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Samuel Tatelman began selling furniture out of the back of his truck

in Waltham, Massachusetts, in 1918. Today, Jordan's Furniture sells more furniture per square foot than any other furniture retailer in the country and attracts record numbers of guests each week. With just four stores, Jordan's Furniture has grown from 15 employees 25 years ago to more than 1,000 today. Jordan's Furniture is also in the process of a massive expansion and plans to double its number of both stores and employees in the next few years. The company has broken just about all industry standards. Inventory turns over at a rate of 13 times a year, compared to an average of 1 to 2 times a year in most furniture stores. Advertising expenditures are 2 percent, whereas the industry average is 7 percent. Sales per square foot are $950, whereas most furniture stores average $150 in sales per square foot. When Samuel Tatelman's grandsons took over the business in 1973, they decided to focus their efforts on the 18- to 34-year-old market segment. Whereas most furniture stores do not target specific customers, the Tatelman felt that people with first homes or new families would need furniture more. To bring customers, even those not currently shopping for furniture, into the stores (particularly young families), the brothers invented what they call "shoppertainment" and created stores that were imaginative, fun, and a little Disney like. Their "shoppertainment" concept paid off because the stores now host more than 4,000 visitors on an average weekend. When customers walk into a Jordan's Furniture store, they might be greeted with a welcome map, offered freshly baked chocolate chip cookies, or receive a hearty greeting from an animatronic Elvis. "We've taken furniture shopping and given it new life by making it more of a fun experience rather than this 'God, I have to go furniture shopping' [experience]," says Eliot. "Beantown," a recreation of Boston made of 25 million jelly beans, stands next to an ice cream stand, indoor fireworks and jazz music enliven a re-creation of New Orleans's famous Bourbon Street, complete with amusement ride for kids, animated characters, and snack stands. The stores are strategically laid out to make the shopping experience not only fun but easy. Instead of arranging furniture by manufacturer, Jordan's Furniture put all its categories together so customers can see all of their offerings at the same time, "If you come in looking for a bedroom set, we'll make it easy to see every bedroom set we carry," says Eliot. The stores are also equipped with Dell workstations so employees can quickly look up product details and pricing. Their Sleep Lab (complete with white-coated "Sleep Technician") offers a questionnaire that helps customers find mattress suited for maximum personal comfort. The showrooms are also equipped with low-level lighting that dim when customers lie down on a mattress. Jordan's Furniture has also added an infants' section with soft-white track lights. Since each department at Jordan's Furniture has its own theme music to set the tone, soft lullabies can be heard in the bursary section. Because of the high volume of families visiting the stores, Jordan's Furniture nursery products have been successful based on work of mouth alone. By taking the focus off furniture and putting it on people, Jordan's Furniture has pulled ahead of its competitors. "A lot of people look at their business strictly from the cash register's point of view. I can stand outside and watch people leaving and coming in and see smiles on their faces. When they're walking out smiling, happy, and having a good time," says Tatelman, "I know the cash register is going to be ringing." (Source: Adapted and modified from Pride, WM & Ferrell, OC 2010, Marketing, 15th edn, Cengage Learning, Canada.)


(a) Assess the marketing offering of Jordan's Furniture.


(b) Is Jordan's Furniture following the "production concept" or "marketing concept" orientation?


(c) Discuss the target market and positioning of Jordan's Furniture.


(d) Evaluate the influence of word of mouth communication and perceived risk on consumer behaviour with regard to the purchase furniture for the new home or new family.

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