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Take time to promote your line

Thomas LesterThomas Lester
Stores that have the best fortune selling rugs are the ones that take the time to effectively promote them.
     While that's not exactly groundbreaking stuff, oftentimes the truth is right in front of you if you're willing to find it.
     There are a number of ways to market rugs in-store and online, each of which can result in better sales and a more complete décor story for those retailers prepared to take it seriously.
     From creative displays that include racks, gallery displays and vignettes (and of course, a well educated sales staff), the effort to showcase rugs in the showroom has paid dividends for a number of retailers.
     Rug racks and vignettes are tried and true methods for moving rugs. More and more vendors have taken to handles and other creative ways to maximize display space in increasingly crowded showrooms.
     While showcasing its new wholesale rug offerings at High Point, Moe's Home Collection featured rugs all over the walls entering the showroom. The Vancouver, B.C.-based company takes a unique approach to rugs in its retail operations as well, displaying them on glass to create an art gallery effect, which makes the rugs the stars of the showroom.
     Social media is also a great place to promote rugs, and few do it as well as west coast retailer NW Rugs. Over a number of different channels, the retailer showcases rooms with attractive rugs on floors and on walls. It sometimes selects a mostly furnished room without a rug and lets users select their favorite from among three or four complementary choices.
     "Think of social media as adding, and opening wide, another door for clients and customers to enter," said NW's Mark Hannan, who coordinates social media efforts of the retailer with stores in Oregon, California and Nevada. Hannan said that by virtue of its strong social media presence, NW Rugs can answer many frequently asked questions before consumers darken the store's doorstep, which demystifies the rug purchasing process.
     In a recent Facebook post, NW Rugs compared rugs to shoes. I can't think of a more apt comparison; both can generally be found at or near floor level and both complete a look. The shoes offer the finishing touches to whatever you're wearing, and the right rug ties the room together like nothing else can.
     And effectively completing the look can mean the difference between a good sale and a great sale.
     Now for introductions. I'll be handling the rug column from now on for Furniture/Today. I want to be a good advocate for and a friend to the industry and I would love your input on what you see in the rug world, from trends to best practices and concerns. Feel free to drop me a line with whatever's on your mind at tlester@furnituretoday.com.

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