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QFloors unveils updates, additions at Surfaces

Las Vegas—QFloors generated notice at Surfaces, as the flooring software company showcased new products, features and technologies.

“Our booth was flooded with people, both current and potential customers, who wanted to learn more about our new commercial, mobile and cloud products,” said Chad Ogden, president, QFloors. “We are really excited about these new and unique offerings, and I think the word has gotten out.”

Following its partnership with MeasureSquare, QFloors has developed even better integration to MeasureSquare’s flooring estimating software products. The QFloors ERP software system and the MeasureSquare takeoff estimating system work together to provide a seamless mobile solution, from initial measure to final payment.

Utilizing this integration, QFloors created its new Mobile Office Suite, which allows dealers to take their office with them to the job site or customer’s home. The new Office Suite makes it possible to effortlessly move through a range of activities including: measuring and estimation, checking stock, creating a proposal, emailing the proposal/invoice to the customer and capturing a signature—to name a few.

New commercial additions have also been developed. “We made it possible to treat commercial work and retail work completely separate from one another, for those floor covering dealers who do both,” Ogden said. “The reports are calculated differently, depending upon commercial or retail. We created a new dashboard that helps you see all of the projects going on at the same time. We’ve also added new updated reporting, new AIA reporting and several other finesses that just make QFloors ERP software much more commercial-friendly.”

QFloors has also officially released the first edition of QPro POS+, a 100% browser-based cloud software. Benefits of this new type of cloud technology include: lower operating and material costs; greater device independence; easier customization; more flexibility and compatibility (now and in the future); easier 3rd party integration and enhanced security and redundancy.

All current QFloors customers will eventually be grandfathered into the software at no additional cost. “Not only will these customers not have to pay for upgrades,” Ogden explained, “but they also will actually typically have costs decrease, as some of these IT and licensing fees go away.”

For more information, visit qfloors.com.

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Karndean Designflooring assists hurricane relief programs, hosts donation drives

Karndean-Designfloor_logo-2-col-on-white-background-1024x270Export, Pa—Karndean Designflooring plans to work closely with hurricane relief organizations and impacted customers and retailers to aid in cleanup and rebuilding efforts in the coming months.

The company has waived its freight fee for customers in the impacted areas and is assisting retailers who have sustained showroom damage. In addition, the company has opened its showroom and distribution centers in Pittsburgh, Dallas and Las Vegas to receive donations for the Houston Food Bank and City of San Antonio Animal Care Services through Oct. 31. The donation drive is open to both Karndean Designflooring employees and to members of the public who wish to contribute. Wish lists of desired goods can be found on each organization’s website.

“We are committed to helping hurricane-impacted areas and our customers get back on their feet in any way we can,” said Larry Browder, CEO. “We are very grateful that our employees in those areas are safe and sustained minimal damage, but many others were not as fortunate. We realize that this is a long-term recovery effort and people who were impacted may not be able to rebuild for months.”

Internally, Karndean Designflooring has implemented a program to match monetary donations made by Karndean Designflooring employees, and additional gifts will be made to each organization in the company’s name.

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Private-label programs support distributors, dealers

August 28/September 4: Volume 32, Issue 6

By Reginald Tucker

 

Screen Shot 2017-09-05 at 12.42.20 PMFor many floor covering distributors, private-label programs provide opportunities to differentiate themselves in a marketplace or region where competing companies might offer the same, or similarly constructed, products. By that same token, some specialty retailers—particularly those who are buying group members—see private-label offerings as a way to compete against the big boxes that often carry well-known manufacturer brands. While some major manufacturers service a variety of retail channels, developing differentiated offerings goes a long way in managing potential channel conflict.

In realizing the importance and significance of these trends, manufacturers are positioning themselves accordingly. “Private-label programming is all we do—that’s our specialty,” said Allie Finkell, executive vice president of American OEM, a U.S.-based custom hardwood flooring manufacturer. “Everyone who buys product from us basically puts their own name on it.”

Like other private-label suppliers, American OEM saw an opportunity in the marketplace to fill a void. While many companies see advantages in importing entry-level, low-quality product, American OEM prides itself on better-grade products that present high-margin opportunities for its distributor partners. “Our customers are looking to buy more of the high-design products, not the low-level commodity items,” Finkell told FCNews. “In fact, we can’t even get down to the price some of them are looking for.”

Effective private-label brand strategies extend to other product categories as well. For instance, LVT supplier Nox Corp. offers customized programs for some of the biggest names in wholesale distribution—some of which are top 20 distributors.

According to a company spokesperson responsible for sales, Nox offers distributors an advantage because it manufactures product in the U.S. This addresses distributors’ concerns about having a consistent source of supply. “Our plant in Fostoria, Ohio, is brand new and state of the art. Our lead times are very acceptable to our customers and shipping out of northern Ohio is pretty good. It’s very convenient for trucking routes.”

Another advantage, according to Nox, is its experience in LVT production and the diversity of its offerings. “There’s so much LVT out there,” the spokesperson said. “With us, distributors don’t just get a white box that they can find at 15 other distributors around the country with the same décors. We offer distributors a complete program that allows them to build their own designs.”

For floor covering dealers, private-label programs represent another way to differentiate themselves from big boxes. At the same time, it’s an opportunity to charge more money based on exclusive programs. Just ask dealers like Birmingham, Ala.-based Ted’s Abbey Carpet & Floor, where Ted Gregerson, owner, puts more emphasis on the Abbey-branded offerings or private-label programs such as Alexander Smith. “We find promoting ourselves, our store and our story carries more weight with customers than simply a brand name. Many flooring companies believe their brand names are well known, but they are not as renowned as they would like to think.”

While private labels can certainly help improve profitability, some believe exclusive brands are the way to go. “We provide our members with exclusive brands, not just private-labeled products,” said Eric Demaree, president, Carpet One Floor & Home. “We add exclusive colors, product attributes and guarantees that cannot be offered by simply slapping on a private label.”

This approach was on full display at the recent CCA Global Partners summer convention, where Carpet One dealers previewed extensions to a few established exclusive brands (i.e., Lees and Invincible H2O) as well as altogether new private-label offerings manufactured by Armstrong, Hemisphere Imports, Mohawk and Shaw, to name just a few.

As Jim Aaron, CCA Global’s vice president of merchandising, put it: “At the end of the day, our exclusive products, brands and warranties all help differentiate us from our competitors.”

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Floors & More looks toward a bright future

April 24/May 1, 2017: Volume 31, Issue 23

Screen Shot 2017-05-01 at 10.14.12 AMLas Vegas—Floors & More has bold plans in store for the future. The retail buying group, which includes the Floor To Ceiling and the Big Bob’s Flooring Outlet divisions, outlined some of its plans during its annual convention held here earlier this year.

Vinnie Virga, CEO and founder, said he believes there will be more change in the industry in the next 10 years than in the previous 20. He pointed out that digital marketing is the single biggest difference maker facing independent home décor businesses today. Specifically, he said communication and education are the key drivers that will pave the way for future success.

One such vehicle includes a new electronic platform that gives members access to all things Floors & More. “This platform also gives members the ability to communicate with each other and our corporate personnel. It’s a one-stop portal for our members that includes Facebook-like posting capability, educational platforms, products, rebate tracking and advertising content.”

A common theme behind Virga’s message to members is change is inevitable—you must embrace and leverage it, he noted. The message of unity was also a talking point. “Together we are strong,” he told members. At the same time, he challenged retailers to identify new ways to grow their businesses.

New products, programs
Another objective was to help members differentiate themselves from the competition. To that end, Floors & More introduced two private-label programs (from Phenix and Dixie) that are part of a new Stainmaster display. The products will begin shipping to members in May. In addition, the buying group launched Beaulieu America as part of its own Riviera private brand featuring middle to better quality carpets at great values for members.

Beyond new product offerings exclusive to Floors & More retailers, the group also unveiled new sales and marketing promotional tools. Ali Klement and the marketing team created an advertising portfolio for the spring. The campaign focuses on members’ best practices in promotions that are designed to drive traffic to members’ stores. These campaigns have been coordinated to run automatically across many platforms including digital marketing alongside traditional TV, radio and print. The ads feature Floors & More’s own talent and were all shown in high definition.

Floors & More also promoted the fact it offers members several options, providing dealers with two different divisions from which to choose. The Floor To Ceiling division is for existing business owners showcasing home décor along with flooring. Virga said this program provides the tools necessary for members to succeed and be more profitable without having to change their name.

The other division, Big Bob’s Flooring Outlet franchise, is geared to existing flooring or water/fire restoration companies that provide flooring to businesses after, say, a fire or flood. “We will make it easy to get into this highly successful outlet program,” Virga said.

Other highlights from the convention: Pami Bhullar, director of retail development, Stainmaster, gave the keynote address. Known for his retail prowess and sage advice, Bhullar believes if retailers can incorporate three goals into their businesses, they can anticipate a year of prosperity and managed growth. It’s an annual tradition for Bhullar to offer 10 resolutions for floor covering dealers.

 

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Coverings 2017 taps industry leaders for conference programming

coverings-2017-ad-600-x-400-anim-2Arlington, Va.—Coverings, the largest international tile & stone exhibition in North America, will feature over 65 sessions in its 2017 conference program—where distinguished speakers will share their knowledge and cutting-edge industry information with attendees. The conference program will highlight pressing topics for the tile and stone industry throughout the show from April 4-7 at the Orange County Convention Center in Orlando.

The conference sessions build upon Coverings’ dedication to providing world-class education with content tailored to each attendee segment: architects, builders/remodelers, designers, distributors, fabricators, installers, retailers and Spanish-speaking attendees. New for 2017, Coverings will offer contractor advanced business topics, contractor beginner-intermediate and the thin tile mini-track. The conference is open to all attendees and, with many CEU credits available, these sessions continue to bring invaluable free education to the show.

Coverings 2017 will present 10 featured sessions highlighting various topics from industry leaders. These sessions include: “Critical Changes to Industry Standards, Guidelines and Best Practices,” “Communicating with Color/Design: Inspiring and Defining Essential Trends,” “Design: A Global Affair,” “Stone Trends: A Historical Perspective,” “Coastal Resilience–Rethinking Design for Extreme Weather Conditions,” “Behind the Curtain to Zero-Incident Safety!” “What’s Trending in Hospitality?” “Design, Health and Wellness in the Workplace,” “What’s Next in Customer Engagement–More Than Ten Ideas Your Customers Will ‘Like’ and ‘Love’ You For” and a fireside chat with Todd-Avery Lenahan, founder of TAL-Studio.

For more information visit Coverings.com/conference.