Tips & Insights

Winning at Retail in 2016

NAHFA 2015 Retailer of the Year outlines keys to success for the new year

By Robert Bell, Editor, RetailerNOW

Shane Spiller would like to say he’s solved the complicated formula to success in the home furnishings industry. He would like to tell you he’s discovered the next big marketing strategy to making your store thrive in 2016 and beyond.

After all, Spiller knows a thing or three about the business. He’s been running his family furniture store, Spiller Furniture, in Tuscaloosa, Alabama for 11 years. As anyone in this business knows, those have been a challenging 11 years, but Spiller’s efforts have been so successful that the North American Home Furnishings Association (NAHFA) named him one of its Retailers of the Year for 2015.

“It’s important to find the right people who want to learn and want to help your customers learn"
- Shane Spiller, NAHFA 2015 Retailer of the Year

Now, as he looks out into the future, he thinks the secrets to retail success are going to remain fairly constant. “The challenge I have for the New Year is the same as in all the year’s past. We have to find and hire good people because this is still a people-first business. It always will be.”

Like any retail industry, turnover in the home furnishings sector can be high. “You have to find people who are passionate about this industry and who are driven to helping others make their dreams come true.”

Spiller and his father, Mike, have been able to do just that. Twenty percent of Spiller Furniture’s employees have been a part of the company for 20 years or longer. “The consumers know what they like, but they still need to be educated. That’s why it’s important to find the right people who want to learn and want to help your customers learn, too.”

“What we want to do … make ourselves the best we can be and let the competition come after us."
- Shane Spiller

Spiller himself never stops learning, either. As a member of the NAHFA since 1999, he is constantly relying on his association’s many resources to grow his business. Late last year Spiller pored over the association’s annual Retail Performance Report, a survey of home furnishings retailers that compares stores across a range of important key performance indicators.

A key finding for Spiller was that his store was carrying too much inventory compared to retailers of similar size. As a result, he’s been reducing his stock ever since. “We’re getting rid of the losers sooner to make room for what we know has been a winner. We’re going to be a much more lean and mean company for 2016 than we were in 2015,” he says.

Given his store is in the heart of a football-crazed city, Spiller likes to quote Alabama football coach Nick Saban when it comes to running his business. “Coach Saban doesn’t focus on the competition,” Spiller says. “He focuses on what he can control, which is his football team. That’s what we want to do in 2016. We want to make ourselves the best we can be and let the competition come after us.”