Retailers stress authenticity and safety in new furniture advertising

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When his stores reopened earlier this month, Nebraska Furniture Mart CEO Irv Blumkin was stunned with the business they did. The pent-up demand from customers locked down in their homes and on their phones for most of spring is leading to a strong month of sales. “Not under my wildest dreams or any circumstances would I have anticipated the business being as good as it is,” said Blumkin.

The key, he said, is keeping that momentum going through the summer through authentic advertising.


In a Home Furnishings Association live COVID-19 Webinar, Blumkin and RC Willey President Jeff Child spoke with HFA Executive Vice President Mark Schumacher about the right advertising and marketing messages furniture retailers need to use with shoppers a little hesitant to return to their old shopping habits. Blumkin said stores need to align their advertising and messaging to customers the same way they focus on their employees.

“We just want to make sure people know that we care about them, and their safety is important,” he said. “That we are authentic and trustworthy, and we aligned our messaging around those kinds of things. After that, we talk about the product that basically relates to those kinds of things about safety and the family.”

Child agreed, adding that there’s a fine line between a retailer sounding sincere and coming across as opportunistic in a store’s new advertising. “Whether it’s your landing page and you talk about all the safety protocols you’re taking, whether it’s communicating with your own team, it really is about the right tone and being sincere and authentic and trustworthy about taking care of the customer,” said Child.

For more about messaging and advertising in the new economy, you can hear the entire webinar at the HFA’s COVID-19 Recovery Resources page.

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