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Sales are down for Carpetright - but could a new Facebook approach help?

What’s on the floor in your living room?  Kids’ toys?  The dog?  A few magazines?  Last week’s newspaper?  A rug maybe.

What about underneath that?  Carpet, laminate, slate or tile?

If it’s a slightly threadbare carpet, then you’re at the top of Carpetright’s hit-list – they want your attention, and your money.

The latest figures show sales for the carpet retailer fell 5.2% in the last quarter and they’re in trouble.

And yet, if you Google ‘shagpile carpet’ guess who’s on page one?  Carpetright.  They’re at the top with their pay-per-click ad, and they get another listing halfway down in the organic search results.

So it’s not as if their site isn’t optimised.  It’s not that their product is rubbish, it’s not expensive – in fact they’ve got 60% off at the moment (when haven’t they?).  Sales promotions are one way to drive web traffic and foot fall to the store, but are they enough?

Enter social media.

Carpetright’s Facebook page has 1,019 likes at time of publishing.  It was founded in January 2010 and their second ever post reads:

We’d love to get more followers and Facebook fans so we can keep you update with everything going on here at Carpetright.

And that’s the problem.

Telling me what’s happening with Carpetright isn’t why I’d visit their Facebook page – I’d want:

  • tips on getting red wine out of a cream rug
  • interior design ideas
  • feature fireplaces
  • collections of unusual wallpapers
  • how-to tile a bathroom
  • discussions around grumpy dinner guests
  • ideas for indoor kids’ games
  • 10 of the best floor lamps
  • a behind-the-scenes look at the business
  • information on the latest trends in design
  • kitchen storage ideas
  • how to make a statement with colour
  • exclusive offers that only us Facebook fans get
  • a video on protecting your laminate floor
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John Lewis's Facebook page is engaging, personable, friendly and interesting

You get the idea.

The carpet retailer has already closed 11 shops this year, and their chief executive sees “no respite from the challenging environment over the next year”.

Could social media save the day?  I think it could help if they took a different approach.

1.  Look out, not in.

2.  Picture your customer, imagine their problems, their lives, their worries.

3.  Then talk to them.  Like a person.  Not a brochure.

4.  And be authentic.

“40% of Facebook users follow a brand and 15% of those fans intend to make a purchase from that brand within 60 days,” says professor Scott Galloway of L2 ThinkThank.

1,019 likes for Carpetright in 22 months isn’t great but according to Professor Galloway’s figures, 152 of them may be looking for new floor coverings, and that’s got to be worth a shot.

Look at Anthropologie’s Facebook page, or Life is Good, or John Lewis for ideas on how retailers can use the social network with great effect, then hope Carpetwrong’s facebook page becomes Carpetright.

What do you think?  Share your creative ideas in the comments below.

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