Freddy Swan

High Point Fall Furniture Market opens next week in North Carolina. For many exhibitors, their time at Market this week will be as close to a furniture marketing strategy as many furniture makers can get.Why do I say this? Because the majority of manufacturers spend much of their time and energy getting new stuff ready to show at High Point twice a year – Fall & Spring. They pray that a huge number of retailers will flock to High Point, NC for the market, will love their new offerings and reward the manufacturers with enough initial orders to keep their plants busy for the next few months.

Now, it’s not quite as simple as that, I admit. There are a small number of manufacturers who have developed very different strategies. Companies like Ethan Allen, Bassett and La-Z-Boy have plans to put captive licensed stores all over the USA & Canada. These companies, and a few others, have solid marketing strategies that don’t depend completely on High Point markets – i.e., Ethan Allen does not even show up at the furniture markets.

But, most of the other furniture manufacturers just hope that the High Point Market doesn’t go away, and that they can keep on getting those new product lines ready to go. No market research, no market testing the product’s salability – there is no time for that – just get those samples to the High Point Market.

I am, perhaps, just a little cynical about all this. I do hope that this High Point Market will be a real humdinger and bring buyers from all over the world, and these buyers will place enough orders to keep the factories humming for several months. Then, the new goods will be shipped and put on retail floors all over North America. Manufacturers pray that the goods are of top quality and will sell like hot cakes. If new orders start to come in from sales generated by those samples, manufacturers can exhale – “WHOOPEE! we can meet payroll – our furniture MARKETING STRATEGY works!”

My advice, furniture friends? (I’m glad you asked.) Don’t rely on Market alone. Have a successful week in High Point, take a step back, reflect on your learnings from the week and then develop your own solid furniture marketing strategy. You’ll be glad you did.


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