The secret to being a retail star | Alison Zesco

Mr. Robert Norman, UCLA.

Mr. Robert, a 20,000-square-foot retailer in Norman, Oklahoma, has been hacking since the pandemic: Like many of his peers in the home accent world, he’s seen record growth in the past two years.

But while capitalizing on consumers’ current love affair with their homes, this 63-year-old retailer has thrived for other reasons: It spent more On advertising in the past two years, no less, it has switched sales staff to those trained in interior design only, and has modified its purchasing model so that the store is always full despite massive shipping delays. After changing the leadership of this family business a few years ago, it has modernized its look, eliminating underperforming products, and moving the personalization business to center stage. It also just launched a high-end outdoor furniture collection.

Most importantly, Mr. Robert signaled to potential customers widely that it is a full-service destination store, and although it is one of the few retail stores located in the downtown area of ​​its headquarters district, it is well worth a visit. Vice President John Carle told me that if a retailer expects customers to drive 30 minutes to see what it has to offer, they won’t be disappointed when they arrive.

For these reasons, Mr. Robert is one of the retail stars of Home Accent Today for 2022. He is joined by forty-nine other equally smart, intelligent and sophisticated merchants who have navigated some of the toughest times in home furnishings retailing.

What has changed since last year? No sooner had the industry adapted to canceling trade fairs, closings and hiding mandates than it had to deal with severe supply chain delays and price hikes. Although this has not yet reduced consumers’ desire for household products, it has made the day-to-day challenges of running a retail business more difficult. Our retail stars, 36 of whom have been in business for over 10 years, demonstrated with enthusiasm and commitment – plus a bit of grit and determination – that they are up to the task.

This summer, I’m looking forward to hosting two market-based panels with some of our retail stars, one in Atlanta and one in Las Vegas. These candid conversations will provide insight into running the retail business, so I hope both retailers and manufacturers meet (we’ll share details as we get closer to the market).

We’ll also continue to feature all of our stars online throughout the year, so please be sure to check back on our site regularly for additional coverage.

Congratulations to all our shining stars!

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50 Retail Superstars: Find out who are the best and brightest this year

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