6/7/2010 By Peter Schlosser
However, I have noticed that much of the furniture we sell today bears a similarity to the likes of consumer electronics and clothing: It is disposable. I understand that not everyone can buy heirloom-quality goods. What bothers me is that we as an industry have shifted our focus away from selling good-quality furniture to selling wham-bam-thank-you-ma’am junk that inevitably fails in a short period of time, and we know it.
What does that say about us as retailers? I can only think of two reasons why a customer would decide to buy something inferior, like a cheap sofa, for example, with a useable lifespan of less than two years: They’re on a limited budget, or they don’t know any better. Given today’s economy, let’s set aside the former and focus on the latter. It’s a lot easier to push product when the price point is low (who can’t sell a sofa for $199?) and the margin is still reasonable enough to put it on the sales floor. China has put such a spit-shine on cheap goods that even relatively savvy consumers have a hard time distinguishing between high quality and low quality. The point is that the low-end product is costing you money and may inevitably destroy your business.
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