This new setting is part of Kuka’s move into goods using performance fabrics with Repreve fibers from recycled plastic bottles.
HIGH POINT – Kuka North America has committed to participation in First Tuesday. The upholstery major looks to the event as a good fit for its strategy to utilize its showroom here year-round.
Kuka North America President Matt Harrison called increased use of its Furniture Plaza 614 showroom a “silver lining to this challenging year” in growing business.
“Since our product development and merchandising teams have been unable to travel to China, we have devoted offices in the showroom and created a first-class design center complete with photography and lighting,” Harrison said. “This space is perfect for developing new product, video conferencing with our R&D team in China and working with key accounts across North America. We are also stocking the latest fabrics and leathers in our design center, so that we can handle all buyers’ needs from the showroom.”
Kuka’s merchandising team has employed technology for late-night and early morning meetings with the China factory, and progress on product development has paid off in customer reaction during showroom visits during and outside regular market.
In addition to Premarket and market attendance, private appointments have been the key to driving business, and First Tuesday plays into that.
“Our sales staff and customers have really enjoyed the private showings, which they believe has made the buying experience much more productive,” Harrison said. “Buyers have all said this less stressful environment has given them the opportunity to make better decisions in the showroom, rather than wrapping up at a later date back home in the store.
“If First Tuesday gives us more of an opportunity to connect with our customers and show our product, then Kuka is all in,” he continued. “Nonetheless, we are treating our showroom as always open for private showings with a constant supply of fresh product arriving every 45 to 60 days.”
“Always open” also means an investment in technology to allow buyers to visit virtually if they cannot be in High Point due to travel or health restrictions.
At First Tuesday, Kuka will be showing new goods featuring performance fabric with Repreve fibers created from recycled water bottles.
“Consumer demand for eco-friendly and performance products is increasing, and we are committed to meet this need with products in all categories,” Harrison said. “This is a new initiative at Kuka but something we feel strongly about and will continue to expand in the future.”
I’m Powell Slaughter, senior editor at Furniture/Today. I returned to the publication in January 2015 after nine years of writing about furniture retail strategies and best practices at a monthly magazine focusing on home furnishings retail operations. Prior to that, I spent 10 years with F/T covering wood furniture, the last five of those as case goods editor. Upon my return to F/T, I developed coverage of the logistical and service aspects of the furniture industry as well as following the occasional, home office and home entertainment categories. In April 2018 I took over the upholstery category, with responsibility for coverage of the fabric and leather stationary and motion upholstery, recliners and massage chair categories.