Seasonal Specialty Shows How to Survive the Recession
After news reports about lowered profits for furniture stores and the bankruptcy of Carls Furniture in Florida, it’s easy to get demoralized about the current market. When the economy is bad, people stop buying furniture because they can’t afford the added expense and will instead, make due with what they have. However, Seasonal Specialty in Amherst, New Hampshire has been weathering the storm and coming back strong with a clear business strategy.
The company specializes in patio and beach furniture, putting them in a market that should be especially exposed to the recession. People don’t redo their patios when they have little money, and they likely don’t go on many beach vacations in that time either. However, the company made its first strong move by pushing for higher end products. In a world where Lowes, Target, and Walmart all offer various furniture sets at low prices, it’s hard for a small business to compete. However, by offering higher end brands like Tropitone patio furniture or Telescope patio furniture, Seasonal Specialty is able to offer products that these stores don’t have.
Another great approach the company has that many furniture stores fail at is their embracing of special orders. Many companies shy away from these types of orders as the margins are a lot lower when you need to make a unique product. However, by embracing these types of orders, Seasonal Specialty knows that customers will come to them for their patio furniture orders, and they’ll be able to build a strong relationship with potential buyers. Even if that single sale makes you less money, the relationship you built with the customer will last a lifetime and they’ll come back to you for future purchases.
Another great movement by the company was to mix and match. Inventories are always unpredictable, and so when a product line gets low or is discontinued, the store will often be left with a consortium of incompatible furniture pieces that aren’t worth buying on their own. However, the company combines these pieces, making new patio furniture sets that might offer a set of chairs from one brand with a table from another brand. This type of practice offered great sales to customers while also keeping the company’s inventory fresh.
Finally, one of the most important moves in business today, Seasonal Specialty adapted to the Internet and built up a web presence to keep their customers happy. From the appearance of Facebook, the company has had a page set up for their brand, and they also have a well-run web site that is up to date. These choices allow the company to interact with customers even when they’re not in the store, and further that strong relationship that builds loyalty. The customers are also able to stay informed, making it more likely that they’ll know when to come back in to purchase new sets.
In a difficult market, it’s important for a company to adapt to the market around them. By tackling things like excess inventory, and utilizing the Internet to promote your business, these companies can survive even in the toughest times. Looking at furniture stores near you, how do you feel about their performance? Are there areas they could improve, or have they adapted in many effective ways. Let us know!