Shanghai location geared for designers, luxury market
By Matthew Spieler
Shanghai—Anderson Hardwood Floors has opened its first stand-alone retail store in an effort to reach the country’s growing designer-oriented luxury market.
Unlike the U.S. manufacturers owning retail stores is commonplace in China. In fact, the specialty retailer as Americans know is virtually non-existent here as manufacturers not only sell directly to the end user, in industries like flooring, they handle the installations. In effect, manufacturers are held to total accountability from the start to finish of the job.
The location Anderson chose for the store is speaks volumes to this concept as it is in a multi-story home furnishings mall filled with individual stores owned by manufacturers such as Kohler, Moen and a bunch of flooring mills, including Anderson’s Asian partner, Power Dekor.
Don Finkell, Anderson’s president said while the 1,400-square-foot store is open to the public, the company’s main focus will be to attract designers. “The luxury market is quickly growing in China and with it there is a burgeoning interior designer industry. Anderson has always been about style and fashion and we want to develop stronger relationships with the designer community in China.”
As proof of this desire, he pointed to a unique area in which designers will be asked to rate products which are still in the concept stage. Plus, designers will be encouraged to make style boards around a product and then put their business card on it. This will boost their profile and show others how our products can be used.”
Finkell added this feature is same as the company’s Club Next concept at trade shows in the U.S., except this will be an ongoing thing in the store.
Another element to help gain designer interest is how the store is laid out. It t is divided into three lifestyle concepts—New York, Miami and Aspen—with each depicting products, photos and vignettes designed to invoke that city’s lifestyle.
Other than the concept designs all the products in the store are made by Anderson in the U.S. Finkell added, the store is designed to compliment the one owned in the same mall by Power Dekor, which has been selling the Anderson brand for about four years. “The products in our showroom are geared for the high end, luxury market whereas Power Dekor goes after the mainstream consumer. In fact, Power Dekor officials, were very encouraging in Anderson opening this concept store.”
Power Dekor operates 3,000 stores in China and they are primarily geared as selling operations. If Anderson’s store proves successful the company not only has plans to add more outside of Shanghai, there is speculation Poer Dekor may copy some of its ways of doing business to its units.
“The store really serves two purposes,” Finkell noted. “It is a place for research and development for us and, to some extend, Power Dekor and it will help us develop deeper relations with the country’s emerging design professionals.”