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Metroflor seeks to ‘Engage’ consumers

New floating LVT employs Uniclic locking system

Norwalk, Conn.—Anyone who attended Surfaces couldn’t help but notice the onslaught of luxury vinyl tile products utilizing the increasingly popular locking systems. Ironically, many of the companies introducing these products were not resilient suppliers but rather laminate and/or wood manufacturers.

One of the few pure resilient suppliers that took the wraps off its new click LVT was Metroflor, which introduced Engage at a cocktail party honoring its top distributors. What separated Engage from the masses was while others introduced a product, Metroflor came to the table with a full program.

“We think this is the next natural evolution in floating LVT,” said Russ Rogg, president and CEO. “There is a place for click. If there is a need and our distributors want such a product, we want to be the company to supply it. You don’t want to be on the outside looking in.”

Possibly the biggest differentiator from other locking LVT products is the flexibility offered to distributors. With a total package of 27 SKUs, distributors have the opportunity to choose 20 they feel are most sellable in their markets. Specifically, they pick six of the eight available planks in the entry-level Essentials collection, eight of 10 in the premier Select Plank and six of nine in Select Tile.

“As long as we can stick with a net result of 20 SKUs, we can build brochures and collateral materials to support the line,” Rogg said. “No two distributors are required to have the exact same program.”

Aside from flexibility, Engage has a quality story others do not. It starts with the product’s 5mm profile. “We have not compromised on the thickness,” he said. “We have abandoned thinner specs and will differentiate between the two lines with other characteristics. This is a big advantage versus some of our competitors’ products. When you thin the core, you make the profile smaller and smaller, and it doesn’t have the required strength.”

Engage employs only virgin vinyl. According to Rogg, recycled materials can vary widely. “If you put recycled content in a vinyl core, you can never be assured of consistent locking strength. If it can inhibit performance, we will not put in recycled content just to say so.”

Quality is also illustrated in Engage’s fiberglass mesh layer within the core, an improvement from the shredded fiberglass particles from which Metroflor has migrated. Rogg said the fiberglass improves dimensional stability.

He also cited the Unilin locking system as a differentiator. “We, at the moment, are the only licensee granted the ability to use the Uniclic logo and associate it with our LVT products. It’s a testament to the confidence they have in our product.”

But at the end of the day, if a line is not styled right it will not sell. No problem here, Rogg said, referring to Essentials as a “broad appealing, entry-level product line.” Select Plank offers oaks in micro-beveled looks and embossed-in-register designs. Select Tile includes slate, concrete and honed stone or marble.

Engage will be merchandised in its own display, which is capable of housing 30 samples. Rogg said the goal is to place 4,000 by year’s end. More than 2,500 were sold before Surfaces. Why? “It begins by having the right product at the right price. Next, we have been able to penetrate the market by having the best distributor network. They are in the trenches. Third, trust. Our dealers trust us because we are putting our name on it, but they are also entrusting the distributor.”

In support of the launch, Metroflor has created a pair of videos. Commercial specifiers and homeowners who scan the QR codes printed on Engage literature can view a short video showcasing Engage’s features, benefits and aesthetic qualities.

The video presentations emphasize fast installation, ease of maintenance and performance, along with Engage’s style and design possibilities. Consumers scanning the QR code from the retail brochure will view a residential presentation while architects, designers and specifiers scanning the QR code on the commercial brochure will be directed to a commercially oriented presentation.

The videos on Metroflor’s new YouTube channel (youtube.com/Metroflor) will feature regularly updated content covering topics such as installation, care and interior design tips for flooring.