Today, the carpet cushion industry offers consumers and commercial end users many products from which to choose. These underlayments come in varying configurations and have different performance attributes.
Unfortunately for the consumer, there is also a great deal of misinformation on the Internet, which can make selecting the correct product a daunting task.
Consumers look to specialty dealers and their retail sales associates (RSAs) to help them select the right carpet cushion to add comfort to their homes. Whenever a customer is purchasing broadloom, it is important for the RSA to introduce the various carpet cushion products into the conversation as part of the total selling story.
Traditionally, the majority of carpet cushion sold has been commodity, due in part to the fact that consumers are either not educated or not aware of all their options. And, more importantly, they are unaware of the many benefits a higher quality carpet cushion can bring them.
At Leggett & Platt, we wanted to gain a better understanding of what features and benefits were important to the consumer when purchasing carpet cushion. So, three years ago, the company hired an outside consulting firm whose forte is consumer behavioral research.
As a leading manufacturer of carpet cushion for over 50 years, we assumed we knew what was important to the consumer when it came to purchasing carpet cushion.
Guess what? The study proved us wrong.
The research revealed that warranties, density and remarkably price were not as important to the consumer as we, the carpet cushion manufacturers—and retailers—had assumed all these years.
Comfort and Durability
The study found that what’s most important to the consumer was comfort and durability. Simply put, today’s consumer views carpet as an extension of the furniture in her home.
This is where much time is spent enjoying games with the family, watching movies and playing with pets. Today’s consumer expects comfort in every aspect of her home and the floor is no different.
Over the years, manufacturers and retailers have used a cushion’s density as the primary selling characteristic of carpet cushion. Raw material was processed and converted into padding based on pounds and then sold based on the same metric.
As such warranties followed this selling convention, with better warranties being kept for the heavier—denser—products. Just like every other industry, the carpet cushion industry has evolved over the years and with it new technologies have came along. As a result we have become much more aware that durability can be an engineered feature today, thus making pounds an obsolete measurement much of the time.
As a result of the research we conducted, Leggett & Platt has refocused its marketing and selling strategy to be directed at answering what the consumer says she needs.
The consumer knows little about carpet, but even less when it comes to the correct cushion to go underneath it. The research confirmed that consumers, once they are made aware of the importance of the cushion, want a product that will provide the most comfort and features. In other words, a cushion that will make their homes more enjoyable.
The study showed that retailers who offer a premium selection as well as the opportunity to experience the cushion had a much greater success rate in selling these products than those who did not. With the potential increased profit margin for the retailer and additional features and benefits for the consumer, today’s selection of premium carpet cushion can provide a win-win opportunity for the retailer and the consumer.
As an example, in Leggett & Platt’s Advanced Comfort System cushion line, the company features three unique families of products designed to provide the consumer with exceptional performance. Microblend technology allows for a unique comfort and support underfoot, achieved through an innovative process that sizes particles to achieve the ultimate in consistency.
In addition, our Rubber XD technology offers a cushion with the industry’s only textured design configuration for the ultimate in comfort and durability. Made with synthetic rubber, it offers the consumer a very plush comfort underfoot. Duraplush technology provides what the company feels is the most comfortable cushion available today.
These products, like many others in the industry today, are manufactured from technologically advanced processes and provide exceptional comfort, which is ultimately what the consumer is looking for in her carpet cushion.
All three families of cushion feature Leggett & Platt’s Triple Protection, which includes a moisture barrier, an antimicrobial treatment and another protection unique to each family.
By offering the consumer an innovative cushion, we have not only disproven that density should be the deciding factor in selecting a carpet cushion, we are opening the consumer’s eyes to a whole new level of comfort and durability that will serve her family’s needs for years to come.