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Retail education: Proven strategies to entice consumers

April 16/23, 2018: Volume 33, Issue 22

This special FCNews Retail Education series, sponsored by 3M, is designed to help specialty retailers identify different advertising channels and strategies to build their business.

 

By Lindsay Baillie

Flooring retailers are using a variety of advertising channels to catch the consumer’s attention. In fact, many retailers are taking a multifaceted approach, utilizing social, digital and traditional forms of advertising to get in front of the customer. While the ratio of digital to traditional varies from dealer to dealer, one thing is certain—ads are essential in building a business’ brand and image.

According to industry members, some of the most successful advertisements possess two key components: branding and a call to action.

“On the branding side, the ad needs to look professional,” said Mike Toste, president and CEO, Tri County Flooring America, Atwater, Calif. “When doing digital or print, the right font, color and pictures are equally as important as the offer itself. Same holds true for TV or radio ads—they need to be professional, inviting and represent your business.”

The call to action, according to Toste, should entice the customer with something of value—deep discounts, added benefits, etc. It should also urge the customer to perform an action such as click, call, visit, etc.

“Digital ads should always link to a landing page on your website,” Toste added. “Not only will [the customer] get more information on the promotion and your company, but she’ll get a chance to read all your rocking five-star reviews.”

In addition to having attention-grabbing content, successful ads are also assigned to the most appropriate mediums to reach the most customers. For Greg Miller, president, Henry’s Floor Covering, Greencastle, Pa., online target advertising has become the most consistent medium for connecting with potential customers.

“Our customers are connecting with us on our website and researching products before they consider coming into the store. TV has also been very good, especially when I advertise on devices only. Customers cannot skip past the commercials when watching shows on their computer, tablets, iPhone, etc.”

Even though each medium has a different value for each retailer, most industry members agree that advertising on a combination of platforms is the best way to catch a range of customers. “By incorporating multiple mediums, you enable your brand to speak to the consumer where they like to gather information,” said Frank Chiera, senior vice president, marketing and advertising, Flooring America/Flooring Canada. “We encourage our members to implement elements from each medium, giving them a 360-degree approach in their marketing efforts.”

Another major point to ad effectiveness is consistency. As industry members explain, it is crucial for retailers to get their message in front of current and future customers on a regular basis, regardless of the type of ad or promotion. “Top-of-mind awareness and a good reputation are key to any marketing strategy,” Toste said.

Successful dealers believe consistency runs hand-in-hand with another important factor: ad spend. Case in point is Ted Gregerson, president and owner, Ted’s Abbey Carpet & Floor, Anniston, Ala. He spends approximately 5% to 6% of net sales on advertising. “We do not advertise with the expectation that customers will come running through the doors as soon as they see or hear the ad. If we consistently advertise every month, we will see the benefits long term. When people end up needing flooring in the future, they will think of us at that point, because of seeing and hearing our name so often through the years.”

Tried and true

Thanks to the various platforms available, flooring dealers have the opportunity to design ads in all shapes and sizes. As part of Flooring America/Flooring Canada’s multifaceted approach, some of its members have had success launching ads that allow consumers to choose between both soft and hard flooring options. “We also find that partnerships with non-competitive brands have been successful in our ad campaigns because they provide another level of interest to the consumer,” Chiera explained.

Ted’s Abbey Carpet & Floor utilizes monthly sale themes alongside its advertising. “If you can give your sale a theme, it is easier for the customer to remember what the sale is,” Gregerson noted. “So, we came up with 12 different sale themes to run throughout the year.”

The business has also developed a “Free Installation on all Flooring” ad, which has created immediate customer response. “I realize many retailers scoff at the idea, thinking customers are too smart for the ad and will realize the installers are not working for free—I used to feel the same way,” Gregerson noted. “However, we tried it for one month about four years ago and the response was incredible. When customers come in asking for it, we give them the price and they do not even try to negotiate.”

In addition to this ad, he has also seen immediate response from long-term financing advertising—specifically 24 or 36 months options as well as “no interest for 12 months” ads.

Down in Venice, Fla., Montgomery’s CarpetsPlus Color Tile is seeing success with TV ads. Missy Montgomery, showroom manager, explained TV ads such as PetProtect catch the customer’s eye. What’s more, the stories associated with manufacturers’ products have garnered attention. “For us, locally, we use magnetic car signs and everyone from our installers to office personnel has them on their car,” she said. “Even some of the spouses drive around with them. We give them one free tank of gas a month and they don’t mind at all.”

As a result, the store receives comments from customers about how they see Montgomery’s CarpetsPlus Color Tile all over town. The retailer has also placed ads in its local newspaper, which has been a constant source of new clients, Montgomery explained.

Alpharetta, Ga.-based Bridgeport Carpets takes a unique approach to billboard advertising. “When the refund season has dwindled, and our owner wants to change things up, he has [the billboards] flipped upside down,” said Mary Ann Gore, office manager. “The calls definitely increase. Some callers are just certain that someone has pulled a prank on us. However, we have had people tell us that they were reminded about our company because the upside-down billboard caught their attention. We also get new customers who want to check us out due to their curiosity. It definitely prompts some humorous phone calls.”

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Lorberbaum: Optimism abounds in 2018

March 5/12, 2018: Volume 33, Issue 19

 

Long Beach, Calif.—To commemorate Abbey Carpet’s 60th anniversary convention, Jeff Lorberbaum, chairman and CEO of Mohawk Industries, was tapped as the keynote speaker. The selection was most appropriate given that Mohawk was an original supplier to the group.

Lorberbaum told the 500-plus members in attendance to focus on increasing their success, and his first piece of advice was to stop watching the news. “Every day we hear negative stories about how politicians are arguing, calling each other names. They’re focusing on [things] that have almost no impact on us. Guess what? Democracy is a really sloppy process. Don’t let all of the political noise distract you from the good things going on in our country. In every economic cycle there are good years and bad years. We’re currently not just in good years but in the right years. Despite the gloom and doom presented in the media, every day our economy is thriving. The Great Recession has become a distant memory. Our country is in the best shape it has been in for more than a decade. Ignore the bickering you hear in Washington. Private economists are talking about GDP growth of more than 3% this year—the first time we’ve seen that level of expansion in almost forever.”

Lorberbaum also believes the recently enacted tax cuts will add to the economy and boost our economic expansion. “With the new tax law, the average person will take home between $1,000 and $1,500 more in their monthly paycheck this year. No matter how they use the money and what you hear them talking about, all the money is going to benefit our economy. If they spend it they will create greater demand for goods and services. If they put it in the bank, the banks are going to loan more money. If they invest it in the stock market, then the people selling the stocks will have more money and spend it.

“Businesses—including yours—will pay much lower taxes this year. Some will invest it by expanding their businesses. Others will develop new products; some will put automation in; some are raising employee wages and benefits; and some are distributing dividends to their shareholders. It doesn’t matter. Consumers and businesses with more disposable income will create ripples through the economy and drive our growth through every sector, including our own.”

Lorberbaum then addressed the recently passed budget, which he said had to include $400 billion of additional spending this year on both parties’ priorities. “In the short term the higher government spending will further expand the economy and fuel consumption in every building category, including flooring.”

His optimism is shared by many. In fact, The Conference Board’s leading economic indicators have been rising for months and they’re forecasting strong future growth. “Consumer confidence is the highest it has been in two decades as people embrace a more positive view of our future—people just feel safer. They feel more economically secure. They’ve become comfortable making big purchases and taking on more debt. Robust job growth is forecast for all sectors this year as the work force expands and many people return back to the labor market who haven’t worked in years. Weekly unemployment claims are near record lows, which reinforces the growth we all expect. Finally, we’re actually seeing wage growth in the lower-paying jobs in our country, which is good. With inflation limited, the workers will use the higher wages to increase their purchases of everything.”

Lorberbaum turned to the stock market for more evidence of the optimism. “The stock market’s run over the past year has created significant wealth for individuals and inspired greater confidence in the future. Even people who only own stocks in 401(k) plans are seeing their balances rising and are more optimistic. If the recent market drops have undermined your confidence, take a deep breath and look at the bond market where the higher prices suggest growth in our country’s future. If you look outside the U.S., the global market is in the best shape it has been in, with simultaneous acceleration in the U.S., European and Asian economies.”

Then we have the housing market, which should create great opportunities in the years ahead. “By the best estimates, the flooring industry in 2017 grew about 4% and further growth is predicted by everyone this year. Flooring in the past is like the overall economy. As consumers deferred purchases, which resulted in significant pent-up demand that we expect to come through, the demand is translating to greater residential remodeling, with some predicting that 2018 will set a record for home renovation spending. Overall, the real estate industry is the healthiest it has been in 30 years. Interest rates are near historic lows and even when the Feds raise the interest rates in 2018, they will still be historically low.”

The biggest challenge in the real estate market today, he said, has been a shortage of homes for sale. “Rapidly increasing demand will spark new construction as well as remodeling across the country. Remodeling drags at about 60% of the total flooring sales and probably much more for those of you in this room. So increased activity would really benefit you and our industry. Right now, investments in remodeling is being influenced by two major factors. The first is rising home prices, which is building confidence for homeowners to update and address changing lifestyles in their homes and how to make it benefit themselves. New buyers of existing homes will also customize their purchase to suit their own taste. Renewed interest in remodeling is also being spurred by television prompting home renovation on every other show. HGTV and the DIY networks have built franchises around home remodeling and their websites and magazines along with everything else are teaching consumers that updating their floors creates a trendy and refreshed home.”

Lorberbaum also cited new home construction as yet another source for optimism. “As excited as I am about remodeling, I also see growth in new single-family home construction as another sign of a healthy year ahead of us. For years, single-family home construction lagged the historical averages. After the Great Recession, we saw an emphasis on multi-family properties, but the pendulum is now swinging once more to single-family home growth. New construction must accelerate to meet current demands as expanded household formations creates added pressure to the existing market. To meet that demand, the construction industry is finally finding ways to deal with a lack of developed land, as well as taking care of the labor shortage in new ways to build more homes.

“If you take all those factors into consideration, 2018 will be rich in opportunity. The most important fact I want you to take away is that in 2018 consumers have more confidence and are going to spend more money. Together we have to convince them that spending that money in your store on new flooring is the right thing to do.”

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Phenix becomes approved vendor for Abbey Carpet & Floor

Dalton, Ga.—Phenix Flooring has joined Abbey Carpet & Floor and Floors To Go as an approved vendor. Phenix Flooring products, including carpet and hard surface offerings, will now be available through Abbey Carpet & Floor and Floors To Go’s network of retailers in the United States and Canada.

“This is an exciting opportunity for our company to join Abbey and Floors To Go and open additional channels to get our products in showrooms across the country,” said Chris Johnson, SVP of sales for Phenix Flooring. “They are leaders in the retail flooring space and have a history of providing their retail partners and ultimately, the end customer, with the highest quality service and the industry’s best product selection.”

Consumers can expect to see Phenix Flooring products in participating retail stores this spring.

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Abbey Carpet & Floor: New programs for optimizing RSAs, web-savvy shoppers

February 29/March 7, 2016; Volume 30, Number 18

By Jenna Lippin

IMG_7240Las Vegas—Against the backdrop of a positive outlook for 2016, Abbey Carpet & Floor saw the highest percentage of membership attending last month’s annual convention since 2008. And to help dealers ride this wave of optimism, the group presented several new strategies and programs to cater to today’s consumer, which ranges from millennial to baby boomer.

“To stay ahead we must work smarter in order to take market share,” said Steve Silverman, Abbey’s president and COO. “Your customer continues to change. You must target marketing and advertising to focus on different needs. To win you must deliver value to every customer.”

Keynote speaker Joe Bondi, vice president of Armstrong residential flooring, North America, explained the changing consumer. “Arguably the most critical [market trend] is keeping pace with the consumer of today. There are different ways of shopping and purchasing flooring, which have really changed and continue to evolve.”

Part of this evolution is the focal shift to millennials, or Generation Y—those consumers who range in age from 19 to 35. Today the largest consumer demographic is Generation X, ages 36 to 51, but by 2017 Generation Y will surpass them in terms of buying power. To further the point, in 2021 millennials will be the largest consumer group and by 2025 will account for 46.6% of the nation’s income.

How does Abbey help its members address this sea change of shoppers? Helping to arm its members with the best RSAs in the business is one major weapon, because quality salespeople lead to happy customers, which results in positive online feedback via social media and review sites, driving new and repeat customers.

To that end, Abbey’s new RSA Training and Learning Center—available to members via Abbey InfoNet—features a plethora of tools to help the busy dealer train his sales staff. Topics include best practices and sales training along with product knowledge and detailed information on Abbey private-label brands. Both videos and written guides are available from customer service guru Pami Bhullar, director of retail development for Invista/Stainmaster, and renowned business coach Joe Calloway, a regular speaker at Abbey events.

“In our industry, training means a number of things,” Silverman noted. “It’s more than just selling; it’s knowledge and when to use that knowledge. There are so many components that make up our industry in terms of different types of flooring. Consumers today go on the Internet and learn about products before they are going to spend $10,000 to $15,000. They compare and know differences of products. All that information needs to be in the hands of salespeople. If they fumble on giving an answer [to a customer] it may mean she is going to a competitor.”

Ted Gregerson, owner of Ted’s Abbey Carpet & Floor with two locations in the Birmingham, Ala., area, had been anticipating a full-service training program from the group. “Now you are able to take someone you’ve just hired who knows nothing about flooring and have them sit down at the computer, watch videos and get basic flooring knowledge without having someone else on your staff take the time to train them. That will be a huge savings for us. And even veteran or seasoned sales personnel can now [easily] be educated on Abbey programs, Abbey brands and even sales 101 as reminders. We do a great job with education and training ourselves; this will go really well with what we’re already doing.”

In conjunction with its new training initiative, Abbey launched Performance Plus Rewards at convention, an incentives program for RSAs designed to encourage sales of private-label products.

“The basic concept is to provide a reward for salespeople to sell the brands you have the best opportunity to make more money on,” David Hardy, executive vice president, merchandising and member services, told members. “These products are really not ‘shop-able.’ Suppliers that create products in exclusive brands and private labels prevent people from going on the Internet and shopping prices.”

Any product under Abbey’s umbrella of exclusive brands earns points for salespeople. Points earned go toward electronics like iPads, DVD and Blu-ray players, desktop computers and more.

Abbey launched Performance Plus Rewards and the RSA training program in sync so members can educate and motivate their sales staff at the same time. IMG_7230With all information in one place on Abbey’s InfoNet portal, the initiatives work together seamlessly. “I have a small team of five and plan on using the training and rewards,” said Leon Wink, COO, Wolde Flooring, Madison, Ala. “Often a company sends just one representative or the store owner to learn more, but to grow your company you really have to delegate and everyone has to come up to speed. You want your entire staff to be knowledgeable, not just one person. This system simplifies the process.”

While customer service is a top priority for Abbey members, driving shoppers to that top-notch in-store experience is the first step. With that, the group has boosted its focus on members’ digital footprints to help bring consumers to Abbey member sites and ultimately their stores.

Abbey’s digital marketing program has been designed to guide flooring dealers through their social media efforts on all platforms, including Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn, Pinterest, Houzz, Google+ and more. Email marketing is another major component, helping send store messages, news and promotions via Constant Contact.

Perhaps the most critical element of Abbey’s digital marketing program is Customer Connect, the group’s customized pay-per-click (PPC) advertising program. “It is a perfect service for small businesses looking for ways to cost effectively reach customers,” said Patricia Toledo, Abbey’s digital marketing coordinator. “You only pay when a consumer clicks on your text ad and is brought to your Abbey website. PPC connects to online shoppers the moment they start looking for flooring.”

As the largest search engine in existence today, Google continues to come up with tools to better utilize its features. The Google Results Page will give higher rankings to Abbey members using PPC, with the Google text ad and corresponding ad on the member website linking to communicate the same message. The Customer Connect dashboard lets Abbey dealers gauge how successful their PPC campaigns have been, showing statistics like clicks, views, click-through rate and costs per click, in addition to seeing from where traffic is actually coming. The best part: Every member can decide how much he or she wants to spend per month on PPC. The Customer Connect team helps determine what programming is best for each budget and monitors results to see what is working and what is not.

One member who can attest to the success generated by Abbey’s Customer Connect PPC program is Barry Lindgren, owner of Abbey Carpet & Floor of Puyallup in Puyallup, Wash. While he was hesitant about the initiative when it first launched in 2014, he soon increased his monthly budget when he saw the jump in his website traffic. One particular promotion he ran in May 2015 featuring a Karastan campaign changed the game for good. “I was extremely surprised at how much it increased our business. We continued to increase our PPC monthly budget and have held it ever since. About 60% to 65% of the traffic on our website is through PPC. I hope to find other ways to use PPC to enhance our traffic even more.”

Another initiative introduced at convention created to attract customers and entice them to buy was its Visions 2016 showroom design that helps members position products to keep on top of what’s trending in the market. The group has partnered with Ron Hodgdon of Creative Arts—who has helped develop member showrooms for over 25 years—to conceptualize this new design. Members who sign up for the redesign work with him directly.

“Unless you have recently joined Abbey or had your showroom redesigned by Ron, members that joined years ago probably haven’t changed their showrooms,” Hardy said. “Displays have been switched out but the flow hasn’t changed. The new, vibrant look is exciting.”

Silverman noted the consistent design amongst Abbey private-label displays, which helps a showroom look organized and inviting. “In a non-member showroom you see different displays. In an Abbey showroom you see displays with the same look; there is a homogenous feel. This design provides an upscale look that will hopefully increase selling price and margin. It’s like inviting guests to your home.”

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Abbey Carpet & Floor: Proprietary brands, products, programs take center stage

March 16/23, 2015; Volume 28/Number 19

By Steven Feldman

Screen Shot 2015-03-24 at 12.38.09 PMReno, Nev.—Proprietary brands and private-label products have always been a cornerstone of the Abbey Carpet & Floor proposition, and that could not have been better illustrated than at the group’s 2015 convention held earlier this month here.

Steve Silverman, president and COO, acknowledged the product-driven nature of this convention, stating that he couldn’t remember a year where there were more introductions. “I think suppliers feel optimistic. We have more positive indicators going into 2015 than we have had in several years. If you look at the capital investments and acquisitions being made by certain manufacturers, coupled with the economy, all the stars seem to have aligned.” He cited the plethora of broadloom and LVT introductions, plus a good number of new hardwood products.

Dave Hardy, executive vice president of merchandising, believes additions to Abbey’s two exclusive nylon programs—Softique under the Alexander Smith brand and Infinity under the American Showcase brand—will further differentiate members in the marketplace. “These two platforms have been highly successful, so we continue to expand them.” Specifically, the 17 new Softique styles and 34 new Infinity styles focus on innovative patterns that utilize new tufting technology.

Hardy traces the acceptance of Softique and Infinity nylon to a number of product characteristics. “Both offer superior performance characteristics along with all the features and benefits that resonate with the consumer—fashion, superior warranties, 60-day satisfaction guarantee. Plus, salespeople want to sell products they have confidence in, know will perform and offer margin.”

Aside from additions to the exclusive nylon collections, the other focus, which was also evident throughout the Surfaces show floor in January, was on Invista’s PetProtect franchise. “PetProtect resonates with the consumer,” Hardy said. “There are more households in the U.S. with pets than children.”

Screen Shot 2015-03-24 at 12.39.26 PMAll told, Abbey introduced 45 products within four PetProtect collections from Tuftex, Dixie, Godfrey Hirst and Stanton. “There is no redundancy in those new collections,” Hardy noted. “These 45 visuals are diverse and complementary to each other in all types of constructions, mostly high-fashion products.”

PetProtect offerings have been an extremely successful segment for Abbey. Hardy cited new merchandising introduced at convention created specifically for PetProtect that speaks to the consumer at point of sale. “We have features and benefits of PetProtect staring the consumer in the face. We are using the graphic images that Invista is utilizing in its advertising campaign and bringing them into our member stores. It speaks to the features and benefits in written form, and instills credibility in the product and what it can do for the consumer.”

In the value arena, four new collections were introduced:

  • Beaulieu showcased 13 soft polyester styles
  • Lexmark unveiled 10 styles utilizing its new pattern LCL machine
  • Alexander Smith Living showed 19 PET styles in textures, tonals, flecks, LCLs and loops
  • Shaw rolled out 22 new products with unique styling and color play from 25 to 70 ounces (classic and new visuals) in solids and flecks, patterns and loops

On the hard surface side, it came as no surprise that LVT introductions took center stage, particularly composite products. Fueled by Abbey’s success with USFloors’ COREtec and COREtec Plus, a new private-label product from Shaw—Revolutionary Resilient—utilizing similar construction was unveiled. The product, called Floorté for open line retailers, played to rave reviews at the Shaw Flooring Network convention in January (FCNews, Jan. 19/26). Hardy cited the line’s imaging and the fact it can be installed with very little floor prep as primary advantages. Twenty-seven options are available measuring 6 x 48 with a 6.5mm thickness and both 12 mil and 20 mil wear layers.

In hardwood, Hardy was most excited about some wide-width, oil-finished visuals from USFloors. “The collection offers both contemporary (Contempo) and traditional (Rustique) styling that go from smooth modern to more rustic, traditional looks at price points that open up a wider audience.” Planks are 7½ inches wide x 6¼ feet long.

Abbey Connect

Screen Shot 2015-03-24 at 12.39.13 PMOne year after launching an online initiative as part of Abbey Connect, a key component of which is the Google AdWords pay-per-click service, Silverman said about 20% of members are utilizing the program with 20% more expected to have signed up at convention. AdWords pay-per-click (PPC) is designed to help local businesses advertise on the Internet. Each dealer can target specific geographic areas and ZIP codes where he wants to advertise, and when consumers search Google for flooring in that region, that dealer’s text ad will appear on the results page. When that ad/link is clicked, the user is directed to a promotional advertisement on that retailer’s Abbey website.

“We know 80% of consumers begin the shopping process on the Internet, and 64% use pay-per-click in some form or fashion,” Silverman said. “We are saying that PPC should supplement other forms of advertising—print, TV, etc. The difference between the two forms of medium is with PPC we can tell our members how many clicks they got on their keywords, what the click-through rate was, how long the consumer stayed on the site, etc. And then we can tell them, for example, of 11,000 clicks, 2,300 went into pay-per-clicks, the average stay was 7 minutes, and the average cost was $4 a click. Did you see an increase in business? The answer is always yes.

“Also what it does is deal with the consumer in the market for flooring today. With PPC, we give [members] the demographics and income of the ZIP codes they are interested in. Say you want to advertise in six particular ZIP codes. We give them the number of families, average income, etc. Then they may say, ‘Maybe we shouldn’t be advertising in that ZIP code.’ A newspaper can’t do that. It’s a rifle approach vs. a shotgun approach. Members who have participated in the program have not only seen an increase in website traffic, but also an increase in business.”

Screen Shot 2015-03-24 at 12.39.38 PMAbbey experts help dealers plan their PPC strategies—what they seek to accomplish and their monthly budgets. The group will also help determine which categories to advertise. “Each category has specific keywords that need to be selected,” said Fred Kotynski, director, information systems. Abbey will manage the hundreds, or thousands, of keywords. Each keyword must be bid on to achieve the best performance for the lowest cost. “We may not be able to be at the top or the right-hand side, but you will receive benefit.”

Chuck McMechen of Abbey Carpet of San Francisco said Abbey goes “so far beyond what we’ve been doing in the past with pay-per-click. The prices are right, and you can know immediately when people click and look at your ad.”

John Kopas, Abbey Carpet of Mounds View, Minn., started utilizing Abbey Connect in May. “Our website traffic increased about 20%, and at the same time business also increased 20%. We close about 90% of our customers. If they come in we sell them.” He added that since starting the PPC program with Abbey, increases have been greater with each month. “I’ve tried PPC with other companies and didn’t get good results. Abbey seems to know the right words to use.”

Replenishing the ranks

Phil Gutierrez, Abbey chairman and CEO, noted that as much as 30% to 35% of floor covering stores shut their doors over the last five years due to the recessionary economy. Abbey as a group was not immune, although its rank and file decreased by a much lesser percentage, say 15%. “We have 90 fewer members today than in 2007.”

But with business stabilizing in 2013 and increasing in 2014, Gutierrez said Abbey is investing for the future with a concerted attempt to increase membership across the U.S. Six people have already been hired with five more on the way covering 95% of the country. “We already have gotten 25 new members; the hope is to get another 70 each year for the next couple of years.”

Aside from recruiting new members, the 11 Abbey field reps have a secondary function: visit existing members to see if they can help communicate some of the initiatives of which they may not be aware.

Why the focus on growth? “If we are able to get coverage in 100% of the country, and our volume is bigger, our programs become wider,” Gutierrez told members. “That gives us more money to invest in websites, merchandising, advertising, etc. The more we help you do more business, the more we all benefit.”

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Fall promos encourage a fresh start

Volume 28/Number 6; September 1/8, 2014

By Jenna Lippin

Screen Shot 2014-09-11 at 9.46.09 AMWith fall comes an opportunity to take time to start new projects, which, for many, includes new flooring. A number of leading manufacturers and buying groups consider a new season the perfect opportunity to offer incentives that will drive traffic into stores. FCNews spoke with some of these companies about a number of the top promotions to be featured in the coming months.

Abbey Carpet & Floor/Floors to Go

Abbey’s National Gold Tag Flooring Sale and Floors To Go’s National Flooring Extravaganza Sale, which will both run Oct. 1-31, include all the tools to help members plan a successful sale event. A free POP kit is available to participating dealers, which includes signage and sales tags. Options include selecting promotional products (a number of manufacturers are included in the events), re-pricing floors, creating showroom flyers, promoting the sales via member sites and advertising planning. Both groups also offer an option to participate in a direct mail marketing campaign to help promote sales events.

Beaulieu America

Beaulieu America will be continuing its Perfection Is Yours American Express reward card promotion through the fall, with the program concluding Jan. 3, 2015.

Qualifying Beaulieu America dealers will earn a $200 American Express reward card for selling multiples of 200 yards of qualifying Beaulieu America styles during the promotion.

There are a variety of Beaulieu America carpet collections and styles included in the program; among them are Bliss Perfection, Bliss Magic Fresh, Bliss Healthy Touch, Bliss Stainmaster with Magic Fresh, Bliss Indulgence and more.

Dealers should see their Beaulieu representatives for details and how to qualify.

Carpet One Floor & Home

Carpet One Floor & Home’s new collection of pink ribbon welcome mats—available in participating stores Oct. 1—marks the group’s 10th year of supporting breast cancer research. Twenty-five percent of the sale price of each mat is donated to The Breast Cancer Research Foundation (BCRF).

The Carpet One Welcomes Your Support campaign has been raising funds to support organizations and researchers searching for a cure since 2004. This year’s collection includes 15 new designs that make a statement of support in any home.

The collection will also include 12 designs created by interior design experts. These interior designers and stylists have tapped into their design styles and personal inspiration to create the first Designer Series of pink ribbon welcome mats. Each designer collaborated with Carpet One Floor & Home to develop a mat design that represented himself/herself.Screen Shot 2014-09-11 at 9.46.17 AM

Flooring America

Through Sept. 15, consumers can buy select styles of Downs carpet in Flooring America stores at sale prices and receive free installation as part of the Free Installation Event. According to management, the Downs reputation for superior construction, exclusive styling and exceptional performance makes it a go-to brand for consumers, and they can now have it installed without any extra work or any extra costs.

The One Price Covers It All campaign, which will run from Oct. 2 to Nov. 11, will feature sale prices and no charges for extras on select Resista and Resista Soft carpet offered in Flooring America stores. Sale features include free room measure and estimate, free carpet delivery, free carpet and pad rip out and haul away, free furniture moving, and the first Stanley Steemer cleaning at no charge (at participating stores).

Karastan

National Karastan Month, which always occurs during the fall months, will run this year from Sept. 25 through Nov. 10. Mohawk is providing Karastan retailers with extensive resources to showcase the brand’s signature styling and help attract customers, including national advertising, retail advertising—including ready-to-use images, newspaper ads, magazine ads, direct mail inserts, radio scripts and web-based promotions—point-of-sale kits, finance offers, Imagination program and a cushion offer. The sale features consumer rebates and product discounts on the season’s most popular trends.

Mohawk

The upcoming annual Mohawk Anniversary Sale is exclusively available for Floorscapes and ColorCenter retailers. The promotion will run from Sept. 12 through Oct. 27 and offers a number of valuable incentives, including product discounts and cushion offers, cash-back incentives, consumer finance offers and enhanced Mohawk Infinite Reward points. The company is also extending a full mix of national and local advertising support and updated, eye-catching point-of-sale kits to promote in store.

Shaw

Shaw’s annual 30 Days of HGTV Home promotion features special financing and will run through Sept. 30. This year the company is offering 30 months of financing during the 30-day promotion. For retail sales associates, incentives have been added to HGTV Home flooring products by Shaw. Shaw will have social media support with daily giveaways during the promotional period.

Shaw’s second promotion for fall, Floor Now, Pay Later, will take place from Oct. 1 through Nov. 10. Also centered around finance, Shaw will be offering 24-month financing plus a $150 manufacturer’s rebate. This promotion will receive national advertising support and daily giveaways posted on Shaw’s social media sites. Dealers will have complete advertising packages and marketing materials. For the retail sales associate, Shaw has incentivized all Anso nylon products during the promotional period.

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How to successfully integrate financing into your business

Volume 27/Number 26; April 28/May 5, 2014

By Jenna Lippin

Screen Shot 2014-05-05 at 3.51.18 PMWith a promising economy prompting consumers to get out and buy, many are looking—and are encouraged to—spend “other people’s” money. Retailers need to be ready for the release of that pent-up demand, and with that comes providing credit and financing options to help seal the deal.

“[Credit utilization] absolutely correlates with the economy being up,” said Keith Spano, president of Flooring America. “During the recession you heard everywhere that credit is bad. People have come around, credit has eased a little bit, and shoppers have more control. Consumer debt is at a low, so people have a different mindset. The smart consumer is going to use someone else’s money, especially when it’s free.” Continue reading How to successfully integrate financing into your business

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Abbey Connect: Putting together the right pieces

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Volume 27/Number 24; March 31/April 7, 2014

By Jenna Lippin

Orlando—With the overarching goal of selling more product at higher margins, Abbey Carpet & Floor introduced its Abbey Connect initiative to members at its annual convention, held here March 19-23. The four pillars within Abbey Connect—Merchandising Connect, Advertising

Connect, Member Connect and Customer Connect—have all been designed to help members seamlessly boost their businesses.

Boasting its largest convention attendance since 2006, president and COO Steve Silverman told the group that Abbey is coming off its best year since the beginning of the recession. “While floor covering retailers experienced 5% to 7% growth last year, Abbey as a group [exhibited] twice that growth. 2014 will be another good year, and when you leave Orlando you will be as enthusiastic about [Abbey Connect] as I am.” Continue reading Abbey Connect: Putting together the right pieces

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Abbey Carpet & Floor: Recovery makes a solid foundation more critical

By Steven Feldman

Volume 26/Number 22; March 18/25, 2013

Orlando, Fla.—With its members averaging 9% increases over the last five months, the Abbey Carpet & Floor annual convention held March 7 to 9 touted a focus of building a strong foundation to help capitalize on an economic recovery that should only continue to pick up steam. That foundation concentrated on the basics: drawing customers into stores and closing them once inside.

Steve Silverman, president and COO, said the journey begins with visibility and, as such, could not overstate the importance of a quality website, which Abbey provides to its members at no cost. “More than 80% of consumers research [flooring] on the Internet. So, interactive, state-of-the-art consumer websites have become a necessity rather than a luxury.” The challenge, he said, is the average retailer has neither the time nor the resources to build a comprehensive website with all the requisite bells and whistles. Continue reading Abbey Carpet & Floor: Recovery makes a solid foundation more critical

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Abbey Carpet & Floor: Business, exclusives, exposure on the upswing

by Steven Feldman

Dallas—Against the backdrop of some improving economic indicators that have helped rally floor covering sales, Abbey Carpet & Floor’s annual convention here saw its greatest attendance in the last five years. And paralleling the increase in bodies was a sense of optimism not seen at recent conventions. Continue reading Abbey Carpet & Floor: Business, exclusives, exposure on the upswing