What keeps retailers up at night 2024

HomeFeatured PostWhat keeps retailers up at night 2024

retailersFlooring retailers have a lot on their minds these days—from running a business profitably to improving customer service to wondering whether their installation crew can handle the volume/schedule. Add in the uncertainty of a presidential election and it’s enough to keep any retailer awake at night. 

To that end, Floor Covering News polled a group of retailers to find out what they believe will be their biggest challenges of 2024. Here’s what some had to say: 

Interest rates are too damn high

“Interest rates are high, so existing home purchases and new home building starts will likely remain slower. Mortgage rates of just a percentage point or two higher can easily and rapidly force a house payment to go from within a family’s budget to unaffordable. Until the Fed lowers interest rates, existing home sales can be expected to remain slower than usual. Even though it may appear that interest rates have peaked, the higher cost of housing in most of the USA will suppress home sales.” 

Eric Thompson, Satolli Carpet & Floor Covering
Warren, Ohio 

What’s trending

“I think our biggest challenge is knowing what to stock and predicting what is going to sell. We have found for the past year and a half that the styles have been all over the board— even if these variables have been fun and a breath of fresh air coming from the gray movement. However, when grays took over, it was easy to stock five different variations of gray and still sell the crap out of them whether it was flooring, carpet or tile.” 

Lacey Gillespie, Pro Floor & Tile
Fergus Falls, Minn. 

Downturn in foot traffic

“Drop off in showroom traffic since COVID-19. It’s like no one wants to go anywhere—other than restaurants, sporting events and concerts.” 

Elisabeth Stubbs, Enhance Floors & More
Marietta, Ga. 

“We expect a significant drop in traffic due to circumstances outside of our control, including the economy, a challenging real estate market, election-year distractions and ongoing geopolitical events.” 

Joel Schreier, Home Carpet One

Mapping margins

“Figuring out if I’m at the right margins vs. my competitors— and not losing to the box stores or online companies. Also, installer pricing is getting higher and it’s hard to make money on labor. I do understand their material cost is also higher. Now I’m trying to learn social media to get my name out there, too. I am the sole owner and doing everything myself. It feels overwhelming at times.” 

Chris Maurer-Doncaster, Doncaster Flooring and Design
Mishawaka, Ind. 

Improving profits

“Our concern is how to do more business and be more profitable. Our focus for 2024 is to keep costs down and concentrate on being as efficient as possible. We are looking at other options for products to sell that we are currently not selling. We are also deep diving into how we are spending our advertising dollars.” 

Lou Morano, Capitol Carpet & Tile
Boynton Beach, Fla. 

Targeting the right market

“I’m less than a year old in our new business but we are still struggling to find our target market. We feel like people can’t think outside of the box (store) in our area. They resort to that as if it’s their only option.” 

Ashley Peterson, Blue Mist Paint & Flooring
Spartanburg, S.C. 

Economic uncertainty

“I carry all the same worries into the new year as I did in 2023—the economy, product availability, elections, troubles in our country—as well as other countries—and, on a local level, maintaining and replacing an aging workforce.” 

Doug Peeples, Myers Carpet

Serving the customer well

“Customer service is very important to me. I believe taking care of every last detail for a customer is what turns them into repeat customers. So, I literally stay up at night stressing about whether I remembered some of those little details.”

Eric Buehler, CarpetsPlus ColorTile
Thayne, Wyo.

Keeping up with capacity

“My greatest fear is being able to keep up with the sales and order processing workload. The second greatest fear is having enough quality installers to do the job and represent our family-owned company. I feel like I have some of the best, but I don’t see any new crews coming on board.”

Kevin Murray, Murray Floor & Window Coverings
Billings, Mont.

Installation, politics

“Finding quality installers and the upcoming election year are the two things top of mind that will have an impact on the success of our business.”

Matt Wien, Marshall Flooring
Mayfield Heights, Ohio

Feeding my staff

“Typically, the end of December, January and February are pretty slow months. But, what keeps me up at night is taking care of my staff and their families. We have six teams of sub-contracted installers and three employees—between them are 14 kids.” 

Typhannie Harker, Carpeting by Mike
Somerset, Wis.

Managing expectations

“Customer experience keeps me up at night. Will the quality of the product be up to the expectations? Will the product assortment meet the customers’ desires? Are we heading down a sea of uninteresting sameness? Will the installation be done to customers’ expectations. Are we setting the right expectations? Do we have the empathy for the customer? If we continue to put these issues at the forefront, I can sleep better at night.”

Phil Koufidakis, Baker Bros.
Phoenix, Ariz.

Scott Perron 2015The unknown

“I constantly remind myself to follow my late father’s valuable advice: When you wake up in the morning able to move and think, don’t waste it—be thankful, put your feet on the floor and go make something happen. When you do that, the unknown is never as concerning, especially when you share this idea and train your team to think the same way.”

Scott Perron, 24-7 Floors
Sarasota, Fla.

Supply chain woes

“While vastly improved from the last year or two, there are signs that supply chain issues within the flooring industry will continue to be slow in some instances. In a few cases, this problem has created doubt in the consumer’s mind as to the reliability of a retailer.” 

Eric Thompson, Satolli Carpet & Floor Covering
Warren, Ohio

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