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By Suzanne Winn, Lifestyle Trending Expert

As a retailer living in California or Kentucky, it’s imperative to our survival as a species to get the biggest bang for your buck out of your showroom floor on a per square foot basis.

So if you’re brutally honest, in the bitter cold light of day it’s a somewhat startling feeling to walk into your showroom one day and realize…oh my God, I have 57 solid color cut piles (insert hardwood, laminate, or tile) – you feel your heart start to beat a little faster, your pulse quickens… you’re determined to figure it out – change things up and make every square foot count.

That’s when I realized how much my showroom floor was pretty much like my closet.  Yes, my closet.  I had a ton of super cute viable things, however over time they were shoved in weird places because I had way too much stuff.  Quite frankly, there were a bunch of things I hadn’t even looked at, touched, or worn for well over a year.

So here’s the quick, down & dirty guide to breaking down your showroom floor…like a closet.  Warning – this is a painful, soul wrenching exercise.

1).  Print a sales report going back the last 12-16 months per vendor, style, and transaction amount.

 2).  Go product by product on your showroom floor – round up the dollar amount and total number of transactions per product. (I’m old-school….so I actually use Post-it notes).  Put Dollar amount on the left side & mark number of transactions on the right.  I like to do this because it gives me a visual overview of what’s selling and what’s not, and specifically where they are placed on the showroom floor.  In addition to temporarily placing the Post-it notes on the specific product I also grid the showroom floor.  Make a notation if product is under a year old – it’s too new to factor in.

*You may need a drink at this point!*

3).  PURGE, PURGE, PURGE!!!  Does anyone really need 12 black t-shirts that are basically the same?  I think you get my point. Be prepared, your sales people will attempt to convince you that the very products that you are about to dispose of is absolutely their most favorite product in the world!!!! You now have a history to refer to.

4). Figure out what your “go to” is in every product category and historically what is selling and what isn’t.  Make sure each product category is represented.  For example, 5” wood is the new normal, 7″ and 8” should be your upgrade and well represented.

5).  Look to emerging product categories and trends. Raskin LVP/LVT is an excellent example of an innovative product line with some new and exciting looks (the linen fabric look for example).

6).  if your showroom is more commodity oriented, balance the scale in that direction but take care to include some specialty items for that customer as well.  The reverse being true for upper end designer showrooms.

The majority of the problems on the showroom floor begin when it becomes easier to simply add in new products then thoughtfully make a decision about what’s trending, what selling, what’s hot, and what’s not. The return on this investment of your time and effort whether in your showroom or your closet will pay off in dividends because hey, who doesn’t want to buy from an on point retailer with a well-appointed showroom?

About the Author:

Suzanne Winn and her husband Jim have successfully owned & operated Carpet Distributors of Southern California, serving retailers since 1981.  Suzanne Winn is a Lifestyle Trending expert with an emphasis in Flooring & Interior Design.  With 27 years in the industry, Suzanne has extensive experience in Wholesale, Retail, and Interior Design.  Suzanne recently signed on as the sole designer & technical specifier for an innovative new product collection with a major manufacturer, being launched in 2016!  Suzanne’s newest venture has been to partner with the leading Website Company in the Floor Covering Industry, Creating Your Space!  Together they have introduced a series of Lifestyle Trending Videos.  These one to two minute videos feature the hippest & hottest trends in all areas of home design – flooring and beyond!  Suzanne believes that today’s consumer wants to buy from someone who understands all aspects of designing a home, not just the floor.  Her Trending Videos offer cutting-edge ideas on beautiful flooring, design tips, re-purposing, and what’s trending RIGHT NOW in every room.  Customers love it!