Nebraska Furniture Mart (NFM) unveiled the first-ever Anso Gallery in Omaha, Nebraska, on October 5, 2022. The showroom-within-a-showroom concept reenvisions the carpet-shopping experience for consumers.
“We partnered with Shaw about 15 months ago to create a new experience for our customers—one that simplifies the shopping experience for carpet, tells a cleaner story, builds confidence in the consumers’ minds,” said David Chambers, director of flooring, Nebraska Furniture Mart. “We are finally getting to see all of our hard work over the last 15 months come to life.”
Invista’s sale of the Stainmaster brand in 2021 left many retailers scrambling for an alternative go-to-market strategy for soft surface.
“That sale was a crisis in the industry for a lot of retailers but allowed us to view our showroom as a clean slate—to reimagine what we wanted to do,” Chambers said.
He said Shaw approached NFM to create an entirely new experience, and what began as a quick and simple idea, evolved into a grander vision. The collaboration was a natural fit: Shaw and NFM are both subsidiaries of Berkshire Hathaway. Chambers said he and his team traveled the country to see how other retailers were merchandising their showrooms.
“We knew we wanted to reduce the selection on our floor and we wanted to do it in a manner that provided us a little bit more inspiration—for that customer to get a different experience,” he said.
The new Anso Gallery now occupies half of the square footage in the carpet department at NFM's Omaha location, incorporating just shy of 100 styles. The Lasting Luxury brand, which merchandises options from several carpet manufacturers, fills the other half of the department. Lasting Luxury is exclusive to the National Floorcovering Alliance (NFA). Chambers was elected vice president of the NFA board of directors in September.
“The partnership and collaboration with NFM has been priceless,” said Teresa Tran, vice president of residential sales, Shaw Industries.
Tran walked Floor Trends through the new space, which features light and airy fixtures, a curated selection of product at "just the right height", and large panels that help consumers envision their new floors—a detail especially helpful for pattern goods. Vibrant rooms scenes tell the Pet Perfect story, which promotes features that resonate with consumers: style, cleanability and durability. In addition, 95% of the carpet merchandised is backed by the same warranty.
“The moment you walk in, the environment brings you in—it’s almost breathtaking,” Tran said. “It boils down to that consumer experience. We lead with style and design. Every product is artfully curated with very simple messaging.”
Chambers said he also wanted to bring a digital element into the space through Roomvo visualization technology. Sales associates help consumers visualize their new spaces through room renderings on large screens displayed on kiosks.
“I think we're one of the few brick-and-mortar retailers that have actually brought holistic visualization into the showroom and not just left it on the website,” Chambers said. “The goal is building that confidence even more in the consumer, reducing sample checkouts, and shortening the buying cycle. I'm a firm believer that visualization is the future.”
To promote the grand opening of the Anso Gallery, NFM advertised $200 gift cards to the first 20 customers who arrived at the Anso Gallery on October 5 and set up a measure. In addition, these consumers will receive installation at no charge for all Shaw products on the showroom floor.
“In the first five weeks, [we're] already hearing impressive results,” said Tim Baucom, CEO and president, Shaw Industries, who spoke at the opening. “Soft floor covering, for both of our companies, is a core category…We are investing in the future. We are making heavy investments to give ourselves the tools and capabilities to be that clear leader—in product and in thought.”
“For now, the gallery is a hero in Omaha, but it is our hope that it strengthens the relationship between our companies,” said Tony Boldt, CEO and president, NFM. “We look forward to the day when we can expand the Anso experience to our other regions."