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Spring promos help dealers shake off winter blues

March 19/26, 2018: Volume 33, Issue 20

By Lindsay Baillie

 

Even though the winter weather is still putting up a fight in certain areas of the United States, flooring manufacturers and buying groups are getting into the spirit of the impending spring season with exciting seasonal sales and promotions.

Following are a few promotions and sales going on now.

Abbey Carpet & Floor/Floors to Go

Abbey Carpet & Floor and Floors to Go members are preparing for the national sale events taking place in May. When consumers are looking for the perfect place to purchase their new floor, Abbey makes sure its members have every opportunity to be top-of-mind with buyers. The campaign, developed with the support of Abbey’s supplier partners, offers consumers discount pricing in every product category.

Armstrong

Armstrong Flooring is hosting its “The Floor is Yours” spring promotion March 19 through May 14. During this period, consumers have the chance to save up to 10% on select hardwood, LVT and resilient sheet flooring collections as well as Alterna engineered tile, many of which feature the company’s Diamond 10 technology.

To qualify, the purchase must be made during the promotion period from a participating Elevate or Impact retailer. The maximum discount is $500 in the form of an Armstrong Visa card.

Carpet One

Carpet One’s second spring promotion highlights one of its most popular brands, Relax, it’s…Lees. The group will be relaunching the brand with 32 new products and special introductory pricing. The promotion will be supported by discounted pricing and consumer financing offers.

Carpet One will provide retailers with TV, radio, print and digital assets to support the promotion on a local level. The group will also support the promotion on the group’s website, Houzz, Facebook and a national paid search campaign. Carpet One’s promotional message will be “Lees—a carpet like no other,” offering the consumer a 25-year, no-exclusions stain warranty.

CarpetsPlus Color Tile

The CarpetsPlus Color Tile Spring into Savings sale comes into full bloom during April and May in member stores across the country. Select styles of their popular Destination brand carpets made with Anso nylon are being featured in this sale at participating dealer locations.

Members are also signing up for the second annual Shop for the Paws Animal Welfare and Rescue Awareness event, which will run after the group’s Spring into Savings sale. During this event, members donate money raised to their choice of local animal welfare charities. Many locations also collect dog and cat food, bedding, toys and additional monetary donations.

Couristan

Couristan’s annual Outdoor Living Merchandising promotion is taking place March 19 through June 30. The promotion offers deals on the company’s full assortment of indoor/outdoor area rugs as well as two dynamic merchandising display options.

Also, back by popular demand, Couristan is offering its Outdoor Living Merchandising display box free with an initial order of 20 area rugs from its Afuera, Cape, Dolce, Monaco, Monte Carlo and Recife collections (size requirements apply).

Invista

Invista is hosting its 2018 Stainmaster brand Celebrate Spring Sweepstakes, which is set to run April 1 through May 31. During the sweepstakes, five customers who purchase Stainmaster PetProtect luxury vinyl flooring will win up to $10,000 back on their purchase and installation (excluding sales tax and delivery charges). Consumers can enter online at stainmastersweepstakes.com. Note: One entry per individual per purchase allowed. Winners will be chosen July 31.

Karastan

Quality, beauty and craftsmanship have all been a part of the Karastan legacy, and this year the manufacturer proudly celebrates its 90th anniversary of offering high-styled, quality floor coverings. Karastan’s 90th Anniversary Sale kicked off March 1 and continues through March 31, offering extensive promotional campaigns for Karastan retailers. Consumers can take advantage of savings on Karastan styles ranging from beautiful wool to family-friendly SmartStrand Forever Clean styles.

Lastly, from April 26 to June 2, Karastan will celebrate National Karastan Month. This sale promotes a consumer rebate offer to entice luxury buyers to purchase floor covering.

Mannington

One Mannington retailers can take advantage of the company’s “Spring into Summer Sale,” which runs from May 15 to July 4. For specific details about the promotion, One Mannington retailers are encouraged to contact their local distributors.

Mirage 

Boa-Franc, maker of the Mirage brand of hardwood flooring, is offering a Play & Win with Mirage Spring 2018 rebate for customers across North America (valid in the U.S. and Canada, excluding Quebec) at all participating Mirage dealers from April 16 to June 9.

During this promotion, consumers will have the chance to save $0.50 to $1 per square foot  on Mirage flooring by playing an online game. This offer is valid on all Mirage products, regardless of species, color or width.

For more on the rules, visit miragefloors.com/rebate on or after April 9.

Mohawk

Mohawk’s Spring All Pet Sale, running from April 12 to May 24, aims to drive consumer awareness of the company’s Pet Protection warranty, covering all pets, all accidents, all the time. During the sale period, Mohawk will drive traffic to its participating retail partners by incentivizing in-market consumers with an in-store rebate and special financing offers. Mohawk also provides a variety of product discounts for its participating retail partners.

The promotions don’t end there. To seamlessly connect the online, in-store and product experience—and ultimately encourage retailer success—Mohawk has also featured this sale on Omnify.

Raskin

Raskin Industries plans to host two spring promotions for its dealers—one for Loft and the other for Ceramix. From March 15 through May 15, dealers have the opportunity to earn $5 on each carton of Loft purchased for residential use.

In addition, from April 1 through June 1, dealers can earn $5 on each carton of Ceramix purchased for residential use. Both rebates will be applied to an American Express card.

Shaw

From April 2 through May 12, Shaw will host its Spring for Green sale. Consumers will have the opportunity to earn up to $500 off on qualifying Shaw Floors products in the form of a manufacturer’s rebate. Note: The promotion is valid on a minimum of 500 square feet of qualifying products.

Shaw’s rebate aims to give participating retailers a competitive advantage in their respective markets as Shaw is covering 100% of the costs. Shaw Flooring Network retailers who registered on ShawNow by March 11 are eligible for the promotion.

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CCA Global Conventions: Carpet One dealers welcome new supplier, push digital, training

February 5/12, 2018: Volume 33, Issue 17

By Ken Ryan

 

Grapevine, Texas—Fresh off a year in which it achieved its highest purchase volume in 11 years, Carpet One Floor & Home convened its winter convention here with a strong tailwind that portends an even stronger 2018.

“You translate purchase volume into sales,” Eric Demaree, president of Carpet One, told FCNews. “We have strong economic indicators. Our overall performance was two times higher than the industry average, and a lot of that is coming from LVT and ceramic.”

In 2017, CCA members generated $250 million in LVT sales (including WPC and rigid core products), and the category continues to grow at unprecedented rates, according to Charlie Dilks, chief product officer for the co-op. Ceramic and wood are healthy as well while laminate now represents less than 3% of the business.

Overall, carpet shrank in 2017 although the rate of decline slowed to 45% compared to 55% hard surface. Residential carpet volume improved in the fourth quarter for members, Dilks said, and will likely get a boost now that Engineered Floors and its DreamWeaver brand is part of the group. EF’s acquisition of Beaulieu’s assets served as an entree for Bob Shaw’s company to join the co-op.

Demaree referred to EF as “the bright new shiny penny.” However, Carpet One dealers see dollar signs. “The color, style, design and price of the DreamWeaver brand is excellent—there is perceived value there,” said Heather Gollihur, owner, Carpet Master Carpet One, Champaign, Ill., who noted that EF’s emergence “will make all the other mills sharpen their pencils.”

Craig Dunn, manager at Miller’s Carpet One, Seaside, Calif., said he is “thrilled to death” that EF has been added as a vendor. “There is a niche they are in that we weren’t getting anywhere else. They’ll fit in well with this group. They always have plenty of stock—as a lot of their product is stocked on the West Coast, which is a big deal for us because of our location and for the fact people want product now.”

Palmer Johnson, manager at Johnson Carpet One Floor & Home, Tulsa, Okla., added, “with Beaulieu out [EF] is filling a void. You have a vertically integrated company that is very competitive.”

EF’s DreamWeaver brand is a strong player in PET, which is now over 50% of the residential replacement market, according to industry observers. What’s more, EF is a leader in cost efficiencies, another reason for their desirability among retailers. To no one’s surprise, the EF booth was the busiest during the two-day trade show portion of Carpet One, and executives appreciated the retail love. “We are incredibly excited to be here,” said Mike Sanderson, vice president of product marketing. Told that many Carpet One members urged the CCA executive team to bring on EF, Will Young, director of national accounts, said, “grassroots efforts usually work. It just takes time. We have a product line that can be sold to just about anyone who walks into a flooring store.”

DreamWeaver introduced its Resista line to Carpet One dealers. Available in 30 styles, Resista makes up half of the group’s polyester offerings.

Online leads and follow-up

The question was asked during the convention: Why does CCA continue to focus on digital marketing even though store traffic is trending down? As executives pointed out, people don’t shop like they used to, and they certainly don’t browse flooring stores. To attract consumers, Carpet One has invested significantly in digital media—including paid search, SEO and SEM. “Our website presence is amazing,” Demaree said. “Our members, when they get the opportunity to engage with a customer, are pretty good at getting the business.”

The fact is, however, few companies (across all industries) are good at following up on online leads, and studies show these lapses are costly. Harvard Business Review audited 2,241 U.S. companies to measure how long each took to respond to a web-generated lead. The results:  37% responded to their lead within one hour; 16% responded between one and 24 hours; 24% took more than 24 hours, and 23% of the companies never responded at all.

These results are especially shocking given how quickly online leads go cold—a phenomenon it explored in a separate study that involved 1.25 million sales leads received by 29 B2C and 13 B2B companies in the U.S. Companies that tried to contact potential customers within an hour of receiving a query were nearly seven times as likely to qualify the lead (defined as having a meaningful conversation with a key decision maker) as those that tried to contact the customer even an hour later—and more than 60 times as likely as companies that waited 24 hours or longer.

Similarly, a paper written and published by MIT professor James Oldroyd found that the chance of qualifying a lead drops to 10% after the first hour, and that no leads were qualified past the 10-hour mark.

To increase its conversion rate Carpet One emphasizes training and encourages owners to certify their sales professionals. Certification entails an annual knowledge assessment that RSAs must pass to earn professional development hours leading to certification. “I highly encourage every one of our flooring dealers to take the exam and to put the accreditation on their business card,” Demaree said. “I don’t give my taxes to someone whose card doesn’t say ‘CPA,’ so why would consumers buy from a sales associate who doesn’t have the proper credentials.”

Beyond flooring initiative

Carpet One announced a partnership with Serta Simmons Bedding. The “Sleep Boutique” program is being tested with eight members. The upside: higher profit margins, no inventory in member stores and no installation worries. The downside: it takes up showroom space.  Chris Taylor, owner of CarpetMaster, Latham, N.Y., has mattresses in two locations and has enjoyed success. “Be fully committed before you begin,” he told members.

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Carpet One reveals 2017 pink ribbon welcome mat

257593-WM2017_2175-ac5308-original-1504614036Manchester, N.H.—Carpet One Floor & Home released its 2017 collection of pink ribbon welcome mats to support breast cancer research, with 18 new mats that are stylish, humorous or whimsical to marry with any home design preference. The Carpet One Welcomes Your Support campaign has been raising funds to support organizations and researchers searching for a cure since 2004 and has raised almost one million dollars so far.

Twenty-five percent of each sale will be donated to The Breast Cancer Research Foundation (BCRF). Each mat is made in the USA complete with a sturdy rubber backing and a pink ribbon to remind people of the cause each mat stands behind. All of Carpet One Floor & Home’s welcome mats are stain- and water-resistant and machine-washable.

“I love the passion and creativity that goes into this collection of welcome mats,” said Terri Daniels, vice president of public relations for Carpet One Floor & Home. “Each design has a story to tell. It’s rewarding to brighten our customers’ doorsteps while we’re working to make a difference in the fight against breast cancer.”

In their traditional use as welcome mats, Carpet One Floor & Home’s pink ribbon mats help keep floors clean by trapping dirt before it makes its way into a home, but the versatile designs add color and protection to any area of the house, including foyers, kitchens, baths, pet areas and more.

Pink ribbon welcome mats are available year round at Carpet One Floor & Home stores for approximately $24.99. These pink ribbon mats make great gifts and add a special touch to a home.

For more information, visit carpetone.com.

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Carpet One Floor & Home welcomes new advisory council members

Screen Shot 2017-10-02 at 3.42.04 PMManchester, N.H.—Carpet One Floor & Home has announced four new members to its advisory council: Kelly McDonald, McDonald Carpet One Floor & Home, Boulder, Colo.; Chris Taylor, Carpet Master Carpet One Floor & Home, Latham, N.Y.; Laura Rosborough, Carpet One Floor & Home, Mentor, Ohio; and Dean Kelly, Carpet Baggers Carpet One Floor & Home, Charleston, S.C. Carpet One Floor & Homes 12-member council meets periodically through the year to advise senior management and help shape the direction of programs developed by the flooring retailer cooperative.

“Our advisory council is essential to make sure our strategy is in line with what our members need,” said Eric Demaree, president of Carpet One Floor & Home. “We depend on them to be the voice of our membership and they are there to challenge us to provide the best service possible to our members.”

Each new advisory member was selected to represent one of four regions previously represented by retiring members Cindy Corbett, John Mazzullo, Scot Hill and Will Dukes.

All new members of the advisory council will take on their official duties at the annual fall advisory council meeting taking place the first week of October in New Orleans, La.

For more information, visit joincarpetone.com or ccaglobalpartners.com/divisions/carpet-one.

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Carpet One strategy hinges on ‘Owning the shopping experience’

August 14/21, 2017: Volume 32, Issue 5

By Reginald Tucker

Screen Shot 2017-08-22 at 10.19.22 AMSalt Lake City—Competition for the consumer’s disposable dollars has never been more fierce, especially when it comes to renovation/remodeling projects. To gain an advantage, experts say, it’s critical that retailers take complete ownership of the entire sales process—from the research phase all the way through installation—if they are to close more deals and generate repeat business.

That was the underlying message Carpet One management conveyed to its members in attendance here at the group’s summer convention. During his opening welcome speech, Eric Demaree, president, Carpet One Floor & Home, challenged retailers to “own the customer service experience,” beginning with online, where the consumer typically begins her research; to the store when she’s ready to pay the retailer a visit; all the way to her home, where the installation and post-sale care take place.

In driving home the importance of providing complete and professional customer service throughout the process, Demaree cited published research and reports on the issue. “The Harvard Business Review describes it as the customer’s “end-to-end” journey. A major international consulting firm describes it as the product of the interaction between an organization and a customer over the duration of their relationship. That all sounds so academic for me; I see it this way: ‘A great customer experience is any value add that any person or company delivers to me that makes me feel good and want to tell other people about the company.’”

Regardless of the difference sources, there’s a common theme that emerges. “There’s a wealth of evidence out there that shows those who own the customer service experience generally outperform the competition in every single area,” Demaree stated. “These retailers tend to make more money, they have less employee turnover and they get more positive reviews. More importantly, 50% of consumers—including all of us in attendance here—will spend more money with companies that provide us with a superior customer experience, according to American Express.”

To that end, Demaree told attendees this year’s convention is all about discovering and sharing ways members can make their customers feel good, with the hope they will tell others about their positive experiences. To drive the point home to members, Carpet One showed a documentary-style video/testimonial that showed one woman’s journey through the entire purchasing cycle—from the research phase all the way through to final installation. The video—which was broadcast in segments or “episodes” over the course of the convention—followed the journey of “Karen,” a 45-year-old working, married woman with two kids—and pets.

Screen Shot 2017-08-22 at 10.19.38 AM“For the next two days,” Demaree told attendees, “we are going to go on a journey through the eyes of Karen as she shares her story about finding the perfect floor, from the time she goes online to start her search to the in-store shopping visit, to what she experiences when the measurer and installer go through her home as well as the services she receives after the job is complete.”

The exercise was designed to inspire ideas that retailers could not only share with other members but also bring back to their businesses after the show. Gayle Selden, president of Ed Selden Carpet One Floor & Home, Lakewood, Wash., believes retailers can improve the way they interact with customers by remembering their own customer service experiences. “A lot of it is just returning to the things we know but have forgotten to do over time,” she explained.

Others agree, adding that focusing on the little things—such as how employees greet customers—can go a long way in making customers feel appreciated. “Everyone who answers the phone is part of the process—even if they are not in sales,” said Juan Cisneros, sales associate with Upland Carpet One Floor & Home, Ontario, Calif.

Other fundamental ideas include improving the look and feel of your showroom, beginning with the entrance. Jim Aaron, vice president of merchandising, CCA Global Partners, believes the in-store experience starts in the parking lot and the window. “You’re trying to create a feeling of, ‘Wow, I feel really comfortable here.”

Screen Shot 2017-08-22 at 10.19.43 AMTheresa Fisher, senior vice president of visual merchandising and brand development, concurs. Comfort is key, she said, given the fact most flooring purchases are not something people are accustomed to making. It helps to make sure traffic lanes within the store are wide open and that the space is decluttered. “People in general don’t feel comfortable when they’re confined, and women in particular don’t want to feel crowded.”

But let’s not forget about drawing customers into your store in the first place. For Stevie Leasure, owner of Carpetbagger Carpet One, Charleston, S.C., the key was transferring advertising and marketing funds from traditional means (print and billboards) to online initiatives. “We have really embraced the digital space; 75% of our advertising is through electronic marketing today.”

All in all, management likes what it is seeing at the membership level. “We have the best dealer base, and we are exceeding the industry growth rate,” Howard Brodsky, co-founder, chairman and co-CEO, CCA Global Partners, told FCNews. “It’s an exciting time for the industry.”

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Brodsky addresses cooperative business leaders at National Press Club

Screen Shot 2017-05-05 at 9.51.46 AMWashington, D.C.—Howard Brodsky was the keynote speaker at a gathering of the nation’s top cooperative leaders at the National Press Club in Washington, D.C., May 3. Brodsky addressed more than 150 executives from multiple industries at the 2017 National Cooperative Issues Forum.

His keynote, “Lead With Our Co-Op Identity,” focused on helping entrepreneurs build successful businesses by providing the scale, resources and innovations needed for small businesses to compete against large-scale corporations that often dominate the business landscape. Brodsky’s speech offered cooperative business strategies that provide small and family businesses a lifeline for success in an increasingly competitive global economy.

“Consumer confidence in corporations has been shaken to the core thanks to the endless stream of stories like the Volkswagen, Wells Fargo and Mylan scandals,” Brodsky said following his keynote address. “Certainly, to succeed, any business needs to be profitable—but not at the expense of its stakeholders and its customers. Cooperatives are democratically run businesses whose members are its owners. That’s one of the key differentiators between publicly held corporations and cooperatives. Simply stated, cooperatives exist to serve the needs of people rather than maximize profits. When you put people’s needs first, the profits will always follow.”

With a spotlight on cooperative power, Brodsky’s speech focused on the co-op business model as a disruptor, differentiator and change agent in the way companies do business. Brodsky shared success stories on ways to leverage the co-op advantage, and outlined the Seven Key Principals for cooperation among cooperatives—voluntary and open membership, democratic member control, member’s economic participation, autonomy and independence, education, training and information, cooperation among cooperatives, and concern for community.

“Cooperatives truly are the better business model,” Brodsky said. “I have dedicated my life to spreading that message. Cooperatives have been the key to my success for many decades and I want it to work for millions of others and the good of their businesses.”

Brodsky and his colleague Alan Greenberg founded CCA Global Partners in 1984, establishing it as a cooperative, and launching Carpet One Floor & Home as its first business.

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Carpet One programs aim to ease the social media learning curve

February 13/20, 2017: Volume 31, Number 18

By Ken Ryan

 

Screen Shot 2017-02-20 at 3.28.13 PMPhoenix—Contrary to marketing hype, millennials are not the quintessential flooring customer today. Not yet at least. In 10 years, statistics show, this demographic group will be making the key decisions and influencing the market in ways that old-school retailers may not be comfortable with.

In an effort to convert old-school thinkers, Carpet One Floor & Home focused its winter convention on the future, which according to group president Eric Demaree, “requires a new mindset and an understanding of how to attract, engage with and convert today’s ever-changing consumer into a lifelong loyal customer.”

Future Focus, as the convention was themed, put digital marketing and social media front and center for the nearly 1,000 Carpet One Floor & Home members attending. Focus on the future requires investing in areas that are growing, such as digital marketing. Gary Redmond, digital director of marketing for Carpet One Floor & Home, convened a panel on the subject with member retailers Guy Pylypiw, Oshawa Carpet One Floor & Home, Oshawa, Ontario, Canada; Zack Allen, Buddy Allen Carpet One Floor & Home, Nashville, Tenn; and Kevin Frazier, Frazier’s Carpet One Floor & Home, Knoxville, Tenn.

These retail leaders have already embraced the digital world and encouraged their brethren to follow suit. Allen implored members to stop delaying the inevitable. “It is the future. It is where people are going to shop. Jump in there, do it and give it some time.”

Screen Shot 2017-02-20 at 3.28.31 PMFrazier, who still spends 85% of his advertising budget on traditional mediums (i.e., radio, TV), told members they have to first invest in this space before they see a return. “At the same time we are not just marketing for the sake of marketing—we are looking for measurables.” Frazier told the audience that four days before he conducted a large private sale at his store, he did a “digital drop” to spread the word through all online platforms. He said he got six requests for pre-measures that led to closings at the private sale. “This was a perfect snapshot of what can be accomplished. [Digital] is a great way to amplify and accelerate your traditional marketing.”

Social media
Virtually every Carpet One Floor & Home dealer understands the importance of digital marketing. How to effectively use social media, however, is still an area of exploration for many dealers.

Terri Daniels, vice president of corporate communications, hosted a panel discussion on the most effective ways to use social media. Michelle Pylypiw, Oshawa Carpet One; Andrew Wiebe, Carpet One Floor & Home, Red Deer, Alberta, Canada; and Bonnie Fenwick, Carpet N’ Drapes, Carpet One Floor & Home, Jacksonville, Fla., conveyed this message to members: You don’t have to be on every social media platform; just choose what works best in your market.

Wiebe suggested members start with Facebook, which he called a “dream market platform.” He discussed how his installer used a camera to film a time-lapse installation of a two-story fireplace. “The response from that video was incredible. We had customers coming into the store saying, ‘I want that fireplace.’”

NEX<40
Screen Shot 2017-02-20 at 3.28.24 PMCarpet One is looking at the future internally as well as externally. Its NEX<40 Generational Leadership Program was established as a way to engage the next generation of Carpet One shareholders. “The group has two major focus areas at this time,” said Palmer Johnson, director of merchandising and general counsel, Carpet One Floor & Home, Tulsa, Okla. “We want to help younger/next generation business owners within the co-op access the tools they need to be successful. We are also placing some focus on influencing the direction Carpet One takes with its online presence. Specifically, the mix of products shown online, brand identity and how that translates to a customer’s in-store experience.”

Lauren Allwein-Andrews, manager at Allwein Carpet One Floor & Home, Annville, Pa., said second- and third-generation owners such as herself never had the opportunity to meet people her own age at these gatherings until now. “Of the 85% of Carpet One membership who attended the convention, nearly 20% are under 40. Those numbers will continue to grow, and now is the time to get this group engaged so we can steer the co-op in the direction we want and need it to go for the future.

“We know millennial buyers—our fellow consumers—are the future, and the best way to reach them is through digital advertising and social media. Traditional forms of advertising are a thing of the past, and one’s money is better spent online.”

 

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Carpet One members go 'high tech' at summer convention

By Steven Feldman

Dallas—Carpet One continues to seek out ways to differentiate its members from the competition, and the recent summer convention only served to illustrate that. A revamped carpetone.com, designed to engage consumers at every step of the purchase process, took center stage, with more enhancements to the One Stop Digital (OSD) marketing initiative playing a supporting role.

The Carpet One website relaunch is in response to changing consumer shopping and buying habits. “The way they consume media has changed,” said Janice Jacobs, vice president of marketing. “Eighty percent of purchase decisions are made online.” In fact, she said customers today are making 12-plus online visits over the course of many weeks and generally four websites but are only visiting 2.4 stores on average (where most sales occur). “But the impact of digital is what’s driving customer expectations to new levels. They expect a seamless experience between an online visit and the physical store. It is so important today to have the best customer experience online. We have to provide education. It is more important than ever to earn their trust.”

The new website opens up opportunities to add more content and make Carpet One the best site in industry to get ideas, learn and shop, Jacobs said. “The aim is to attract customers earlier. We have to get on their long list before we get on their short list. We have to convert them into buyers by connecting with our members’ stores in new ways.”

Content is the driving force in today’s marketing, she added. “We want to reach customers before, during and after their purchase. The strategy is to provide more information. We have developed content like Flooring Expert videos, where experts answer common questions that customers look for online.”

The old site, according to Jacobs, was not responsive. “We had a separate desktop site from the mobile site, and the mobile site was limited. Consumers use their mobile devices to seek out advice, especially with flooring. Over 40% of online traffic comes from online devices with the limited Carpet One site. Think about how many more customers we can convert with a more responsive site.”

Carpet One took its time to come up with what it believes will be the best site in the industry. The first step was hiring a research group to understand flooring consumers’ path to purchase. “We talked to 2,500 consumers,” Jacobs said. “We discovered the path to purchase can begin with, ‘I’m just trying to find out what’s out there,’ to ‘I’m trying to get inspired’ all the way through to ‘I’m ready to buy.’”

When consumers come to the new home page, they will find it to be fresh, modern and inviting, Jacobs said. “It is helpful for what they want to do: learn or shop.” Reviews are elevated on the new site, which keeps customers engaging with the website.

Carpet One revamped its website in response to changing consumer shopping and buying habits.
Carpet One revamped its website in response to changing consumer shopping and buying habits.

Other features include:

  • The ability to now search the entire website. The new site allows the consumer to search products, videos, photos, articles, etc., on the site. In the past, only the product catalog could be searched.
  • New product selection tools where customer can compare various products and categories.
  • Results display pros and cons so customers can easily compare across different categories.
  • Reviews will show up on each member’s microsite. This helps with their Google ranking and is one of the key factors customers use in their final purchasing decisions.
  • If the customer chooses shop, there are two options: a quick pick filter to narrow down choices, or the Selectaflor finder option, which asks the customer a couple of engaging questions to determine her wants and needs. The customer is then presented choices that best align with her answers.
  • An updated room visualizer, where the customer can use stock photos or upload her own photos and change wall colors and countertops. She can then share her room visualizer choices via social media or with friends and family.
  • A feature to create Pinterest-like boards to organize all her inspiration and products anywhere on the site. She can then send these boards to her local Carpet One store, so when she comes into shop the member knows the inspiration that brought her there.

“This site is potentially a game changer for us because it addresses wherever you are on the path to purchase,” said Eric Demaree, president. “You want to be inspired; it takes you there. If you are ready to buy; it takes you there. The site has every bell and whistle. It has geo-targeting, is has responsive design. If you are interested in hardwood, it will talk to you about hardwood. And if you leave our site and go to Nordstrom, the retargeted ads will appear.”

(For more on this story, see the August 1/8 edition of Floor Covering News.)

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Carpet One members ‘engage’ with consumers, product

Jan 18/25; Volume 30/Number 15

By Nadia Ramlakhan

Orlando—The flooring industry has evolved coIMG_1411nsiderably in recent years and Carpet One Floor & Home’s 2016 winter convention, held at the Orange Country Convention Center here Jan. 9-10, was focused primarily on getting members and their sales associates up to date. “The path to purchase has dramatically changed within the last decade and we’re in front of it now,” said Eric Demaree, Carpet One president.

This year’s theme, “Engage,” consisted of engagement at multiple levels, whether it is between retailers and consumers or sales associates and products. “This whole convention is going to provide retailers with tools to get their employees engaged with our customers, merchandising, marketing and our products,” he continued, “and engaged with the proper level of training so they understand the world has changed.”

Windy Baker, Carpet One Floor & Home, Oro Valley, Ariz., understands adjustments need to be made to survive in the retail landscape. “It’s bringing up a conversation about engaging younger sales staff and millennials into the business not only as employees but also into our stores,” she said. “We need to learn how to relate to that generation and stay current with the times as far as which products we select and how we interact.”

Part of that stems from getting to the consumer earlier as she is searching for inspiration online. Today, over 85% of flooring buyers look to the Internet first for product education, positive reviews, room scenes and design ideas. To address these changed buying habits, Carpet One has developed One Stop Digital Plus—an updated content marketing program designed to help retailers be found online. The program helps with researching local keywords, writing marketing content, posting on social media, and managing ratings and reviews.

“I’ve learned digital marketing is the way our industry needs to go,” said Guy Pylypiw, Oshawa Carpet One Floor & Home, Oshawa, Ontario, Canada. “The industry has been far behind for too many years. If we don’t focus on digital we are going to fall behind the big boxes and larger competition.”

In terms of product, Carpet One is introducing programs to keep retailers engaged with their audiences. Cutting Edge Custom Area Rugs is an area rug program that will capitalize on the hard surface category’s increasing growth since a large majority of hard surface purchases are often accompanied by an eventual area rug purchase. Offering custom area rugs to customers will allow dealers to capture more market share as broadloom sales are being lost to hard surface.

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This new program also features a rug calculator, which easily and quickly calculates the cost of any custom area rug, allowing dealers to instantly create rugs with their customers. The online tool can be used on any mobile device.

While area rug sales boast a compelling percentage of flooring sales (10% of the entire industry, which translates to $2 billion, according to Carpet One), dealers will have to think outside the box to switch consumer buying habits for area rugs from mass merchants and online platforms to independent retailers.

Sheila Norton, C.T. Carpet One Floor & Home, Charles Town, W.V., has some ideas. “We are definitely acquiring the new display to complement our hardwood business,” she said. “We are selling more hard surface now and I would like to create an area rug package to give to those customers. The average time a consumer waits to purchase an area rug after her hardwood floor is installed is three weeks so you can use that time to your advantage. It’s just about the same time you would send a thank you card or warranty information, so you can combine that with information on different trends and edging we offer.”

In addition, Innovia and Innovia Touch will receive display updates in the spring. As a naturally soft and durable product in Carpet One’s performance collection, the new graphics will focus on the notion of cleanability, an aspect that resonates heavily with consumers today.

Bigelow featuring Stainmaster will also revamp its display this spring. With three new wing card designs, each card will call out pet safe, active lifestyle or soft touch depending on which attributes apply.

“Everyone has done a good job of putting displays together and the programs are upscaled so that’s what I’m excited about,” said Wayne Kirby, Carpet One Floor & Home, Columbia, S.C., who has attended Carpet One conventions every year for the past 30 years. “We are going to take away how to upsell and sell better products and I think these displays will give us that.”

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‘Bravest’ dedication to injured war vet on 9/11

September 14/21; Volume 30/Number 7

Carpet One, Mohawk partner on N.Y. smart home

By Nadia Ramlakhan

Screen Shot 2015-09-21 at 1.23.21 PM Staten Island, N.Y.—Building for America’s Bravest, a Stephen Siller Tunnel to Towers Foundation program that raises funds to build custom designed, specially adapted smart homes for injured veterans, hosted a dedication ceremony here Sept. 11 in partnership with Carpet One Floor & Home and Mohawk Flooring. Army Sgt. Bryan Dilberian, who lost both legs below the knee and an arm below the elbow in an IED explosion while serving in Afghanistan in 2011, received the keys to his new 3,000-square-foot smart home equipped with high-tech features that assist in regaining his independence.

For nearly two years, Carpet One and Mohawk have worked with Building for America’s Bravest through fundraising and marketing efforts as well as providing labor and flooring for multiple homes.

Local Carpet One members dedicated their time and efforts to constructing Dilberian’s home. For those who could not offer hands-on labor, Carpet One created a program that would allow all members to participate in the Building for America’s Bravest initiative.

“I think all of our members are so thrilled to have a non-profit they can leverage their talents with and, at the end of the day, who is more deserving than our service people and their families?” said Theresa Fisher, senior vice president of visual merchandising for Carpet One. “There are different homes throughout the country that a whole bunch of our members get to touch, but we also have this [in-store] campaign in which we ask our customers for $10 donations after every sale so that every Carpet One store in the U.S. gets to participate.”

Because each home is designed to meet the individual physical challenges each veteran (most of whom are triple- or quadruple-amputees as a result of IED explosions) faces, this particular house brandished more than a wheelchair ramp in order to adequately address Dilberian’s recovery needs. In addition to his arm and leg injuries, Dilberian also suffered shrapnel wounds to his face and neck and has undergone more than 20 surgeries. Building for America’s Bravest and its partners hope that his new smart home can enable him to become more self reliant.

Some features of the house include an elevator, motorized internal shelving in the kitchen cabinets that allow Dilberian to lowScreen Shot 2015-09-21 at 1.23.11 PMer the shelves at the touch of an iPad, a motorized sink and stove that can easily be adjusted for height, a card access system that allows Dilberian to enter and exit the home without keys, and a multi-zone HVAC that regulates temperature levels in each room separately.

Other partners who contributed include UPS, MasterBrand, Hunter Douglas, Basset and Glidden, among others.

Dilberian said the home turned out to be more than what he expected. “The sinks elevate [and descend] when I’m in my wheelchair so I can wash things instead of hiring someone to wash them for me. The whole house is functional off of the iPad—lights, climate—and everything is voice recognized. The doors open for me and close at the push of a button instead of turning a knob, there is heated cement so I don’t have to shovel snow, ramps so I don’t have to go up any stairs and non-slip floors so I don’t keep breaking my leg every time I take a fall.”

Mohawk and Daltile were the exclusive suppliers for all of the flooring in the home, with Carpet One members providing labor and completing the installations. The entire first floor is LVT, a smart choice according to John Ponte, director of Building for America’s Bravest. “The flooring is important because with a wheelchair you cannot roll on carpet. Not only that, but this type of flooring doesn’t show the marks of a wheelchair. In a lot of houses you’ll see the lines all over and you can never get the house clean.”

The house’s 2.5 bathrooms incorporate tile while the entire second floor consists of hardwood from Carpet One’s Rustic River collection, featuring handscraping and distressed edges that allow any marks to add to its character. “Because of the nature of the product, it’s going to absorb a lot of wear and tear and not show that the way a polished floor would,” Fisher explained.

The Stephen Siller Tunnel to Towers Foundation was created to honor Stephen Siller, a first responder at the site of the Twin Towers during their collapse in 2001, and others who lost their lives that day. Building for America’s Bravest was launched in 2011 to assist other injured service members with their return home.

Frank Siller, chairman and CEO of the Stephen Siller Tunnel to Towers Foundation and brother of Stephen Siller, said one smart home takes about 18 months to build from start to finish, but the organization simultaneously works on multiple homes with the goal of completing at least 15 each year. “I am so proud to say today we have either handed over, broken ground or are in the design stage of 44 homes. But we’ve committed to 200 homes and I know we are going to get it done.”

For more information, visit ourbravest.org.