Would you buy furniture from a robot? Opportunity May Happen Sooner Than You Think | Bill McLoughlin


“Life goes pretty fast. If you don’t stop and look around once in a while, you might miss it. -Ferris Bueller

If you haven’t stopped and looked around lately, you may not have noticed that things, including the furniture industry, are changing fast enough. The changes already underway before the pandemic – in consumer buying behavior, communication and marketing, technology and logistics – have only accelerated.

The current hiatus in consumer demand, while temporarily disruptive, has not altered the structural shifts already underway demographically, technologically or culturally. And these changes are continuing at an accelerated pace.

In the nine months since Facebook announced it was changing its name to Meta to reflect its focus on the Metaverse, that phrase has changed from “what is it?” to “how do I get into it?”. The number of companies looking to explore its possibilities in hopes of gaining a foothold is increasing every day.

At the same time, a robotic revolution is underway, not just in manufacturing, but in all aspects of society and in ways that would have seemed like science fiction less than a decade ago. During the pandemic, robotic caregivers have been used to care for patients in Japan. In Europe, robotic valets deliver equipment from room to room. Are robotic RSAs far behind?

The rise of Millennials and Gen Z in the workplace and in the marketplace is bringing about profound changes for employers and marketers looking to attract, retain and sell them. Over the next decade, the impact of these massive and influential generations will only accelerate.

To help retailers and manufacturers prepare for the changes ahead, Furniture Today will launch The Innovation event: Furniture 2030 and beyond, a new conference on the future of the industry. Unlike many other industry conferences, including our own industry-leading leadership and bedding conferences, this new event isn’t just focused on how to grow your business today, but rather on how to start now to prepare for the future.

To succeed tomorrow, you have to lay the foundations for change today.

The inaugural edition of The Innovation Event will be held September 9-10 in the Winston Salem Innovation District, coinciding with an opportune time as an introduction to High Point Premarket. For those attending Premarket, it’s a great way to combine inspiration, education and advanced scouting for October’s High Point Market. For those who have never been to Premarket, this is an opportunity to get a fresh insight into the business and combine that with a scouting trip for some of the latest furniture innovations in the industry.

We will also recognize our inaugural 40 Under 40 class, a group of young leaders who are making their mark in the industry and who will be at the forefront of the changes to come. What better way to kick off a conference about the future than to honor those who will take us there.

And little secret (shhhhh), the first 75 merchants to sign up get in for free.

Hope to see you there.

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