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A perspective on shiny floors

Posted by Tandy Coleman on 2019/04/18 11:41 AM
Tandy Coleman
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On a warm Saturday morning, I head off to my local shopping mall with my daughters.  My eldest daughter, about to start her first corporate job needs a corporate wardrobe. My younger daughter is moving to a rainy, windy city and wants to bump up the ‘waterproof section’ of her wardrobe. I would like a new pair of work shoes and some winter jackets.

Shiny floorsFast forward three hours and we all have aching feet and legs, are grumpy, tired and suffering from headaches.  We head home to our comfortable, soothing couches.

On reflection (whilst lying on the couch), I just have to ask…

Having worked in the flooring industry for over 20 years (which means I have been exposed to a vast array of flooring options), I pose the following questions to our retailers:

Why do you insist on using shiny, light-coloured ceramic tiles in so many of your mall walkways and stores?

I ask this because:

  • They are slippery, which makes it harder for me to walk comfortably.  My legs and ankles have to work harder, they get tired and by the end of my shopping spree they are aching.  I am NOT in a rush to come back.
  • They are noisy.  Wheeling my trolley on these noisy floors or listening to the ‘clip-clop’ of other people’s shoes eventually makes me feel like I am in a noise-polluted environment.  Where is the stylish, quiet environment more likely to make me purchase beautiful things?
  • If the floors have been cleaned to the point of being ‘shiny’ or are white and catch the light, the constant glare and reflection bounces off my eyes and makes me feel visually uncomfortable.   My muscles are constantly tense as my brain warns me that I could slip and fall on this shiny surface. My eyes and body tire quickly and don’t want to keep searching for potential treasures to add to my home or wardrobe.
  • These floors chip easily and dirty grouting looks so unsightly.

In a nutshell, by the end of my shopping spree (which I incidentally cut short and didn’t buy as much as I could have) my legs, ankles and eyes are tired. I want to go home, take off my shoes, lie on my couch and shop online!

It seems I am not alone in my reflections.  We conducted a non-branded ‘for-interest-only’ survey on over 100 shoppers in South Africa.

These three results stood out for me:

  1. 88% of shoppers take note of the floors in a shopping mall or individual retail store.

  2. Hygiene, design and slip-resistance are the most desired attributes of these floors.

  3. 66% of shoppers opted for a matte surface whilst less than 10% opted for a shiny surface.  The remaining 24% did not have a preference.


For optimum shopping experiences which translates into increased revenue, it might be time for our retailers to start considering what shoppers deem important.  There are so many floor coverings on the market that are guaranteed to tick the box.

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