How to Start a Furniture Store

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The furniture market is characterized by retailers at all levels of the spectrum. Furniture is a high-dollar item, sometimes a once-in-a-lifetime purchase, with goods available from mass merchandisers like Target and Kmart, department stores, national furniture stores, boutique furniture stores, and manufacturer-owned stores like Ethan Allan, Lazy-Boy and Thomasville.

The decision to open a Furniture Store must be made with the recognition of an oversaturation of furniture goods in most markets and hence intense competition for customers. Under those conditions, a new furniture store would need to firmly ascertain that a need exists for the store, then acquire inventory, financing, and an operations staff.

Things You'll Need

  • Consumer Market Survey
  • Supplier Relationships
  • Sales and Administrative Staff
  • Financing Options
  • Delivery Fleet

Do a survey to evaluate if a consumer need is currently not being met by available outlets in the market. There could be an unmet need in the type of furniture offered. Perhaps the local market is known for its high birth rates and so a store catering to baby and children’s furniture might be successful. The business owner should field a survey of his potential consumer base to determine if their needs are genuine and strong enough to support the business launch and growth.

Establish relationships with a number of different furniture manufacturers. A new furniture store would have to contact manufacturers and understand their product lines and wholesale terms. Manufacturers may require that a certain minimum dollar value of merchandise be ordered and want to know more about a new store’s image to gauge if it reaches its known consumer market and features its products well.

Offer options for sources of financing for customers who will potentially be purchasing thousands of dollars of furniture. This will necessitate an agreement with a bank or financing company to offer financing to your customers with agreed to terms.

Interview and hire one or more people as floor sales staff depending on store volume. These people must have knowledge of the store’s inventory and an ability to close sales with customers. Salespeople tend to work on a salary plus commission. Your store would need to have its own administrative staff to process bills and payments, deliveries, and do customer service.

Arrange for trucking for deliveries, either owned outright or leased. Because of the expense of the purchase and its product life, customers will travel miles to furniture stores to find the right décor look at the right price. Furniture stores oblige these long-distance customers with delivery of goods often with or without additional charge.

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