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Tech companies serve up digital solutions at TISE

March 4/11, 2019: Volume 34, Issue 20

By Lindsay Baillie

 

Flooring software systems were not the only digital innovations present at this year’s show. Several tech companies—Creating Your Space, Floor Force, Retail Lead Management and Podium, to name a few—introduced updates to programs designed to assist dealers with website development and management, lead generation and CRM.

Creating Your Space put the spotlight on its Visual AR collection, a package of tools allowing flooring dealers to sell multiple products from various suppliers and market them on their websites in a way that is simpler for the consumer.

“The new technology we have built in our system now allows the consumer to choose a product based on the color and style she wants and see it in a room or her own room,” Jay Flynn, vice president, explained. “The consumer can do that with several manufacturers’ products and it is all customized to the retailer’s store and the products that retailer carries.”

At the FloorForce space, updates to its growing product catalog were the focal point. It’s all about making it easier to manage sites. “Right now, if you search for hardwood, we show you all the hardwood available,” explained Todd Saunders, CEO of AdHawk, the company that recently acquired FloorForce. “What we want to be able to do is [predict] what hardwood or carpet the consumer is most likely to pick. Similar to Amazon’s recommended products, we’re coming out with our own based on what the retailer wants to sell and also what is creating the greatest conversion.”

In addition to updates with FloorForce, AdHawk has developed flooringstore.com, touted as one of the largest directories of flooring. “Our goal is to help get products in front of customers; this way consumers aren’t coming to the store to receive all of their education. We want to help them get all of their education online so that when they’re in the store they’re ready to buy.”

Other companies focused on the lead management aspect. To that end, Retail Lead Management increased its presence at this year’s show with its own booth. The goal, according to Jason Goldberg, the company’s creator who also serves as CEO of America’s Floor Source, was to get Retail Lead Management’s new system in front of flooring retailers to show them the possibilities.

“Most flooring retailers don’t manage their leads,” Goldberg told FCNews. “The average dealer manages his leads by pen and paper. If you were to ask the store owner how many leads he is managing, he would probably have no idea. Retail Lead Management allows the dealer and salesperson to track all of their leads, getting more conversion which makes the store more money.”

New updates to the Retail Lead Management system include an analytics package, which helps dealers quickly understand where their leads were captured. “We also just added a new calendar to our software,” Goldberg noted. “In the past we only had listing pages; now we have an actual calendar that allows dealers to see their employees’ tasks.”

In the realm of CRM systems, Podium showed TISE attendees a new tool that allows the company to take a retailer’s landline and turn it into a text-able number. As Luke Salisbury, senior account executive, explained: “This allows the sales reps to text conversations with their customer while that customer sees the landline as the number.”

With this tool, all of the employees are able to manage their conversations independently. What's more, the customer’s information is saved to the company’s database instead of an employee’s personal phone, which protects the retailer in case an employee leaves the business. “We also have a tool on the company’s website that says ‘Have a question? Text us here,’” Salisbury said. “The customer enters in her name and question, and instead of her having to stay on the website, this starts a text conversation.”

Podium also has new integrations with RFMS and QFloors. These new relationships help the company assist dealers with various CRM processes including collecting reviews. “In RFMS once they mark the job as finished an automated text message comes from Podium asking for a review,” Salisbury said.