Most floor covering sales throughout the year are timed to holidays, seasons and special days like President’s Day, Labor Day, Memorial Day, Independence Day, Thanksgiving, Spring, Columbus Day, Halloween and others. These sales may include a price reduction, but I believe with pent up consumer demand for floor covering and the desire to freshen up her home, Mrs. Consumer is looking most importantly for exceptional service and design.
The best part of providing exceptional service is that this valuable ingredient can not be shopped by price. Service is the intangible in the sale and the source of those sought after business referrals.
Service can be defined in many different ways. Consider these components when outlining your store’s services: expert interior designers; professionally trained installers; trained sales professionals; samples for take-home viewing; and free room measurement.
Your customer is looking for an update to her home’s flooring that she can be proud of and show-off to other family members and neighbors. All floor covering stores - big box and specialty retailers - offer the customer beautiful products for her home, from newly styled green carpet products, to loose lay resilient floors, environmentally conscious hardwood floors, to luxury vinyl tile, porcelain, stone and ceramic tile, cork floors, laminate floors and area rugs.
What continues to set specialty retailers apart from the big boxes is the broader line of product offerings in all product categories combined with professionalism on the sales floor, including a staff design professional and installers trained to install the selected product perfectly.
Specialty flooring stores will not be able to out-market the big boxes, but the service and design components definitely provide an advantage. And, in-house credit instruments are returning to the flooring industry. The good news: credit availability for consumers should increase the average ticket flooring sale.
Also, you don’t have to include free or low-price installation or cushion in the sale, like the big boxes. Present your installer’s expertise and advanced training when explaining the cost of installation and the materials necessary to complete the job. Your customer wants her floor correctly installed. And, don’t forgo using the correct underlayment and specified adhesives outlined by the flooring products manufacturer to keep the warranty in-force.
The expertise of your installers sets your store apart from others in your town. Make sure to present the training and professional affiliations your installers and other team members have earned through their continuing education when discussing your company’s expertise. All of these services enhance your standing with your customer to make the sale.
Lastly, but most importantly, Mrs. Consumer should always be shown value-added enhancements of flooring in the desired product categories at various price points. Research has shown that she will definitely spend more to get a higher quality product with added features. You need to explain the benefits of the higher priced product. Make service and design integral components of your floor covering sale rather than price. The cornerstones of service and design allow all retailers the opportunity to expand profitability.