National Karastan Month is a rite of passage for scores of flooring retailers, a 30-plus-year tradition that helps reinvigorate the all-important spring selling season. This year, the “National Karastan Month …. Save Beautifully” spring campaign, which kicked off April 20 and runs through June 1, features the luxury brand’s best-selling soft and hard surface offerings—including Wool, SmartStrand Silk, SmartStrand, Kashmere, BelleLuxe Waterproof Wood and LuxeCraft.
Karastan uses its national sales promotions to target a variety of customers, with the goal of driving traffic to retail stores and simplifying the shopping experience. “Our expectations are always high going into National Karastan Month; however, due to the current retail climate and slower overall store traffic, we have adjusted our sales projections accordingly,” said Jason Randolph, senior vice president of residential sales, Karastan. “We have also provided additional benefits for the sale that our retail partners can use to drive sales. These include aggressive financing rates, consumer rebates, RSA spiffs and special pricing. These, combined with local advertising, have given some strong initial results.”
Mohawk is distributing 1,800 kits to both Edge and non-Edge accounts, with approximately 75% of its Karastan partners participating in the spring sale. Retailers participating in the sale receive a full POP store signage kit and have access to Karastan print, digital, television and radio ads.
Consumers, meanwhile, can receive up to $1,000 back on their Karastan flooring with no minimum purchase to qualify. In past campaigns, there was a minimum purchase requirement. “Mohawk will reimburse the consumer and then reimburse the retailer for their portion, 50%, of the rebate,” said Janel Hernandez, director of channel marketing at Mohawk. “That is what’s a little different—we’re structuring it, so we help financially offset some of that burden for our dealers. We included the entire portfolio of Karastan product instead of cherry-picking what products to include to make it easier for our retailers to participate. Karastan is our biggest sale every year, and we have a better package than ever before.”
Acknowledging that 86% of consumers begin their flooring purchases online, Hernandez said Karastan is offering two options for online advertising: Mohawk Edge Local Advertising, designed to increase the retailer’s online presence and drive leads to dealer websites through a suite of digital assets; and DIY advertising, where retailers can leverage Karastan’s free, ready-to-use digital assets.
Retailers amped up
For Mohawk, National Karastan Month is the company’s biggest annual sale; for many retailers, it is their most important sales event as well. “We always look forward to National Karastan Month, as it drives customers into the store,” said Sam O’Krent, president of O’Krent Floors, San Antonio. “The POP is great, and it’s backed up with tremendous savings.”
In preparation for National Karastan Month, Independent Carpet One, Westland, Mich., promotes the sale with a TV spot and billboard and, of course, showroom displays. “We really do it up big in my Karastan department—it’s festive,” said Cathy Buchanan, owner. “Every display (50+) has a header or a wrap. I use every bit of the three kits.”
Buchanan said they prepare 20 “agenda items” specially priced for the sale. As she explained, “Our sales associates fill out the rebate form and email it for the client to guarantee they receive their incentive. We publicize it as a tried-and-true sale, no gimmicks. The rebate is a vested interest and I count it as a form of advertising so everything in our store can receive the rebate. Carpet, wood, LVT and the new Signature laminate. We really are a soft surface showroom, so I’m proud of my team’s grasp of the entire Karastan line of floors.”
One of the biggest surprises for Mohawk so far—especially amid a challenging economy—is the impact that a strong sale combined with local advertising has had in driving consumers into the store. “Over the past few years with the high consumer demand and limited product supply, many retailers significantly reduced advertising and limited running any sales,” Randolph explained. “Our retailers have commented on the increased traffic and close rates during the sale which provides us the assurance that consumers are still shopping for high-quality goods—they just need a compelling reason to buy.”
A fall Karastan sale is scheduled to run from Sept. 21 to Oct. 31, 2023.