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Domo Eyes French and British Contract Markets

March 24, 2004

ZELE, Belgium - Domo, the Belgian-based manufacturer of chemicals, polymers, fibers, yarns and floor coverings, is aggressively pursuing a greater share of the French and British hospitality industries.

Johan Vroman, a Domo contract product manager, indicated that the company wants to boost customization as a means of garnering a larger market share.

You can expect us to target mainly...the hospitality segment, he said. These newly developed products will...be tested extensively by established third parties...and will only be put to market when they live up to our newly developed Domo Quality Certificate.

Domo is also relying on its new solution-dyed carpets to strengthen their contract business. The carpets boast 100 percent color equality, are easy to clean and are resistant to water and bleach.

Domo not only wants to sell as many square meters as it possibly can, but it wants to be a problem solver, Vroman said. To score in the project market, we must act as project advisers and offer solutions to the customer.

The Domo contract collection comprises five product groups: Traffic, highly-durable, tufted solution-dyed polyamide loop piles; Fashion, Antron base cloth boasting printed designs suited to boutiques, banks and offices; Velouretta, multicolor designs printed on hard-wearing PABCF three-color velour base cloth; Classic Line, classical and modern crossover cut velars in polyamide, and Galaria, heat-set Saxons and frizzes in polyamide.

Domo also recently introduced Texlifter carpet backing - a glueless adhesive - to the contract market. Vroman said Texlifter is economical, makes carpets virtually odor free, is environmentally friendly and easy to remove.

Vroman attributed Domos success in the contract business to an understanding of the differences between the residential and contract markets. He said one of the main differences is that contract products must meet high fire-resistance and safety standards that residential markets dont require. Another difference is the role emotion plays in each market.

I quote world-famous Belgian designer, Axel Enthoven, to clarify what I mean. According to Enthoven, residential carpets are 90 percent about emotion and only 10 percent about ratio. For contract carpet its just the other way round, something only very few commercial people understand, Vroman said.

Vroman said Domo has cultivated the right mix of bigwig and lesser customers, and has tailored its marketing strategy to each.

You can only approach the contract market right if you dont squeeze out the last ten Eurocent out of a deal, but you offer the right marketing story for every product, Vroman said. You must never forget you cannot deal with a small business in the same way as you do with very big customers.

What most salespeople tend to forget is that the most interesting part of the contract is not about the projects where thousands of square metres are delivered to one party, but that 70 percent of the turnover in contract is made by projects that average only 300 square meters. This illustrates how important professional trade is, not in the least because this type of customer also brings along higher margins. Mind you, Im not saying here we must forget all about the major projects - quite the contrary. The art is really in finding the right mix between the two, something that the Domo group prioritizes.

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