One Stop Shop

Alex Milstein

One Stop Shop blog is your number one source for furniture industry tips, advice and how-to’s. From social media guidance to breaking down trends in the industry, One Stop Shop offers solutions and ideas that will help retailers and manufacturers succeed in business. Alex’s millennial tendencies and love for listicles runs deep, but not as deep as his passion for providing useful, helpful and informative solutions.

Have something you want Alex to write about? Contact him on Twitter @CLalexM or by email at AMilstein@casualliving.com
  • A short checklist for Small Business Saturday

    While big box stores have Black Friday and e-commerce websites have Cyber Monday, one of the most important shopping holidays for small businesses will commence on November 25: Small Business Saturday. Started by American Express and the non-profit National Trust for Historic Preservation back in 2010, Small Business Saturday is a day where small businesses can offer sales, discounts and fun activities to bring their communities together and support local businesses. If you’re a small business, it’s in your best interest to celebrate the holiday. Not only will it help with gaining new customers and highlighting the usefulness ... Read More
  • 3 ways the furniture industry can use GIFs

    If you’ve been on the Internet in the last five years you’ve probably seen a GIF. They’re those looped, moving images you see all over Facebook and Twitter. A GIF, or graphics interchange format, is a type of digital image format similar to JPEGs. GIFs can be still images, but their popularity stems from their ability to move. GIFs are fun, easy to use and memorable, but most importantly they increase engagement. They usually convey a positive sentiment and can spur emotional reactions when used in the right context. Unlike videos, they often don’t need sound ... Read More
  • Why you should be on Instagram

    Back in January, Instagram introduced a new way to shop by launching a mobile shopping experience that allows consumers to discover, explore and buy products from the social media platform. These unique posts don’t look like advertisements, but users can tap the image and see product details for up to five different products in one image. After viewing the items, the consumer can buy the item directly from the retailer’s website through a link on Instagram. This may not be surprising by itself, but let’s also consider that Instagram has 400 million daily active users, 95 million ... Read More
  • The importance of blending online and in-store experiences

    During a High Point Market seminar about digital marketing and the power of simplicity, Erika Sparrow, vice president of sales for Imagine Advertising, offered this surprising statistic from the U.S. Census Bureau: Online furniture sales are rapidly approaching a quarter of the total market. This push into the digital world means furniture companies need to adapt and learn to attract customers to their website and store through the Internet. While web advertising seems like the logical solution, Sparrow explained that 49% of digital ads may never be seen because of ad blockers. She said that 91% of respondents to ... Read More
  • How to avoid common e-commerce mistakes

    During High Point Market, Blueport Commerce CEO Carl Prindle started his seminar about avoiding common e-commerce mistakes with this idea:  Shopping hasn’t changed, but the best way to shop (and sell) has. Prindle was referring to the way the shopping process –discovering a product, understanding the services offered and fulfillment of an order – is still the same, but e-commerce has made buying certain products easier, quicker and more efficient. Though he noted that e-commerce only represents 1% of retail, he said it’s going to be important for retailers to pick up on the trend and up their game ... Read More
  • Why you should consider using chatbots

    Customer service is the pillar of every successful organization. And just like everything else, customer service is changing, and you need to evolve with those digital advances to remain successful. One major introduction in the customer service world is chatbots, or virtual customer assistants—automated customer service agents that can be used to answer simple questions. If you’ve ever clicked the “help” tab on a website and were presented with a small dialogue box at the corner of your screen, you’ve probably talked to a chatbot. See related: 3 simple changes that will make your website outstanding Sometimes ... Read More
  • 2 critical events furniture manufacturers need to know about

    American manufacturing is constantly changing. When it became more affordable to manufacture in places like China and Vietnam, American manufacturing suffered greatly. Hitting its worst point during the Great Recession of 2008, manufacturers have since hired 800,000 new workers. Manufacturing jobs now account for 9% of the U.S. workforce, or about 12 million people. Today, more manufacturers are returning to on-shoring than ever before. According to Boston Consulting Group (BCG)’s annual “Made in America, Again” report, in 2015 17% of respondents said they were actively reshoring – more than twice the number actively reshoring in 2012. Manufacturers are ... Read More
  • 3 simple changes that will make your website outstanding

    Think about your website. Is it unique? Does it offer all the information your customers need to know? Because the consumer experience now extends beyond the brick-and-mortar store, these are things you need to closely consider. The world is in full digital mode, and the importance of a solid website is only going to increase from here. While things like blogs, style quizzes, videos and games on your website can help keep customers engaged with your brand longer, here are three simple things you can do to drive more engagement: 1. Give it a personality. Think about websites you visit ... Read More
  • One threat furniture retailers are overlooking

    Many retailers fear the disruption e-commerce has caused, but they may be overlooking a crucial threat to brick-and-mortar stores: mobile phones. The disruption mobile phones can cause in regard to comparing stores before shopping is clear, but a study by Motorola Solutions found that nearly 50% of consumers believe their personal mobile devices are more efficient than store associates in helping them make buying decisions. Now mobile phones don’t just threaten the choice of store, they threaten the need for sales associates. But we know mobile phones are no substitute for an educated sales associate. So what can we ... Read More
  • How one study can help you plan your social media strategy

    Still trying to figure out social media? Seems like everyone in the furniture industry is. Every day new research is published about what people do and don’t like from brands on social media. A few months ago, Sprout Social, a social media management company, found six of the top reasons consumers unfollow brands on social media. A new study from Sprout Social focused on behaviors consumers do and don’t like to see from brands on social media. Its findings can help you better plan your social media strategy. What to do: Honesty (86%), friendliness (83%) and helpfulness (78 ... Read More
  • The truth about Facebook

    Mark Kinsley, VP of marketing, bedding group at Leggett and Platt, gave a presentation at the MegaGroup Conference about stepping up your digital and social marketing. The presentation had great nuggets of actionable information, but it was something he said about Facebook that caught my ear: “Ask tough questions, like, does Facebook add value or am I doing this because I’m scared not to? Or because I still think it’s free?” Those are tough questions, and they bring up an interesting point. Facebook is a great place to connect with family and friends, catch up on current events ... Read More
  • How can VR be used in the furniture industry?

    Augmented reality has caused quite a buzz in the furniture industry lately, but what about virtual reality? There are two reasons why I feel VR won’t make a significant impact on retail and design: My personal experience with VR leads me to believe that shopping for furniture or designing a room with virtual reality won’t be as fun as it sounds. I’ve played a few VR games and simulations, and I feel the power and potential of VR is going to make shopping or designing with VR boring compared to the other things you can do with ... Read More