Creating the Ultimate Retail Shopping Experience

By Jim Augustus Armstrong

Flooring retailers spend time, energy and money getting a prospect to walk into their store, but often overlook the showroom itself. This is shortsighted. In an era of online shopping, your showroom can be a game-changer. It’s not just a place to display products; it’s where you connect with clients personally, demonstrate expertise and encourage them to envision their home transformed with new flooring.

Here’s how you can create a showroom that stands out from the competition and leaves a lasting impression on prospects and clients, inspiring them to buy from you again and again and, perhaps even more importantly, send referrals.

Curate your Selection
A common mistake in showroom design is overwhelming customers with hundreds of samples. Instead, focus on showcasing your best-selling products with a few popular options. You can learn a lesson from highly successful retailers that are exclusively shop-at-home and whose entire sample collection fits into a van.

Engage the Senses
To create a memorable atmosphere, engage your customers’ senses, particularly sound and smell.
A silent flooring showroom feels depressing and doesn’t excite people to buy. This is easily solved by playing music in the background.

Fragrances can shape customer perceptions. You want your showroom to smell inviting, causing your prospects to feel relaxed. For open houses, savvy realtors will bake cookies so the house smells like home. You can easily do the same by making these sweet treats, bread or pretzels in a convection oven. Set out the snacks for walk-ins to munch on while in-store.

Interactive Displays
Transform your showroom into an interactive space that creates differentiation and makes prospects feel empowered. Room visualizers like Roomvo allow customers to visualize flooring options in their own spaces. These tools provide a personalized experience and set you apart from the store down the street.

Sample Management
Keep your sample displays organized, neat and clean. Invest in high-quality sample boards and racks to present materials professionally. If you have room, create dedicated areas where customers can see flooring options in real-life settings like a kitchen, living room or bedroom.

Personalized Consultations
While technology enhances the showroom experience, humans still need to do the selling. Train your sales team to ask questions, actively listen, write down answers and offer professional recommendations. Hold weekly sales training sessions where your team can role-play the different stages of the sales process.

Showcase Testimonials
Feature testimonials from satisfied clients in your showroom. Dedicate a prominent area or wall where customers can read about positive experiences, as testimonials build trust and credibility. Also, set up monitors to showcase your most beautiful installations, along with clients talking about their experience working with you.

Create Inclusivity
Consider the needs of all your prospects. Carve out a space for comfortable seating, a television and mini-fridge stocked with sodas to cater to those who want to take a load off while their partner shops. Create a designated area with toys, games and entertainment for families with kids. Keep everyone satisfied during their visit by offering complimentary drinks and snacks, such as coffee, tea, bottled water and, of course, those cookies you baked in-store.

Jim Augustus Armstrong is founder and president of Flooring Success Systems, a company that provides floor dealers with marketing services and coaching to help them attract quality customers, close more sales, get higher margins and work the hours they choose. To obtain a free copy of Jim’s flooring industry report, Stop Leaving Millions on the Table, visit Jim can be reached at 530-790-6720 or [email protected].

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