Furniture Store Marketing – When Everyone Is Your Customer, No One is Your Customer!

One of the biggest challenges home furnishing owners must overcome, in order to be successful in this new economy, is the dreaded I-offer-everything-for-everyone syndrome. On the surface this looks like a sure-fire way to get more customers, but it is already proven time and time again that it is not always the most successful way to prosper in your store.

If you are an independent home furnishing retailers, then chances are you have a limited budget and limited space to work with. So, if your store offers several contemporary collections, several ultra-modern collections and some eclectic pieces as well as some early American collections scattered through you store, do you really think that you have enough of any of those styles to satisfy the type of customers who are looking for a specific style? However, style is only one way to target your customer.

In fact, the most successful furniture retailers in my area focus on a couple of things to attract a specific type of customer:

  • Complete living room packages for under $ 2,000 or furnish your entitlement home for under $ 5,000.
  • Long-term low or no interest financing
  • Fast delivery within 3 days or less
  • Lower prices for packages

So, by narrowing down their advertising, they attract a customer that wants to purchase multiple pieces, which in turn, drives the average ticket sale and profits up. They then offer attractive financing terms which attracts customers with good credit and income, while enticing them to spend more money because the customer has longer to pay for it.

Most importantly, they save the customer money by buying more and can get it in their homes in a couple of days. There is also another twist to these retailers. They reward their salespeople handsomely for NOT selling the financing, but getting customers to pay off their balances in less than 90 days.

There is a common slogan in marketing statute, "There are riches in niches." Simply put, this slogan means determine who your most profitable, enjoyable and easy to attract customer is, and then specialize in getting more of those customers to come into your store and buy. You do this by creating a USP (Unique Selling Proposition) that compels your most profitable customer to come back into your business again and again.

What if you reviewed your business over the last couple of years and discovered the following trends about your customers and prospects:

  • Wives initially visited the store without their husbands.
  • Recently married
  • Had three kids
  • Lived within five miles of your store
  • Spent between $ 800 – $ 1500 on sofa, loveseat and tables.
  • Paid by Visa, MasterCard or Discover

Once you have this information, you can redesign your store and business to cater to more of the same types of customers that are currently spending good money in your store.

However, you can only use this information to your advantage if you take the time to find out who your customer is, what is important to them and what they really want.

It may come as a surprise to you, but your customers want more than just a sofa. If you are just selling a sofa, you are missing out on a ton of business. Here are a few of the keys I have discovered over the years:

  • Do not sell mattresses, sell relief from back pain.
  • Do not sell home theater seats, sell the entertainment experience.
  • Do not sell sofas or loveseats, sell comfort and warmth.
  • Do not sell furniture, sell status and prestige.
  • Do not sell interior design, sell ENVY and the WOW factor!

Once you know what your customers really want then, you could use that information to create a USP that attracts more of the same type of customers. For example:

  • "Do not hire expensive interior designers, use our 23 point design checklist and give your home a million dollar look for FREE!"
  • "Discover how to give your home an extreme $ 20,000 makeover, on an $ 8,000 budget."
  • "Your family and friends will say" Oh my gosh! Your home is simply amazing! "In 27 seconds flat … we guarantee it!"

Fractions and Rational Numbers – What is the Difference?

Most of us go through years of school math courses and still are confused about some basic things. For example: Why can not you divide by zero? Why is .999 … equal to 1, and not a bit less?

There are loads of these kinds of questions, that would not be a cause of frustration at all, if they were taught reasonably and clearly.

Unfortunately most of these things are supposed to be covered in elementary school, and most elementary school teachers do not have a good understanding of basic math concepts. Instead they are supposedly to teach just a collection of "skills."

One of the simplest concepts that is usually left inadequately explained is the difference between fractions and rational numbers. Let's see if we can clear it up now.

A fraction is a number that expresses part of a whole as a quotient of integers (where the denominator is not zero).

A rational number is a number that can be expressed as a quotient of integers (where the denominator is not zero), or as a repeating or terminating decimal. Every fraction fits the first part of that definition. Therefore, every fraction is a rational number.

But even though every fraction is a rational number, not every rational number is a fraction.

Why? Consider this:

Every integer (all the whole numbers, including zero, and their negatives ….- 3, -2, -1, 0, 1, 2, 3 …) is a rational number , because it can be expressed as a quotient of integers, as in the case of 4 = 8/2 or 1 = 3/3 or -3 = 3 / -1 and so on. So integers such as 4 or 1 can be expressed as the quotient of integers.

But an integer is not a fraction . 4 is an integer, but it is not a fraction. 4 is not expressed as the quotient of integers. The difference here is in the wording.

A fraction is a number that expresses part of a whole. An integer does not express a part. It only expresses a whole number.

A rational number is a number that can be expressed as a quotient of integers, or as part of a whole, but fraction is a number that is (must be) expressed as a quotient of integers, or as part of a whole – there is a difference. The difference is subtle, but it is real.

There are slightly different variations of the definition of a fraction, including, "A fraction is the ratio of two whole numbers, or to put it simply, one whole number divided by another whole number."

That definition also shows that an integer is not a fraction, because an integer is not a ratio. It can be expressed as a ratio, but it is not a ratio in itself; it can be divided by another whole number, but it i s not being divided.

In a nutshell, the fractions are a subset of the rational numbers. The rational numbers contain the integers, and fragments do not.

Organic Gardening – Watermelons Are a Summertime Favorite

Sweet, succulent watermelon grown in your own home garden are a summertime favorite. There is nothing better than there sweet, cool, refreshing and delicious taste on a hot summer day. This warm climate crop thrills with the growing growing seasons in warm climates, but there are varieties for cooler areas that will preform just fine and as tasty.

When planting, choose a location that will get full sunlight and with a good air circulation. They can grow in many different types of soil, but prefer a good healthy soil structure that is light, loose, fertile and well drained. Working in a generous amount of compost, composted manure or composed leaves into the soil will greatly benefit the soils structure for your watermelons to thrive. A soil that keeps moisture well is very important when growing watermelons, they like a steady supply of water.

Sow seeds directly into the garden once all dangers of frost have passed, soak the seeds for a half hour before planting in compost tea will help the seeds germinate. Plant on hills with 4 seeds per hill and space the hills 8 to 10 feet apart for vine type or 3 to 4 feet apart for bush type. Once the seeds have germinated remove 2 of the seedlings leaving the 2 best plants.

Watermelons are heavy feeders and need a steady supply of water, giving them a feeding of compost tea every two weeks will add the nutrients needed for your plants to thrive. Do not overdue it with nitrogen, especially once the flowers form.

Harvesting your watermelons can be a tricky task. There are three methods that can be used in figuring out if a watermelon is ripe. Look, listen and feel are what it takes to check for ripeness in a watermelon.

First sign is visual, the underside of the fruit that rests on the ground will turn a gold color or yellow straw color. Next look for the curly tendril that is attached to the vine closest to the fruit, it will be dry and brittle when a watermelon is ripe.

Second is the thump test, tap the watermelon with your knuckles and it should make a hollow sound when ripe. This method will take some practice, but once you get the feel for it you will most likely you this method the most.

Third is feel, if you run your fingers around the center of the watermelon you should feel ridges on the rind when it is ripe. This is done around the center and not from end to end or from stem to blossom. A watermelon that is not mature will be smooth.

Fast Food, Slow Death?

The all too familiar story: no time to cook, kids are late for soccer practice and McDonald's is on the way. Since it will not take more than a few minutes to shoot through the drive through we'll do the fast food stop. Or all too familiar story number 2: lunch hour at work and I need to pick up my dry cleaning, fill a prescription, and take the car to get gas and find time to eat. Sure enough Taco Bell is on the way and they have a drive through as well. These real life situations play out for all of us, millions of us, everyday. Since time has become one of our most precious commodities the sacrifice we make is often in our diet.

And yet it does not need to be this way. By following a few healthy practices you can still go to your favorite fast food chain and, 30 years from now, live to tell about it. The key is knowing what to select from the menu and balancing that meal with the rest of the day's food intake.

Choose Your Menu Items With Care

Choose a main dish item that is low in fat. As an example, when faced with the choice of a bacon cheeseburger or a regular hamburger, the regular hamburger wins every time. In the battle of the regular hamburger or the grilled chicken breast sandwich the chicken wins hands down. Why? Here's an example:

Wendy's Ultimate Chicken Grill Sandwich has 360 calories, 7 grams of fat, and 0 trans fat. Compare that to the Wendy's Big Bacon Classic which has 580 calories, 29 grams of fat and 1.5 grams of trans fat. Put either choice with a medium fry and you have added another 440 calories and another 21 grams of fat. Choose, instead, the Baked Potato with Sour Cream and Chive and you add 320 calories and 4 grams of fat – a better choice indeed.

Choose side salads and salad bar vegetables as these provide extra vitamins and add dietary fiber. In addition they fill you up without adding lots of extra calories. Be sure to use low fat or non-fat dressing or better yet, a simple vinaigrette dressing. More dietary fiber can be found in the choice of whole wheat or whole grain buns and rolls.

If your sweet tooth kicks in have fresh fruit or frozen yogurt. Or go for the reduced fat ice cream versus the shake. Again an example, this time from McDonald's: 16 oz. Triple Thick Vanilla Shake has 550 calories and 13 grams of fat. The Vanilla Reduced Fat Ice Cream Cone has 150 calories and only 3.5 grams of fat. Granted the lower calories alternative is not as decadent but it also will not clog your arteries by increasing your cholesterol intake and it will satisfy the sugar craving.

Watch Your Portion Size

Portion control is also a key element to successful fast food dining. Although many restaurants have discontinued the super size trend, most portions are simply more than we need to consume. These large portions look like real value when viewed in the monetary sense but when measured by way of their contribution to weight gain and its complications they are simply not worth it.

Choose the smallest size possible especially if you are having hamburgers or fried foods.

Share large or high items with someone else.

Eat half your order and take the rest home. Yes, I know we are provided to clean our plates because there are children starving in China. At least that's what many mothers over the years have been heard to say. The fact is being a member of the Clean Plate Club will also get you entry into the Fat Club, the High Cholesterol Club, and if your really fortify the Heart Disease Club.

Remember These 3 Key Points

1. Reduce total fat, saturated fat, trans fat, cholesterol, and sodium.
2. Increase intake of whole grains
3. Eat more fruits and vegetables

Fast food is one of the great innovations of the 20th century. Here in the 21st century we need to manage how we take advantage of its limitless access. To do so will maintain a balance between food as satisfying fuel that keeps our human engine running and toxic waste that will eventually lead to shorten life spans.