Skip to main content

Who merchandises and controls your floor covering showroom?

Merchandising a retail showroom floor may be an owner’s most important responsibility.  The problem is, most retailers permit their reps or buying groups to handle that responsibility which means that it's easy to start looking like every other floor covering showroom.  Let me explain why that might not be a good thing. 

Last week my wife and I visited Sorbaras, our new local grocery store.  We were amazed at the plethora of brands we hadn’t seen for many years, including Utz potato chips, DeLallo and Isaly's chipped ham.  Sorbara’s is exciting to us because their selection is different.  The store is not as large as Publix, the dominant chain; nor does it have as many brands or selection.  None of that matters though, because Sorbara’s has brands and products that are different and we have become fans.

Product differentiation is key to your success. 

Someone recently said to me that shopping at carpet stores was akin to shopping for beer at convenience or smaller grocery stores - the insides of the stores and the products all look the same - unless you go to Trader Joe's where they help you cook rather than just sell you something to eat.  Trader Joe’s proves you can be different in a highly commoditized category.

So ask yourself these questions:   

Who chooses the displays for your floor covering store?  Most floor covering stores are edited by their reps, buying or aligned groups. A cynic might call that manipulation when retailers are shown or not shown products as their rep or group desires.  (This is not a knock against buying groups.  In fact, joining a buying group may be exactly what you need to differentiate yourself).

What products do you show that amaze your customer and can only be purchased at your store? Consider products rather than brands. As an aside, changing the name of a Mohawk or Shaw product doesn't qualify a product as being "different" to a consumer.  Brands have limitations too.

There are few reasons to believe the floor covering industry is going to emerge from the recession any time soon.  This is the new normal.  Can you survive if this is as good as it gets?  Perhaps only if you make changes to the way you do business.  The products on your floor are the engine to your success.  Make it your personal passion to ensure your showroom floor does not mirror your competition’s showroom floor. The key is that you explore your options for products where your competition is too lazy to tread.  Be different.

What do you do that is different? Comment below and let us know.

Chris
Chris Ramey is president of Affluent Insights and a member of the Floor Covering Institute.

Comments

Post a Comment

Popular posts from this blog

Intelligent merchandising in the floor covering showroom

In a ceramic tile and stone showroom the two biggest challenges for customers are  visualizing how the tile or combination of tiles will look installed in the home and determining which tiles are suitable for their intended application. Figuring out how to address these two challenges should be a priority for every showroom.

Along with that, conveying the features, benefits and limitations of the products is the next challenge. And perhaps the most important piece of the showroom puzzle, is to train sales people so they are knowledgeable and competent showroom consultants (I wrote about this previously on the blog in, How Training and E-learning Can Improve ROI).

Years ago, when I was an importer and distributor with several showrooms I coined the term Intelligent Merchandising to represent the approach we developed to help our customers make selections and our sales people more effective in assisting our customers during the selection process. The challenges we faced back then …

Concrete Moisture Leading to Flooring Failures - Is this an Epidemic?

Sheet vinyl  lifting off concrete substrates that looks like blistered skin from a burn, wood flooring turning up at the edges, carpet tiles emitting foul odors from reactions with “wet” slabs.  All of these failures in floor covering occur daily around the country plaguing flooring contractors and end users.  Is this a flooring conspiracy or something more sinister?  Well, it’s not a conspiracy, nothing so colorful as that, and it’s not sinister unless you consider that moisture lurking in the substrates is skulking around waiting to pounce.

What are the reasons for this outbreak of flooring failures?  Have adhesives changed?  Is flooring material different?  Hasn’t concrete been the same for years?  Why is this all happening now?

Adhesives have changed from when solvent carriers were used but adhesives are actually better now.  Flooring products have changed with the onslaught of non-permeable backings which can trap moisture vapor emissions coming from concrete.  Concrete hasn’t ch…

Corporate culture; what does it say about your company?

Culture at a company (corporate culture) is generally developed through the actions of management.  Employees then follow their lead.  “The boss did it this way so it must be the right way.” I share this obvious observation because sometimes leaders do things that ultimately reflect poorly on the company.  This is particularly so during difficult times.


One of the benefits of working with dozens of companies outside the flooring industry is the opportunity to understand their corporate standards and culture by observation.  I recently spoke at a convention for a couple hundred people.  The food was acceptable as you would expect; but the room was dirty and hideous.  The company chose this room because it was the least expensive room available.  The room was so remote and old that most of us didn’t even know that wing of the well-known property existed.  We sat in a dirty room that communicated the company’s own low standards while the corporate president spoke glowingly about their c…