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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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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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Alliance Flooring members urged to take control of destiny

By Matthew Spieler

San Antonio—As the economy picks up steam members of the Alliance Flooring network were encouraged to take control of their destinies by being the driver and making a difference.

The days of just hanging a sign and having people come in are over, noted Ron Dunn, co-CEO of Alliance. “You need to drive to it; it doesn’t come to you.” Continue reading Alliance Flooring members urged to take control of destiny