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  • Cecile Corral

Shapely rugs advanced with creative POS help

The area rug business is taking shape.

Yet, because consumers — and retailers — sometimes need help deciphering the various styles and sizes of shaped area and scatter rugs, suppliers have been creating a variety of POS materials and supports, ranging from hang tags to racks and display platforms, in an effort to nudge the business even further.

Vendors said they're looking to expand on coordinated program offerings and educate consumers at the point-of-sale. Retailers, too, benefit from merchandising supports that break away from more typical in-store sales aids, they contend. Creativity is at the core of their efforts.

"Shapes are great sellers," said Bill Storey, senior vp and general manager, Atlanta-based Karastan. At the recent Atlanta International Area Rug market, the upstairs area rug division of Mohawk Home created a showroom display highlighting the various shapes.

"We wanted to show retailers different ways to merchandise our shapes and scatters," Storey explained. "For example, we took a tall [multi-tiered] plant stand, removed the glass and rolled the rugs into it. Now you've got a compact area that shows your rugs creatively."

Another creative merchandising measure Karastan is taking is its new patented clips for rug racks. These clips attach a round or other shaped rug to a regular 5' x 8' or 8' x 11' size already hanging on a rack display and presents the two together as coordinates.

"We're just getting them into stores now, and we think this concept will really help the consumer see the product as it is," he said.

Another merchandising tool, Storey pointed out: slide one of the shaped rugs to the floor, under the rug racks.

Jonathan Witt, vp of marketing for Dalton, GA-based Sphinx by Oriental Weavers, has shared that same idea with his retail customers.

"We urge our retailers to lay them on the floor under the racks," he said. "We recognize that displaying these shapes is tough. So we give them ideas. But carrying the shapes gives retailers more credibility with customers and makes them look more serious about the category."

The shaped varieties are a serious portion of Sphinx's business, representing 12 percent of sales, Witt added.

Based on the success of its platform display for its 8-foot round rugs, Saddle Brook, NJ-based Nourison is getting ready to launch a new 8' x 10' display platform for its oblong rugs, Ed Vairo, director of creative marketing, said.

"These new platforms we created have helped us and our retailers enormously," Vairo added. "By merely showing pictures of our shaped rugs on the labels of the regular sizes, the consumer isn't really able to visualize the shaped rugs as clearly. But when you put the actual rug on the selling floor, it helps put the idea in that consumer's mind and helps close that sale."

Vairo said most of Nourison's department store and independent retail gallery customers are using the round platforms in their stores, "and they've all increased their volume by 10 percent to 15 percent."

Fort Lee, NJ-based Couristan is in the process of creating a new label for some of its more popular collections of power-loomed roll-runner rugs that shows photographs of the rug styles in all available sizes. The new label will be rolled out in April.

The label is attached to the back of on-display, roll-runner floor samples.

"We want to create an environment that provides consumers with complete decorating flexibility and one in which they can coordinate our roll-runners with area rugs and special shapes," said Larry Mahurter, director of advertising and sales promotion. "We want consumers to understand that if they have a roll-runner of ours down their staircase, but they also want the same style of rug as a round or square or octagon for their foyer, [then] we have it."

One of the inspirations for this new initiative is that, for Couristan, rounds and octagons have been the most popular of the shaped rugs historically, but lately more and more customers are also buying squares.

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