The Weekly 5

Thomas Lester

A weekly rundown of the hottest stories in business and retail from Thomas Lester, business editor for Home Accents Today.

  • Amazon Prime Day; new trends, please; coming to HGTV; Target's modern style; the monobloc chair

    1.) A 'prime' day to set a record? July 11 is Amazon Prime Day (although technically it begins at 9 p.m. ET on July 10) and if past history is any indication, Amazon is probably in store for another record-setting performance. This article from RetailWire.com takes a look at the soon-to-be three-year-old phenomenon and why it is significant in the online sales space.   "... last year’s Prime Day sales rose more than 60% and exceeded Amazon’s Cyber Monday sales," notes Tom Ryan, who authored the article.    2.)Trending down? Culture Cheat Sheet takes a look at 15 ... Read More
  • Amazon now anti-showrooming, Target aims small, brand soul, the elephant in the store, local SEO

    1.) The pot and the kettle Name an online retailer that has benefited more from the practice of showrooming (shopping an item in store only to buy it online) than Amazon. That's why this story from TechCrunch might elicit an exasperated chuckle or two. According to the report, Amazon was recently granted a patent that "could be used to prevent brick-and-mortar retailers from leveraging technology in their stores that could stop shoppers from comparing prices of in-store products to those online." Basically, Amazon doesn't want consumers to be able to showroom its products inside of its physical stores ... Read More
  • Scent of Ikea; passport to success; 11 retail tips; reexamining renovations; retail sales dip in May

    1.) Smells like meatballs? Here's an out-of-the-box story relating to home furnishings from Australian style site D'Marge. Ikea is teaming up with fragrance and bodycare maker Byredo for a line of Ikea-themed scents set to launch in 2019 with “a democratic approach to smell.”  “I feel people just don’t reflect enough when it comes to scent, but smell is a very relevant part of our life and also the home,” Byredo founder Ben Gorham said in a statement. “To collaborate on this idea of ‘invisible design’ with   Ikea, getting people to think about smell is very exciting ... Read More
  • Scott Bros. on Discovery Family, design on a larger scale, 7 deadly sins, Ikea's new CEO, fun with old commercials

    1.) Scott Brothers take on Discovery Family Jonathan and Drew Scott, better known as the Property Brothers, are bringing the home renovation programming craze to Discovery Family. While they might not star on the show, the Scott Brothers are lending their names to Reno, Set, Go! as executive producers. According to a report from The Hollywood Reporter, Reno, Set, Go! will feature homeowners "who've been thrown a curveball or two from life" getting surprised by friends and family as they pull off a covert room makeover in less than 36 hours. A family and a team of expert crafters ... Read More
  • Predicting Pantone's pattern, building brand intimacy, Crate & Barrel & UGallery, Havenly, summer markets

    1.) Bellacor's colorful Pantone analysis Online home furnishings shopping site Bellacor typically has interesting items on its blog, and one of its latest is no exception. Recently, the Minneapolis based e-commerce retailer's Marlon Heimerl analyzed Pantone's selections for Color of the Year and in doing so, unearthed a pattern. "While no single pattern goes unbroken, some intriguing five year Pantone patterns do emerge. As you examine the trends for yourself in our handy infographic, what are your predictions for the 2018 Pantone Color of the Year?" Bellacor asks. "Remember: wild cards and outliers almost always break the ... Read More
  • Forrest Lamp, mobile devices in-store, Walmart & Wayfair? Ikea & AI, hesitation in e-commerce

    1.) What's in a name? Here's an interesting article from sister publication HFN. At the just concluded NFL Draft, the Los Angeles Chargers selected Forrest Lamp, an offensive lineman from Western Kentucky. Lamp's new home in Los Angeles will be furnished by retailer Lamps Plus. “Lamps Plus brings a sense of comfort and security to homes with a large selection of lighting, home décor and furniture. Similarly, Forrest Lamp will be providing comfort and security for quarterbacks and running backs throughout his promising NFL career,” said Dennis Swanson, CEO of Lamps Plus. ”While his name is ... Read More
  • Retail trends, data usage, HGTV Dream Home, One Kings Lane, High Point Market

    1.) Top trends in retail These trends are measured by John Howard, senior vice president of Applied Predictive Technologies in a report by RetailCustomerExperience.com. One key point that Howard makes is in today's marketplace, experiences are what make the brand. " Experimentation with in-store experiences is key to ensuring new programs don't just drive traffic, but also incremental sales and sustained brand preference," he writes. "While experiential programs can be costly, deploying these initiatives in select locations allows retailers to determine which initiatives work, and which stores in their network will generate the highest return from such investments ... Read More
  • Forbes rankings, Ikea relationship stations, tips for reps, home anchors retail, AVA

    1.) Forbes ranks home influencers Forbes has compiled a list of its top 10 influencers in the online home world with a scattering of familiar names to the industry. It notes that in its rankings, some are interior designers who have developed a knack for Pinterest while others are do-it-yourself mavens whose blogs reach millions. All of the selected influencers now have developed their online presence into viable businesses and recognizable personalities and brands. 2.) In-store relationship stations? One of the more common quips about Ikea is that some of its ready-to-assemble furniture has been the cause of more than ... Read More
  • Pottery Barn, Ethan Allen and Amazon, why bricks vs. clicks is wrong, Grokstyle, Evine Designer Dream Home

    1.) Pottery Barn's smaller focus While Williams-Sonoma Inc. recently released its latest round of earnings, the company also announced that Pottery Barn is taking aim at urban Millennials via its newest "Small Spaces" collections. “We know that the opportunity is often size, because as people move to smaller living arrangements and the urbanization happens the large-scale furniture is difficult,” CEO Laura Alber said on a conference call. Alber said it’s important that the brand go “small enough” and offer the right “value equation” to capture those customers who are moving into their first apartment. 2.) Ethan Allen teams ... Read More
  • Amazon, Ikea, RH, Habitat for Humanity, Trading Spaces returns

    1.) An Amazon furniture store? As we reported Monday, Amazon is potentially interested in opening brick-and-mortar stores for larger items that consumers are much more willing to buy in person - specifically home furnishings and appliances. The stores would use virtual reality and augmented reality to allow consumers to see how the items might look at home, and purchases that are made in-store would then be delivered. While Amazon famously changed the game in terms of how consumers expect delivery of online purchases, it's interesting to see how much the e-commerce giant sees value in the brick-and-mortar experience for items ... Read More
  • Knowledgeable shoppers, Target on 34th St., Wayfair, credit scores, furniture week

    1.) The customer knows best ChainStoreAge.com has a survey conducted by Tulip Retail that shows – among its many findings – that due to online research, 83% of shoppers believe they know more about products than retail store associates. For an industry that needs its associates to be positioned as experts, that's troubling. But there's good news. According to the report, nearly 50% of shoppers said a knowledgeable store associate who is able to suggest products based on their purchase history would encourage them to shop in-store. Meanwhile, 73% would be interested in having a store associate text or ... Read More
  • TJX Cos., Beauty and the Beast, Kathy Ireland, March Madness, Neiman Marcus

    1.) Discount retail thriving in era of e-commerce How do those discount retailers do it, even in the face of more and more competition? Here's a story from the New York Post that examines why shoppers love visiting stores under the TJ Maxx, Burlington or Ross umbrellas (for example). Key takeaway? Shoppers love hunting off-price store aisles in hopes of discovering that unexpected gem. And in an era in which the "found treasure" can define a room, that point can't be made often enough. Off-price shoppers "like the treasure hunt," Richard Baum, managing partner of Consumer Growth Partners ... Read More