By Lisbeth Calandrino
Some view area rugs as a decorative add-on to a hard surface installation, but I see it as a potential profit center that can earn retailers higher margins. The key lies in how you position the category for maximum effect.
Salespeople have been told that within 30 days after the sale of a wood floor, customers tend to purchase an area rug. I interviewed Rachel Berlin, interior designer and sales manager at Precision Floors and Decor in Sheboygan, Wis., and she told me they give the customer an area rug after they buy a hardwood floor. “The customer is actually delighted to get a free area rug,” she told me. “It doesn’t cost us much money (we make some rugs in the store) and it makes the customer feel special.”
But the worst claim salespeople can make is that an area rug will protect the wood floor. You’ve just sold the customer on the Janka hardness rating and how strong the protective finish is and now the customer has new doubts about both of her purchases.
If you’re making this claim when selling an area rug, you need to change your thinking. Consider these reasons to encourage shoppers to buy an area rug:
- Area rugs add dimension and depth to the floor and makes the floor stand out. Area rugs are interesting and can add personality to a room.
- Rugs do more than cover the floor; the right rug will pro- vide a backdrop for furniture or antiques and create a focal point for the space. No matter how simple the room, an area rug will be like adding a painting to the floor.
3. Offer more than one rug to the customer; consider runners to connect through the hallways. You can create several different patterns from a piece of broadloom and use them throughout the home.
4. Consumers can make their living spaces feel more cozy by creating intimate, comfortable spaces. Strategic placement of area rugs can help achieve this objective.
5. Before recommending a specific area rug design or pattern, it’s important to listen for helpful cues. Her choice can be based on something to bring the whole house to life. For instance, area rugs installed in a classic, traditional “period home” may be utilized much differently than a post-modern design. In terms of the former, the rug may be considered a collectable—something that should be treated with respect and handed down through the family. Or, perhaps the owner might be considering using an area rug as a decorative piece to hang on her wall, thereby making the product a focal point of the room.
Bottom line: In order to boost sales of rugs in your store while maximizing profit opportunities, it’s important to look (and listen) for opportunities to add them to a hard surface order. Not only will your overall sales dollars and profit margins improve, but you will likely generate more repeat business and sales further down the road when your customer remodels other areas of the home. More importantly, if she’s happy with the pairings you have presented to her, she is more likely to recommend your products and services to a neighbor or friend.