Pami Bhullar, Invista's director of retail development, has shared his New Year's resolutions for floor covering professionals.

"Welcome to 2015; a year of hope, growth and prosperity in the flooring industry. I consider 2014 a year of stability and signs of sustainable growth in the industry. Based on my conversations with floor covering professionals throughout 2014, optimism appeared the highest and negativity has been moving towards positive attitudes."

According to Bhullar, 2013's trend of more buyers than shoppers continued in 2014. "With retail consolidation and some stores closing for the past five years, it’s obvious there is a pent-up demand, and all business from closed stores will have to go somewhere. No matter whose numbers you believe, most predict growth in the industry. Even with flat manufacturing due to retail consolidation, there can be significant growth at the retail level. I’m certain that specialty retail stores have an opportunity to grow in double digits, capture higher share of the market and sell better goods if they prepare themselves with training, marketing and new products. Yes, I said better goods. With all of the information at consumers’ fingertips, I believe they’re willing to pay more for the products and services that specifically suit their needs and give them the best bang for their buck."

To Bhullar, this means the success of retail sales associates (RSAs) may depend on their ability to understand consumers’ needs and deliver products and services that meet those needs. 

To be prepared for this New Year, Bhullar believes it is important that industry professionals understand today’s consumers use more than 12 sources of information to seek extensive knowledge before they even step into your store. "They come to verify what they learned and acquire a little bit more customized knowledge from you that fits their specific needs," he said. "There’s a lot of confusing information on the Internet. Are you and your RSAs researching the same? If you know what’s in your customer’s mind, you’ll make more effective and customized presentations in a short time. Remember, she doesn’t have the time to waste, and she’s done the shopping/research before coming to your store. You only have about 30 minutes to convert her to an ambassador. Your customer goes to your website before coming to you. She has a preference and affinity to certain brands. A brand makes her feel more comfortable in making a decision."

Bhullar closed with well wishes for the year. "May 2015 bring you higher success, greater health and happiness, more wealth and wisdom, global peace and prosperity, hope and stability, fulfillment and contentment, respect and love, inner strength and acceptance." 

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