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Area Rugs, Broadloom, Cut & Sew, E-Commerce, Retail

Alliance Flooring’s Online Portal Aims to Put Stores on Par with Big-Name Rug E-Tailers

Member floor covering retailers at Alliance Flooring’s 2024 convention pave the way for rug sales with its online Rug Shop.

RugNews.com Editors
image of entry lobby to Alliance 2024 Convention
Alliance Flooring's independent retailers converged in Florida to review the latest rug and carpet introductions, and
to learn more about the online Rug Shop.

ORLANDO, Fla. -- Flooring retailers have long struggled with how to be in the rug business without having to commit to so many racks of inventory. But the 2024 Alliance Flooring Convention, held earlier this month at Rosen Shingle Creek in Orlando proved that technology is paving the way for success in the rug category.

Indeed, technology has a way of leveling the playing field, and with its year-old direct to consumer website dubbed The Rug Shop, Alliance Flooring believes its members can now compete with the Wayfairs of the world.

First shown in 2023, the Rug Shop is widely available today as part of a technology bundle, providing flooring dealers with access to 120,000 rugs. About one-third of the 300-plus Alliance dealers are now using the program, with many more expected.

How The Rug Shop Feature Works

Through the online Rug Shop portal, users can shop for rugs and have them delivered to their homes.
Customers go to the home page of an Alliance Flooring dealer website and click the “shop all rugs” icon which directs them to a page offering everything from details on a spring rug sale to new introductions. Users can choose by rug color, size, style and price.

At the March 2024 conference, Carole Cross, director at Mobile Marketing, a Cyncly company, demonstrated how it works by choosing at random a flooring retailer and searching the dealer’s site. Cross chose Justina Blakeney X Loloi, a Loloi licensed product; there were 11 rugs in stock.

Users can also upload a photo of their room at home through Roomvo’s room visualization technology and select a rug to see how it looks before purchasing it.

Once purchased, the rug is shipped to the customer’s home. If not for being notified by email that a rug purchase was made, the retailer may not even be aware that a rug was sold by his store.

Some flooring retailers see this as the future of selling rugs, or at least complementing their existing way of selling rugs. A case in point is Claire McCoy, owner of Rugs, Rolls & More, Plaistow, New Hampshire. McCoy has been selling rugs for more than 40 years and stocks a large inventory. However, she also takes advantage of the e-commerce option, which, she said, “levels the playing field. Now I can compete with the Wayfairs of the world. It’s long overdue. Rugs are always a good business for us. You sell hard surface; you sell a rug.”

As an added feature, the Rug Shop pulls real-time inventory from all the major suppliers. After a hard surface sale is made, for example, an “automatic coupon” goes to the store where customers can go purchase the rug.

Wayne Whiteside, owner of Lexington Paint & Flooring, Lexington, South Carolina, has been successful at pairing hard surface and rugs. “We find them [consumers] that perfect hard surface style that they love; then they realize they need to add a rug,” Whiteside said. “We can also help them find that ideal carpet that would make a perfect rug. We can make almost any size rug out of it with our binding and serging options.”

Through the Rug Shop, Alliance retailers can offer name-brand rugs from the likes of Karastan, Loloi, Momeni, Nourison, Radici USA and Surya.

Nourison has the advantage of being a preferred vendor with the buying group. The company is off to a strong start in 2024 thanks to its e-commerce rug collections “which continue to plow through with sales,” according to Don Karlin, director of broadloom.

In addition to the online option, Nourison also offers dealers a standalone rug display of 5x7 rugs housed in a 16-unit box as well as 2x6 runners in a 25-unit box.

Don Karlin of Nourison (right) explains the rug offerings to Matt Becker of CarpetsPlus of Fairmont. Minnesota.

Nourison also showed washable rugs under the brand Grand by Nicole Curtis, who is a designer and host on HGTV and DIY networks. In fact, the founding of Ruggables, which launched its two-piece washable area rug system in 2010, helped created a whole new rug business, Karlin pointed out, saying “Our answer is Grand by Nicole Curtis, which has seen nice activity.”
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