninfo.com. There are two Blue Ocean programs that you simply must launch before the big boxes in your marketplace do. These are free Decorator Clinics for the public, and a Shop at Home program. The clin ics will exponentially increase your market share, and the Shop at Home program can be an important new profit center for you. Ethan Allen has long employed this program, and sooner or later the more middle-of-the-road big boxes will come up with their own versions. Beat them to it in your market.
The key to making these programs successful is to train several of your best sales associates to become leaders and trainers for the rest of the staff. You may already have decorators on staff, but it is important to have several people who are qualified to train the entire staff and new associates in the basics of decorating. Both Cathy Finney, a feature editor for FURNITURE WORLD Magazine, and Margarett
DeGange, another FURNITURE WORLD contributor, have programs to "train the trainers" so you can independently sustain your programs. DeGange has produced an excellent running series of articles, "Decorator School Crash Course", that gives you step by step instructions for staging a public decorating clinic. Check furninfo.com for earlier installments.
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