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Celebrating the best in the latest Merchandiser

 12 August 2019     Michael J. Knell 

BRIGHTON, Ontario – Celebrating excellence is not something we do enough of, particularly in this industry. This is one of the reasons why I’m particularly proud of HGO’s collaboration with ZucoraHome in the creation of the Retail Sales Professional Awards program, the 2019 honourees of which are profiled and feted in the Summer edition of the Merchandiser, now available for download.

At risk of sounding repetitive, this is the only industry program I can find in North America dedicated to saluting the contributions and achievements of those entrusted with its most important task – serving the customer. Those men and women on the retail sales floor have the industry’s collective fate in their hands everyday. It sounds like a cliché but that doesn’t make it any less true.

In my opinion, their role and contribution will become more important as e-commerce swallows an ever-increasing share of the consumer’s furniture, mattress and appliance spending. It is becoming obvious the internet is going to be the place to buy relatively inexpensive, everyday commodities households – especially new ones – need. The $59 stool. The $199 chair for the TV room. But once needs become wants and the question becomes one of style and substance, the internet can’t become what Donald Cooper so brilliantly describes as the caring coach. Software just can’t make that intuitive leap. This means the sales associate is going to become even more important to the process.

Over the coming weeks, HGO TV will begin streaming interviews with each of the four RSP Award nominees held during the recent Canadian Furniture Show and conducted by our contributing editor, Ashley Newport, who also authored the profiles which begin on page 8.

For the first time in more than three decades, I didn’t attend the Canadian Furniture Show this year. Rest assured, HGO was ably represented, as you will read later in this issue, as I was forced to the sidelines for health reasons. I’m back at the computer and having chatting with people who walked the floor at the International Centre can’t help but be concerned about the future of our only national furniture industry event.

The increasing role of e-commerce will also make CFS more important, especially to brick-and-mortar retailers. Ours is a tactile business. The internet gives a visual but gives no clue as to texture and feel. Retail buyers need to attend events like CFS for the same reasons the consumer needs to visit a store. I don’t know what the show will look like in five years time. I don’t know where it will be held.hat I do know is this. The Canadian industry will be much poorer without it. If it has any chance to survive, the industry has a whole must support it. So, on that note, I hope to see you next January.

Click here to read the Summer 2019 edition of the HGO Merchandiser.

Sealy Canada
This HGO article was written by:
Michael J. Knell
Michael J. Knell

Michael is the publisher and editor of Home Goods Online. A seasoned business journalist, he has researched and written about the furniture, mattress and major appliance industries in both Canada and the United States for the past three decades.

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Home Goods and its accompanying newsletter - HGO This Week - covers the furniture, bedding, appliances, consumer electronics, accessories, lamps and lighting and floor coverings product sectors of the big ticket home goods market in Canada. HGO is also a forum for the dissemination of market research and hard-hitting articles on best practices for Canadian retailers.

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