When home owners purchase new window treatments, they're obviously in a redecorating frame of mind. A simple mention that wall coverings can be the finishing touch to a new room can peak their interest. Add to that finishing-touch benefit the fact that today's time-poor customers can save time and energy by shopping at one store, and you're offering a true value to those customers.
Thanks to organizations like the Color Marketing Group (CMG), manufacturers now are making the consumer's decorating job a lot easier by coordinating the colors they use in their products. But, in order for increased sales to happen, customers must understand and appreciate the value you offer them.
It may seem impossible to communicate that value, but it's really just a matter of common sense.
Start with your sales associates, as they are a critical component of the sales process. Are they comfortable talking about wall coverings? Do they have the knowledge they need to answer customers' questions about wall coverings? Are they familiar with the various types of wall coverings? What further training do they need?
As we all know, if a sales force isn't comfortable selling something, it won't sell. If your staff needs more knowledge, the account executive from your wall coverings supplier can be a valuable resource.
Then, make sure your sales associates have the support they need. Start with effective displays. After all, if customers don't know wall coverings are available in your store, how are they supposed to even consider buying them? Whenever you present a window treatment, display a coordinating wallpaper and border with it. Not only will the display be more complete, but it will quickly show customers the coordinating possibilities you can offer.
Another way you can support your sales associates in cross-selling wall coverings -- and let your customers know you sell wall coverings -- is to advertise them. You don't have to create a whole new advertising campaign. Nor do wall coverings have to be the focus of the ad. Nor do they have to be on sale. Just simply tell people you offer more than one way to spruce up a home by mentioning or showing wall coverings in all your advertisements.
You may also want to hold wallpaper hanging clinics for your customers. Seabrook's account executives conduct these clinics for their retailer customers throughout the country. Publicizing the clinic will communicate the fact that you sell wall coverings and that you have expertise to offer the home owner.
It's also a good idea to have a referral list of reputable wall covering hangers available for customers. Many of today's customers are "buy-it-yourselfers" who enjoy choosing a wall covering, but want someone else to hang it.
If appropriate, you may want to stock some wall coverings -- rather than just offering customers collection books from which to choose -- to satisfy today's customers' need for instant gratification. Ask your account executive for suggestions of wall coverings that are good stocking items. You also may want to consider stocking some of the tools and accessories necessary to hang wall coverings, which again will help establish your store as the one-stop home decorating source.
Last, but not least, you might want to consider your store layout. Make sure the floor plan is logical and that you have adequate lighting and space for customers to coordinate their rooms.
The opportunity is already there for incremental sales from the cross-selling of wall coverings. You just have to use some simple common sense and do some careful planning to grab it.
James H. Allen is corporate sales director for Seabrook Wallcoverings, Inc., Memphis, TN, (800) 238-9152. Seabrook is a wholesale distrubutor of wall coverings and fabrics.