Today’s post-pandemic consumer desires responsible, well-made products that support healthy home goals as they look to create a sanctuary inspired by the outdoor environment and redefine their interiors to accommodate new activities. The home is now a hub for business, learning, exercise, entertainment and recreation, and consumers are willing to invest in premium products that meet their demands for ultra-durable, easy-to-clean flooring that doesn’t compromise style and design. Simply put, today’s consumer wants it all. Fortunately, manufacturers are rising to the challenge with a plethora of flooring solutions for independent retailers.
One sizeable consumer demographic that retailers should pay attention to is parents, and that of both children and pets. Studies show pets drive many in-home purchasing decisions and with billions of dollars spent each year on these beloved family members alone, it is no wonder flooring manufacturers continue to up their game when it comes to offering carpet solutions. Recent advancements in manufacturing technology have given rise to a new wave of products positioned in the marketplace specifically for pets, providing consumers and retailers more confidence in their selection. These products are expertly engineered to address staining and soiling, easy cleanability, resistance to fading and other top concerns of pet parents.
Studies also show many consumers mistakenly assume carpets designed for durability don’t or can’t offer comfort or leading style. Consumers want beautiful floors but refuse to sacrifice the endurance they need to keep up with their active families and lifestyles. Independent retailers and sales associates must help shift this narrative and educate consumers about advancements in both performance and design to ensure such misconceptions don’t undermine the category. Soft surface merchandising systems should feature colours and patterns that draw consumers in and invite them to touch and feel the comfort that carpet provides. To tell the performance story, retail sales associates can lean on manufacturers’ websites and digital assets, often easily accessed through QR codes on in-store signage, product boxes and other literature, to highlight the specific perks of a particular product or collection. Carpet is unmatched in terms of the softness, comfort and sound reduction benefits it offers. Now more than ever, retailers can and should speak directly to how new technology makes these products ideal for pets and active families. The approach should focus on three Ps: personal, practical and planet.
Concentrating on making the message personal centres on design intent. These carpet products were designed intentionally for pets and the people cleaning up after them. The colours, patterns and construction were all carefully considered to keep carpet looking its best, despite the spills and messes made by fur babies. Fibre innovation has led to better stain resistance, including added protection against unsightly spots and blemishes, common cleaners, fading and even bleaching. Select fibres are specifically engineered to be resistant to pet hair, making them easy to vacuum and clean.
The practicality of these carpet products also makes them winners. Engineered for ultimate performance, many styles feature extended warranties to help consumers protect their investment. Stain and soil technologies along with carpet backing innovations keep spills and liquids on the surface, preventing them from seeping through to the pad and subfloor, which can cause odours and mildew. New fade-resistant technologies address enhanced cleaning regimens practiced by many consumers and end-users. With proper care and maintenance, these styles will easily outlast the playful early years of a pet’s life.
While pets and active households are the primary focus of these products, retailers and consumers can expect many lines to also offer a sustainability story. From raw material sourcing to care and maintenance, a variety of these products are designed to minimize impact on people and the planet. Some manufacturers also offer eco-friendly cleaners specifically formulated to protect both the beauty and integrity of the carpet.
Nina LoCicero is vice-president of marketing and digital commerce for Shaw’s residential division. She has more than 25 years of marketing experience, including business-to-consumer and business-to-business. Shaw’s portfolio is comprised of industry-leading brands like Anderson Tuftex, Coretec, Floorigami, Philadelphia Commercial and Shaw Floors.