Stand Out, Speed Up Among Cited Business Goals for 2017

Macy’s Archibald: “Don’t be afraid to make big changes.”
January 3, 2017Andrea Lillo

Schneider and Lapiana headshotsMidwest-CBK's Keith Schneider and KC Lapiana of HTI Buying Group
NEW YORK—The status quo won’t do anymore, as industry executives name differentiation and increasing speed to market as essential to business success in 2017.

Retailers and suppliers heading to the Atlanta Home Furnishings & Gift Market, the first of the year’s markets, were asked about their biggest lessons learned in 2016 that they plan to apply to their businesses this year to boost performance.

While change can be uncomfortable for some people, it’s imperative in this fast-moving world. “Don’t be afraid to make big changes,” said Samuel Archibald, omni vice president and DMM for Macy’s Inc. “Get ahead of the customer.”

KC Lapiana, president, HTI Buying Group, agreed. “Be rewriting and adjusting your five-year business plan and succession plan.” An essential business element, of course, is one’s online strategy. Lapiana added, “You better be ready for a web solution to your current business.”

“E-commerce has forced us to become more nimble with product development and service,” said Brandon Culpepper, vice president of sales, Karastan. This is now just as true for every channel ... 2016 showed us what an omnichannel world really looks like. The consumer demands product that is on trend, priced affordably and delivered quickly. As a manufacturer, you can’t just say this, you have to live it.”

Mac Cooper, president and CEO of Uttermost, emphasized the need to stand out from the others, and will encourage its designers to offer more cutting edge looks this year. “Our product lines are big, we don’t need mediocre or safe designs. We need unique, fresh designs that make a bold statement.”

Everyone—consumers, retailers and manufacturers—expects products and processes to be delivered faster. Last year was all about speed to market, said Keith Schneider, president of Midwest-CBK. “We have changed our model to market product sometimes within weeks of development. Retailers have a hunger for new and innovative products and want to be the first ones in their retail space to keep their consumers happy and coming back.”

The right partnerships also matter. “The wild west of the internet, the ever changing retail landscape, makes it vital to produce works with great designers with great brands,” said David Zrike, president of Zrike Brands. “We have to stand out and no longer be a me-too company. Innovation, design and powerful branding are the key to success.”

Andrea LilloAndrea Lillo | Fashion Editor
alillo@hfnmag.com

Andrea Lillo has written about a variety of topics, from beer gardens in Queens to kitchen design trends to residential caves. Having joined Home Furnishings News in 2006, she serves as Fashion Editor.

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