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Armstrong seeks to ‘Elevate’ sales

Main Street program offers product, sales tools, training

January 16/23, 2017: Volume 31, Number 16

By Reginald Tucker

 Screen Shot 2017-01-16 at 12.09.51 PMEarly adopters of Armstrong’s Elevate line of Main Street-driven products (FCNews, Nov. 21/28, 2016) are hopeful it will translate into more business opportunities and, thus, additional sales. The program not only offers a diverse product assortment that draws from the company’s extensive residential and commercial portfolio, but it is also heavily supported by training assistance and certification opportunities as well as sales tools and merchandising systems.

“Elevate offers retailers a distinct advantage in driving store traffic and maximizing the in-store experience and enabling the sell through in their markets through an aligned connection with Armstrong,” said Tom Cole, senior manager, specialty retail strategy and channel marketing. “It starts with key differentiators from Armstrong Flooring. The first one is new products and industry-first innovation and design. We really talk through that story and have designed specific products for specialty retail they won’t find in other channels.”

A key part of the Elevate program, according to Cole, is the ability to gauge client interest and, by extension, lead generation. “We have put together promotions throughout the year to support the retailers’ efforts, be it local advertising or national consumer ads. A big piece of that is delivering the leads and increasing the conversion rate of qualified leads. It’s about offering support to the Elevate retailer to increase his brand visibility.”

It’s a big draw for retailers like Barry Macentire, owner and CEO of Georgia-based Dalton Wholesale. “The best thing about it is the lead generation. We get leads every week, we get reporting on it and Armstrong does advertising on our behalf to get customers into the store.”

Another benefit of the Elevate program is its flexibility, particularly as it pertains to available options in merchandising Main Street commercial products on the showroom floor. “It’s not a cookie cutter program,” Cole said. “We have small, medium and large displays, and we put together marketing programs for the retailer based on his needs. It’s completely customized.”

For dealers who might be new to the Main Street market or perhaps looking to further develop their commercial business, Armstrong provides guidance and training. The company offers what it calls a “best practices playbook” based on the experiences retailers have developed over the course of the first year of the Elevate program’s existence. “The best practices playbook really helps the store owner get into the Main Street business by showing them what has worked for other dealers who have been successful,” Cole explained.

It’s a helpful tool for retailers like South Carolina-based Greer Flooring, where Tim Reynolds, general manager, is looking to increase his share of sales generated by Main Street clients. “The program works, and the folks at Armstrong have been very helpful by providing the customer service and support that we need,” he said. “We see the potential in developing our commercial customer base, and we’re hopeful this program will help us grow.”

Armstrong, for its part, will continue working closely with dealers to help them along the Main Street market learning curve. “We’re really making it a priority to build a stronger connection with our customers across all channels,” Cole said. “We’re doing that by reorienting our culture at Armstrong to be more customer driven and building the voice of the customer in all aspects of our business. We understand that building strong channel partnerships by helping our customers grow their sales and profits is critical to our success.”