December 18/25, 2017: Volume 32, Issue 14
By Ken Ryan
This special FCNews Retail Education series, sponsored by 3M, is designed to help specialty retailers build their business through proven merchandising and marketing strategies as well as general best practices.
There’s a reason many flooring dealers use the weeks leading up to Christmas to take a much-needed vacation—it’s because those 30-45 days between Thanksgiving and New Years are generally the slowest time of the year for business. To that end, most flooring retailers refrain from investing too much in advertising and hold off promotions until January.
As a general rule, Carpet One Floor & Home—the largest retail buying group—does not share information on past or future promotions because it does not want to disclose this information to competitors. However, the group’s members—individually—are free to come up with their own sales promotions, and some did this holiday season. Atlas Floors Carpet One in San Antonio, for example, is running a “12 Days of Christmas” promotion with a local radio station whereby the winner receives a $500 store gift card. “It definitely generates some excitement and is a fun way to lead into the holidays,” said Billy Mahone III, manager. “The winner actually sings about our company to the classic holiday tune on live air. This is our second year doing it. We weren’t sure how it would go the first year, but it turned out to be a lot of fun.”
Fellow San Antonio retailer, O’Krent’s Abbey Flooring, similarly held a “12 Days of Christmas Giveaway” with local TV station KSAT 12. Contestants entered through ksat.com, with the winner taking home a festive holiday rug from O’Krent’s. During the holidays, the retailer also launched a Pet Defense promotion offering 35% off of select styles of carpet.
In order to drive sales during what is typically a slow season, retailers are reaching into their promotional bag of tricks. At Annville, Pa.-based Allwein Carpet One Floor & Home, for instance, the retailer is offering discounts on rugs and remnants in a move to clear out inventory and make a few extra bucks in the process. “Around this time of the year I like to offer extra discounts on all in-stock products and products that can walk out the door within a few days,” said Lauren Allwein-Andrews, manager. “We have been running extra discounts on all in-stock area rugs in addition to special order rugs because they are a quick sell. Customers can instantly upgrade their décor and satisfy their instant gratification fix. The same is true for all in-stock remnants, bound rugs and anything else that we want to unload so we can get our inventory down before the end of the year.”
As the weather gets colder, according to Allwein-Andrews, the store sees an uptick in carpet sales. As such, it offers various sales on carpet because consumers are looking for a sweet deal this time of year.
Not all dealers see the holidays as a time to play off seasonal promotions. At Flooring America/Flooring Canada, which just finished a strong national promotion on two of its key proprietary brands (Innovia carpet and Downs hard surface) no December promotions are planned for its members. As Keith Spano, CEO, explained, “Most of our members use this time prior to conneXtion (our winter convention) to evaluate the products and programs on their showroom floors and make plans for new product introductions. This is also a good time for our members to evaluate retail trade-ups by category, local representation, stock items and vendor partnerships as we head into a new calendar year.”
Throughout the year
Crest Flooring in Allentown, Pa., is no stranger to year-round promotions to drive business. Starting Nov. 20 and running through most of December, the retailer is offering a 36-month, 0% and no-money-down offer on carpet and LVT. Customers can get new carpet in their entire upstairs for $99 a month based on 800 sq. ft. of carpet. As well, they can have LVT installed in their kitchen for only $30 a month for 36 months based on 110 sq. ft. of kitchen.
Rusmur Floors Carpet One Floor & Home, in Bridgeville, Pa., is offering customers $20 off carpet remnants on 12-foot x 9-foot and larger carpets. Customers are instructed to go to the dealer’s Facebook page, download the coupon and redeem it in-store for the savings.
Several other flooring dealers are offering similar deals. Flooring America of Ashburn, Va., is inviting customers to enter a sweepstakes for a chance to win a $1,000 gift card to REI (Recreational Equipment), an American retail and outdoor recreation services company that sells sporting goods, camping gear, travel equipment and clothing.