Moldings and accessories are a crucial part of the flooring journey and are not just a “one-size-fits-all” solution. Different kinds of floors and room layouts require coordinating moldings and accessories to provide functionality, safety and to finish the job. With this in mind, it’s important, and also beneficial, for retailers to find the best ways to include these essential add-ons in their quotes to not only complete the look but to successfully close the sale.
“Accessories are a necessary part of every flooring installation and it benefits retailers to keep these items in stock,” said Jon England, vice president of enterprise accessories at Shaw. “Not only do these products increase average ticket sizes, they help build trust and loyalty with consumers.”
Instead of presenting the accessories as an afterthought, retailers are advised to sell coordinating trims/moldings, quarter rounds, wall base and stair treads, to name a few, to finish the entire flooring project. “The consumer makes one trip to shop for everything she needs to get the job done, so it’s a one-stop-shop experience,” said Ruth Nelson, vice president of accessories, Mohawk. “For the retailer, this is also an upsell opportunity with a much bigger sale basket.”
Aside from offering a more complete flooring package, experts say adding accessories creates upsell opportunities which, in turn, boost profit margins. “The consumer will most likely shop you on the floor [but] they will not shop you on the molding,” explained Kraig Coxon, executive vice president of Pennwood Products. “I believe it’s easier to bundle the moldings with the floor. This allows the retailer to increase his/her overall gross margins.”
According to Coxon, retailers should be making 35%-40% gross margins on their flooring as a general rule based on each of their individual situations. However, when it comes to moldings, dealers can expect to generate a minimum gross profit margin of 50%-70%. By adding accessories to the mix, the likelihood of reaching these numbers increases.
Both Coxon and Nelson suggest including the accessories when quoting the cost of the floors, factoring in which types of transitions are necessary to complete the installation and give a seamless, finished look. “Today’s consumer is educated and in many cases has already shopped the cost of the floor,” Coxon explained, noting that in the majority of cases, however, the consumer hasn’t thought about the molding and trim. “It is up to the flooring associate to build this into the sale.”
Leveraging samples, displays
However, it doesn’t always come down to money. Having a thoughtfully curated catalog and eye-catching displays of various options of moldings and accessories, experts say, conveys the importance of accessories to customers.
“Accessories will separate the independent specialty retailers from the box stores,” said Joe Kennedy, president of Perfect Vents. “It shows they pay attention to the details of the job and not just doing the most basic work possible.”
Indeed, the devil is in the details, he added, meaning a perfectly executed job at first glance will ultimately disappoint if the incorrect moldings and accessories were used.
But how does one know which accessory options to carry and what displays work best? For proponents like Bill Trieber, technical sales and education manager at Artistic Finishes, it’s all about being informed. “The retailer owes it to themselves to absorb the recommendations of the flooring manufacturers’ guidelines so they understand the type of transition that they’re recommending,” he explained. “[It’s] so they have the knowledge as the retailer to give a reason why they’re recommending the flush stair nose versus an overlap. Know the manufacturer’s recommendations and use that as a springboard into the accessories so when you are ordering accessories, you’re confident you have created a knowledge base that is consistent with professional, satisfying installs.”
One of the best ways for retailers to sell accessories in their stores, experts note, is through attention-grabbing merchandisers and functional samples.
Whether it’s a full display, graphic story boards or an array of samples, i.e., a chainset of trims, these detailed visual aids and mock-ups will help the consumer envision those accessories in their home, making them more inclined to buy them in-store.
“Having the accessories installed in the showroom or a sample at the minimum is always the best option,” Perfect Vents’ Kennedy said. “It lets the customer see exactly what you are referring to rather than just having to describe it.”
Mohawk takes this approach a step further by creating a demo kit for its Performance Accessories line. These kits feature chainsets of various profiles of trims/moldings for each product type as well as lifestyle books to show customers how these products can put the finishing touches on a room. “The Performance Accessories merchandising displays and demo kits make us an easy choice to aid the customer to visualize ideas,” Nelson said. “Our display includes graphics, fabricated stairs and our sales demo box.”
Artistic Finishes’ Trieber concurred, as the most widely used sales aids at his company are chainsets. In fact, he said he sends out thousands of them every year. The company also offers mini displays of treads and risers and storyboards—small mockups that contain examples of different floors being installed with Artistic Finishes transitions. Also available are online videos that show different profile dimensions, additional technical information and how-to instructions—all of which Trieber said are useful for RSAs.
Pennwood’s Coxon agreed, explaining that the best way to sell accessories is to convey to customers that these products give their floors that clean, finished look. “All consumers are visually oriented,” he explained. “Today, the consumer wants to be educated. A visual tool like a molding display board showing a stair nose, reducer, threshold, t-mold and quarter round helps them to understand the process.”