A man and two girls outside a furniture store
Jason Fletcher and his daughters in a TV ad for American Furniture Warehouse in Greensboro, N.C.

In stock? Say it loud, because customers want it now

Furniture in stock? Shout it out, because Americans want it now.

That’s a powerful message that some furniture retailers are broadcasting loud and clear.

One is American Furniture Warehouse in Greensboro, N.C. It recently began airing a TV ad titled “In Stock.”

“With trucks arriving daily at American Furniture Warehouse, we are fully stocked at Greensboro’s largest furniture showroom,” it shouts. Recliners, mattresses, living rooms, dining rooms, power lift chairs – all in stock. “Don’t wait weeks or years, get it today!”

A similar commercial tells the same story at his family’s other Greensboro store, Southeastern Furniture, Jason Fletcher said.

Independent furniture retailers can shine

It’s not hype. “This is where local, independent furniture retailers can really shine,” Fletcher said.

The Home Furnishings Association member is shining on the strength of its relationships with many vendors, which collectively are keeping the Greensboro stores well supplied. “I’m getting trucks in almost every day,” said Fletcher. He admitted, “I can’t tell you from day to day what I’ll get.” But whatever it is, it’s selling.

Special orders are effectively out, but customers are willing to buy products even if the design or color isn’t necessarily their first choice.

“We’re selling off the floor,” he said. “You can take anything with you.” As for deliveries, most trucks are going out fully loaded within a day or two of purchase.

Big sellers before are bigger sellers now

When the pandemic struck early this year, everyone was thrown off balance, Fletcher said – not only by the supply chain disruptions but by the sudden shift in consumer needs.

“We were woefully unprepared for the massive demand for home office furniture,” he said, noting that category had been in decline.

On the other hand, he was ready for the desire for recliners and sectionals. How? Before the crisis, Fletcher looked at his top sellers from 2019 and told his reps, “I never want to be out of them.” He hasn’t been, no matter how many he’s sold.

Of course, all categories are in demand as people want to make their homes more comfortable and functional. Retailers who can meet that demand, and broadcast that message, will do well.

“That’s what’s helped our business and helped level the playing field with the majors,” Fletcher said.

Large retailers will deliver the ‘Get it Now’

One of those majors is Rooms to Go, one of the largest retailers in the Southeast. It’s also advertising plentiful stock “when a lot of furniture companies scramble for inventory and customers wait.”

“We’re loaded with furniture ready to go now. No waiting,” a recent TV ad proclaims.

Rooms to Go, which is not an HFA member, declined to speak about its marketing strategy. But it’s one that every furniture retailer should consider:

If you can deliver today, say it loud. Otherwise, you may not be competing on a level playing field.

[Supply chain woes: planning for the best and worst scenarios]

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