Tapi Carpets & Floors, a retailer offering a diverse range of carpets and floors, is rapidly expanding following its first store opening in Tooting, London. The innovative store takes on a new concept for displaying and supplying many types of flooring, including carpets of all colours and styles, vinyl, luxury vinyl tile, laminate and much more. There are plans for 30 Tapi Carpets & Floors stores to be open by December.
Developing the design aspects of the new build store were retail design consultants, cdw+partners. The design consultancy has been in business for 35 years working mainly with blue chip retailers, globally. cdw+partners are based in Brighton, working across 2D and 3D representation of retail brands including brand identity, brand communication, in-store communication, packaging and retail environments.
Premier Retail spoke to Ralph Scott, Managing Director of cdw+partners, to discover key facts on the developments. Ralph said:
“There are 15 Tapi stores now open. The first concept store in Tooting, South London opened its doors in May of this year. cdw+partners were involved in helping develop the retail business from the outset. The brief from CEO Martin Harris was to completely reinvent the way in which carpet and flooring is viewed and purchased.
“The marketplace hasn’t really moved forward like other retail sectors have, so carpet is generally still sold either in small shops on the high street as independents or in very big stores, crammed full of stock. It can be difficult to shop the product.”
A new build development, the store comprises a lot of merchandising equipment which is predominantly bespoke, including the lecterns that present the range of various carpets, designed by the cdw+partners team. The structure of Tapi Carpets & Floors was very lightly touched, designed with the addition of recycled materials adding a light and airy feel to the uncluttered store. Fibrous board material displaying a brick effect features inside, with cost effective LED lights and an exposed ceiling.
“Carpet is transformational in an environment, as all flooring is; it changes the way in which light is reflected around the space. We wanted to inspire people to think about those products early on in their decision making process and have more of a design focus to it. It was really about changing perceptions of service experience so it was very service-led. Helping people throughout that journey through really good communication and giving them more control over their decision making was key.”
Laid out on one ground level, Tapi Carpets & Floors underwent a process of creating a ‘customer journey’ including how customers enter and how they make their way through the store. Guests are greeted on entering the store by an ‘edutainment unit’ – offering an educational and entertaining experience for customers on how to decide which flooring to purchase, and the benefits of each.
This unit is interactive in a way that customers can test various key factors when choosing their flooring, such as sound absorption with different materials leading to better sound protection.
Tapi Carpets & Floors features two key areas: one is space for customers who like a relaxed lounge area where they are able to browse through products on iPads, offering further information on types of materials and tips etc. The second area is a lab which allows staff to demonstrate the different key benefits of an assortment of carpets. Tapi Carpets & Floors stocks a waterproof carpet for example, as well as various stain resistant products.
“With the stain resistant materials, staff members pour a bottle of red wine over the product and wash the wine out under the tap to show the customers its advantages. It’s the theatre and experimentation critical to the store that actually gets people inspired about what could be quite a mundane product story.
“We are very proud of Tapi. Projects vary, but when you are involved from the very outset of a new business with a close, collaborative relationship with the client, it’s great. It was a partnership process from day one, working closely with the client right the way through. We wanted a customer-focused brand concept that made a difference in the sector, and I believe we achieved that.”
Bensons Electrical specialise in fast-track electrical fit-out works for the retail sector. The company started life in 1959 as a family run, local business, but today operates as a 20+ nationwide operation capable of tackling projects which range in size and scope.
Past projects for Bensons Electrical have included Carpet Right Plc, NHS, Oakland Furniture, Gateshead Council, Furniture Village and Grace House Charity. In addition, Bensons Electrical provides services for Spar Shops nationwide and most recently has been involved with Tapi.
Neil Benson of Bensons Electrical, said:
“We were involved prior to Tapis’ founding, we worked with their design teams on the electrical and lighting concept. This included planning all of the lighting design and structure. We also sourced lighting manufacturers to provide a bespoke LED lighting theme throughout – this is unique to the Tapi brand. This is an exciting development for both us as a company and for our team to work on such a high profile project.”
“At Bensons Electrical we pride ourselves on innovation and development and look forward to seeing great results for the Tapi team – and to see the reaction from customers in these pioneering new stores.
“We are proud of our ability to listen carefully to what our customers require and then aim to give them the very best, innovative ideas. We will always strive to achieve the highest end result, at the most honest and fair prices, ensuring at all times an impeccable standard of work is always executed.”