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Tips for Rug Retailers and Dealers: A Response


In an article dated November 22, 2008, Lissa Wyman mentioned the need for Rug Retailers to "Diversify or die!" OUCH!

Is it really as simple as presenting a "mixture of unique and fashionable products in order to get customers into the stores" as Wyman states?  Comparison drawn to what Rug & Home of Ashville NC is doing, and what others should be doing according to Wyman, is less than feasible for most.  Rug and Home is far beyond what the average retailer is capable of emulating. 

The majority of rug retailers in crisis will not necessarily have the space or capital to do so.  The option suggested is really not that easy.  Consignments can be a difficult, long term obligation, and true "diversification" can take many, many years.   For some retailers to "diversify" could be the very downfall of the company.

So what are some good suggestions?  We have three main categories seen below which we hope Rug Retailers carefully consider:  They are actually easier than throwing around money.

 

Appeal to customer needs: 

I.  Make sure your information is correct, and you are properly positioned in the local market. 

II.  Encourage decorating in a conscious way.  Remember, your product comes from a renewable resource.

III.  Help "savers" save their money

 

Here are some quick tips from rugrag.com:


Are you as a Rug Retailer Properly Positioned in your Local Market?

1: If you don't have a website, get in the game!

2: Investigate free advertising on the internet through Google, Yahoo, and other Local listings!

a.  Google Listings.  For example, take a look at listings in Los Angeles.  The basic way to check if you're there is type in "rugs your city your state."  Not in it?  Set yourself up.  There's nothing better than free local listings on minimal time investment.  Add yourself to by following tips in this article.  Or, go directly to the google page to get started here.

b.  Make sure your website is optimized.  One easy thing to do is make sure you domain name is paid in advance for at least 2 years.  It is said that Google may add some value to websites which demonstrate a long term commitment to the internet population.

c.  Consider applying for Yahoo directory.  In play your cards right, you may be eligible for the first year as a free listing.  Otherwise, there may be a yearly fee, which could very well be a worthwhile investigating.

d.  Check out the local hot spots.  Certain areas have hot local business listings to get the word out.  In Los Angeles, the listing we've seen is Yelp.com

If you are a seller/retailer of oriental rugs looking to get ahead in the game, contact us for additional SEO consultation.


Consider the Trends:  

1. People are health conscious, give them the FACTS! 

hand tufted rugs can fall apart, the can't easily be cleaned, they have no "legacy", no resale value, and they can sometimes smell....  They can sometimes smell REALLY bad.   They're heavy to transport, and have a significantly shorter lifespan than a hand knotted rug. What does this mean?  A loose example:  Let say the average Oriental Rug has a lifespan of 40-60 years, and the average hand tufted rug has an age of 5-8 years if it survives its first cleaning.  You're looking at 6 hand tufted rugs for each hand knotted rug purchased. That's 6x more transportation, 6x more junk in a landfill, 6x more projected cost...  Being wasteful is out, never mind the odors which sometimes emanate from these rugs (which many buyers complain of)  associated with these rugs too.  Same goes for synthetic rugs.... Compounds used in production of synthetic rug fiber may contribute to harmful VOC's, potentially an in home toxin level up to five times more hazardous than the air outside a home as estimated by the EPA.  

How does that translate into a sale?  Give a projected cost:  6 (replacement ratio of hand tufted to hand knotted) x $400 (willing replacement expense per 10 years) = $2,400.  We're not suggesting you sell a $2,400 rug to a customer with a $400 budgetHowever, if you provide factual information to buyers, they will have a better understanding of their purchasing options and perhaps make a more informed purchasing decision.  Therefore, the buyer has closer to "perfect information" which may increase the odds of investing in a higher grade rug with more "certain information."  Finally, the point of low impact on the environment is worthy of mention.  Although it may be an increased up front cost, the rug will pay for itself over the course of a projected lifetime. Additionally, Oriental Rugs are created with durable, long lasting renewable resources.  These are the fair claims to make!

2. Rising Energy Costs : Green is in and excess is out.  Having a large area rug on top of hardwood floors and marble can help reduce energy costs as the room will retain more heat.  Additionally, a big problem with energy costs is the constant on and off triggering.  A homeowner with uncovered floors will invariably make more trips to adjust thermostat, or overcompensate for cold temp.  Additionally, the perceived warmth of actually having an awesome wool rug on the floor is a great way to keep toasty.  Why make all these points?  WOOL is not only one of the best insulators, but may also be at a higher price point than the synthetic counterpart. 

 

Savers can be spenders

1. appraisal, Cleaning and Repair : Let's say a customer comes in looking for a very inexpensive machine made rug. If you haven't already told them about the info above...

Get information!  If they're replacing a dirty old rug, ask them to send a digital image at a later date.  If the rug does not appear to be the "cream of the crop," offer suggestions!  A lot of unexpected sales happen on eBay and Craigslist.  Provide good keyword tips, perhaps background in

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