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Guest column: Attend markets, make some ‘dough’

November 12/19, 2018: Volume 34, Issue 11 

By Lori Kisner

 

The economy is booming, new home starts are strong and consumers are investing in home renovations—all great news for the industry. Why is it, then, that retailers are still feeling the pinch? More importantly, how can they grow their businesses and bottom line?

Flooring stores aren’t impervious to the issues that occur in other specialty retail industries. Let’s face it—specialty retail is a competitive business with increased competition from big box stores, other retailers in the area and the Internet—not to mention emerging issues such as tariffs on some imports.

The business of flooring can be tricky. That said, it’s now more critical than ever for retailers to attend events to find solutions that will result in higher profits. Regional trade shows and conferences such as the Flooring Markets in Atlanta, Dallas and Biloxi, Miss., feature exhibitors that offer opportunities for retailers to increase their bottom line.

“Attending markets and other trade shows is so beneficial to our company and sales force,” said Denise Heath, partner with Heath Flooring Concepts in Dallas, Ga. “We see new products and market direction, which allows us to invest in ways that will be profitable in the short and long term. By attending, we see the design trends for our geographical region as well as on the national level, and we use that to guide our clients in making smart selections.”

For dealers like Heath, these shows also provide networking opportunities with other industry professionals. “This helps us gain further knowledge we can use to separate us from the competition,” she added. “Plus, many vendors also offer special market pricing, which provides us with substantial savings.”

Everybody wins
Exhibitors at the upcoming flooring markets in Atlanta, Dallas and Biloxi, Miss., have an arsenal of special incentives that are offered only to retailers who attend.

“We use the Southeast Flooring Market to showcase our 2019 product introductions and new merchandising programs,” said Matt Wadsworth, general manager at NGF Distributors. “We also spend time collaborating with retailers on ways to help improve business through education. Many of our vendor partners are in our booth and meet with our customers to discuss product and job-site solutions. All of this helps our customers’ bottom line by keeping up to date with what’s occurring with product development in flooring.”

Following are some of the primary reasons to attend regional markets:

  • Access to market specials and discount programs
  • Opportunities to compare and evaluate vendors
  • Birds-eye view of product design trends
  • Ability to learn the latest innovations
  • Networking opportunities with other retailers to share best practices and valuable, cost-saving strategies
  • Source closeout products and pre-tariff goods

The 2019 Market Maker events are as follows:

  • Southeast Flooring Market, Cobb Galleria Centre, Atlanta, Jan. 8-9
  • Southwest Flooring Market, Toyota Music Factory, Irving, Texas, Jan. 9-10
  • Mississippi Coast Flooring Market, MS Coast Convention Center, Biloxi, Miss., Feb. 14-15

For more information, visit, flooringmarkets.com.