Rugs are a popular category for furniture retailers and are getting hotter. This is because rugs add color and excitement to furniture store displays, present an upsell opportunity with little or no additional floor space, and allow furniture retailers to present, along with other accessory items, a complete room package.
Rugs add style to your clients’ rooms, create visual and physical warmth, and can inject a great pop of color or pattern. More than any other design element, rugs help define the living and dining areas. They can also be used to divide large spaces and create visual order in what could otherwise be a chaotic scene.
Carpets add comfort by softening hard surfaces. They absorb and reduce ambient noise and, when used with adequate padding, provide a non-slip surface for floors and stairs.
The category offers great potential for improvement for retailers who skillfully buy, display and sell rugs. There are also challenges, as furniture stores face increasingly aggressive competition from other distribution channels, including mass merchants and online retailers.
Furniture World asked carpet sales experts for advice on best practices for selling carpet in furniture store environments. In this issue, we look at carpet selling best practices with an emphasis on exposure and how to create an engaging shopping experience for customers. The November / December issue will focus on retail training programs and sales techniques.
Evolution of the channel
“Carpets are a rapidly growing category,” says Asha Chaudhary, president of Jaipur Rugs. He told Furniture World that the carpet business is doing well for a variety of reasons. “The distribution has expanded to include many different types of retailers, from furniture stores with standard displays to beautiful home décor boutiques that select the product selection according to their needs. Of course, the online segment has also grown. I don’t think six or seven years ago any of us would have known that people would have bought so many rugs online. This trend has continued and is still evolving. Retailers who understand the category and are committed to it can do very well and get really good margins. Carpets are an accessory that plays an important role in completing the look of the house. ”
“There is such a great mix in the carpet industry,” adds Allen Robertson, vice president of sales for Capel Rugs. “There are now furniture stores and gift / accessory stores in the carpet business, and many other types of distribution as well. It’s a mixed bag. Flooring and carpet stores have stopped working for a while, but it seems like are coming back. look back. ”
How to do it right
Seth King, Surya’s VP of Sales, told us, “When distributors ask,” What can you do to help me sell accessories? “, I reply,” We have a good plan to implement things, but in the end, the only way the job is if you, the owner, get involved. “First, owners need to pressure sales managers to sell the product, and sales managers need to pressure their sales people. The second important factor is to measure sales by associate. Otherwise” Measure, ¿as can anyone be held responsible? Rugs and accessories become an afterthought unless stores pay their full monthly, weekly, and daily attention. They should do this the same way they keep track of furniture, protector and mattress sales.
“For a couple of years,” continues King, “we have seen retailers take their accessories business for zero dollars, or a nominal dollar, and turn it into a viable category. Generally, the worst ones sell accessories to one or more. two percent, so it doesn’t make sense to them. The best stores are in the 15 percent range, maybe 20 on the high side. An average furniture store can really aim for seven to eight percent, and it should. Stores can generate revenue where before. there was no income. Another way to think about this is that without a solid carpet program, they basically have income coming out the door. “