Rugs are a hot category for furniture retailers and getting hotter. That's because area rugs add color and excitement to furniture store displays, present an opportunity for add-on sales using little or no extra floor space, and allow furniture retailers to present, along with other accessory items, a complete room package.
“Rugs are a really fast growing category,” notes Asha Chaudhary, President of Jaipur Rugs. She told Furniture World that the rug business is doing well for several reasons. “Distribution has expanded to include many different types of retailers, ranging from furniture stores with standard displays to beautiful home décor boutiques that curate product selection to their own needs. Obviously, the online segment has grown as well. I don’t think six or seven years ago any of us could have known that people would buy so many rugs online. This trend has continued and it’s still evolving. Retailers that understand the category and commit to it can do extremely well and make really good margins. Rugs are an accessory item that play a big role in completing the look of the home."
How To Do Well
Likewise, Jaipur's Asha Chaudhary has seen the transformative nature of commitment to the rug category. "What I’ve noticed that differentiates the best furniture retailers," she says, "is they have a huge assortment of product and they adopt a company-wide attitude that gives importance to rugs. It’s not the last category that comes to their minds. Stores that start with a mindset like this are generally a lot more successful. It helps them to stay focused on the price points where they can successfully compete, places where they can differentiate, and how they should merchandize the rugs on their floors.”
“Regarding measurement,” she says, “We have a retail customer that measures turns by each arm rack. They go through those racks every three to six months and identify rugs that don’t turn and replace them. In this regard they treat rugs like any other product category. Retailers should go into as much detail as they can. They might even plan how rugs are displayed to fine-tune the percentage of rugs carried by price point and by style category, traditional, transitional and contemporary. There are some retailers that do a good job in this regard, but most don’t go into that degree of detail.”
The Furniture Store Advantage
"A consumer in Home Depot,” confirms Jaipur's Asha Chaudhary, has to try to figure out how to match a rug and pillows they see with their sofa. Retailers, especially small retailers, as they compete with stores like Home Depot and online merchants, need to discover how to make their services a bit more personalized, their selection more curated, and the buying process a little bit easier.
“Every store needs a point of view. Furniture retailers have an opportunity to package furniture, rugs and accessories to make buying easy for customers. Buyers need to understand their stores, and seek out looks that will differentiate them from other competitors. In that sense it’s like buying any category of furnishings. Rugs have become much more of a fashionable category, and especially smaller furniture stores can successfully differentiate their displays with rugs because they follow current trends, and add a lot of style through the use of colors and patterns.
"Today everybody’s trying to do such a brilliant job," concludes Chaudhary. "That makes it difficult for a small retailer to differentiate itself without having that point of view. But once they figure it out, it becomes very easy to merchandize around that idea to create an experience that feels special for customers."
Rugs have a distinct graphic element to them that can update and add interest to retail displays. Photo credit: Jaipur.
Merchandising and display play a huge role, agrees Jaipur’s Asha Chaudhary. For instance, furniture stores tend to be most successful when they show rugs in as many vignettes as possible, not just in one or two areas. They support these displays with either a rug rack or, another display solution.” create a successful
Tagging & Signage
In vignettes as well, notes Jaipur’s Asha Chaudhary, "signage plays a huge role. The best stores make it easy for their customers to shop. Many stores place a rug in a vignette, but then it’s so hard to find out the price or any other information about that rug. This is a place where many retailers can improve. Good signage makes rugs more visible, easier for customers to get sizes, prices and to make up their minds.”