Showroom Standout: JP Flooring’s new, professionally designed showroom offers an elevated shopping experience - July 2020

By Jessica Chevalier

Last year, JP Flooring Design Center of Cincinnati, Ohio set out to elevate the floorcovering shopping experience, partnering with White Design Studio to create a showroom more akin to a high-end boutique than a typical flooring retail space.

JP Flooring and White Design Studio have a long-standing relationship. This is the third showroom that the organizations have collaborated on, and in fact, the partnership goes beyond simply designing how the almost 20,000-square-foot space will look to collaborating on branding and retail strategy. To start the project, the team considered, “How do we merchandise properly, get [the consumer] to a decision more quickly, and create an environment where people want to come in and shop,” explains Phil Shrimper, president of JP Flooring.

Achieving the clean look isn’t just a factor of design but a multi-step process that includes the minimization or elimination of supplier branding and the culling of SKUs. The overall approach in the endeavor is to craft a curated offering in a clean setting, thereby destressing the shopping experience for the buyer and eliminating the crippling “paradox of choice” created by cluttered showrooms jam-packed with loads of look-alike flooring samples.

Says Peter White of White Design Studio, “The three JP showrooms we have designed have gotten progressively cleaner and less cluttered. It takes discipline to cut down the offering. Supplier sales reps will pollute the space if you let them, so that has to be constantly policed, or it becomes chaos.” In fact, JP Flooring makes it clear to its product reps that anything placed on the showroom floor without authorization will be put in the trash.

Ultimately, Shrimper sought to eliminate duplicate or similar SKUs and offer samples of the selected products in large formats so that consumers can get a real feel for how they will look installed. In some cases, this means the reduction of manufacturer branding and racks that are minimalistic. In others, it means working with the manufacturer to create custom samples of the product that comply with the JP Flooring sample format. For example, large hardwood samples are displayed in custom-designed fixtures that allow the samples to stand out; White describes it as “the way hardwood should be shown.” And overall, the showroom environment is kept quiet to put the product front and center.

As is the case in many flooring stores, samples are highlighted on the floor but with a refined twist. The bulk of the showroom features a grey-toned LVT plank, and in the hardwood area, a hickory hardwood is used. Multi-product sampling is confined to the tile area, where three SKUs in corresponding colorways are installed. Using fewer samples and in similar palettes minimizes the quilt-like effect that some sample installations suffer, to a much more high-design result.

Of course, lighting plays an important role in every retail space but especially in locations selling fashion products. White was careful to select lighting with high CRI (color rendering index) value and the right color temperature to provide the best environment for consumers to consider product sample color.

Minimizing supplier branding across the space puts the JP Flooring brand front and center, and that effort is reinforced in the entry to the space, which features a large mosaic of the JP Flooring logo created with the flooring materials that the company sells. In theme, White Design Studio tweaked the logo-which it created around 1995-to a cleaner rendition but kept it close enough to the original to capitalize on consumer awareness.

Operational strategies also come into play. For example, JP has a stock of product samples that it keeps back-of-house. These can be checked out, like a library book, for consumers to take home, leaving the showroom samples where they belong-in the showroom.

Overall, says White, “We didn’t turn up the volume in the space any more than we had to. There is a little flash at the desk, but everything else is neutral. If everything is talking, nothing is. If you are to attract the consumer’s eye to what they are interested in, everything else has to be very quiet.”

In fact, prior to the onset of the COVID-19 pandemic and subsequent quarantine, JP Flooring’s retail business was up 20% year over year.

JP Flooring’s remodel extends from the showroom into the back-of-house employee spaces, and with this space, Shrimper’s goal is to keep its team engaged and happy. The spacious breakroom features attractive finishes and the words “Be awesome” in large script across a curved wall. A large messaging screen shares pertinent information and Google reviews as well as highlighting team birthday and anniversary dates. In addition, Shrimper hired a chef to come in several days a week to cook lunch for his entire staff.

Copyright 2020 Floor Focus 

Related Topics:Carpet and Rug Institute