Flooring America/Canada puts members on FAST track

Home Inside FCNews Flooring America/Canada puts members on FAST track

Volume 26/Number 17; January 7/14, 2013

By Melissa McGuire

According to Flooring America president Keith Spano, membership is up due to multiple efforts. Spano, right, stands with new member Cedric Eckenrode of Pro Floors in Naples, Fla.

ORLANDO, FLA.—Flooring America/Flooring Canada kicked off its winter convention here with a number of initiatives designed to take the group to the next level. These developments include digital marketing, strategic partnerships and exclusive products.

“Flooring America is a risk taking, forward-thinking and tech-savvy group that will lead our members into the future,” said Keith Spano, president. “We’ll do this because we have operational advantages, technological advantages and educational advantages no other buying group has.”

At its summer 2012 convention, Flooring America launched Phase II of its FAST digital marketing program which leverages the latest technology in an array of social media platforms.

“Social media is playing a bigger and more important role in the lives of our customers than ever before,” Spano said. “We have harnessed the word of mouth and implemented it in the first and second phases of our FAST program.”

The first phase of
 FAST introduced members to the development of individual websites, while the second phase utilizes Twitter, LinkedIn, Pinterest, Angie’s List, CitySearch and Yelp to gar ner customer reviews.

Today, Flooring America has more than 35,000 Facebook fans at the local level. In addition, it has 75,000 Twitter followers, with whom Flooring America engages every day. All in all, according to Spano, the group has 14 million brand impressions all due to social media engagement.

“We’ve seen an enormous adoption of the use of our apps and consumers posting testimonials,” Spano said. “Now we’re focusing our members on executing this phase of the FAST program: how to ask customers for reviews, how to get salespeople to use the 400 iPads we’ve provided and how to qualify customers.”

The next step in leveraging customer reviews is an ambitious plan that Spano and Frank Chiara, vice president of marketing, are excited about. The plan involves visiting 10 major markets, where they will visit Flooring America retailers and film real customers as they describe their Flooring America experiences. “It’s our next ad campaign,” Chiara said. “We’re calling it the “Where Friends Send Friends Mobile Tour.” It’s a great marketing tool for us and the individual retailer. It rounds out the entire ‘Friends Send Friends’ campaign.”

In an effort to drive more customers into member stores, Flooring America is seeking to align with non-competing companies that market to similar consumers where leads can be shared. The initiative kicked off at this convention with the announcement of a strategic partnership with cleaning franchise Stanley Steemer.

“Flooring America does not want to be in the carpet cleaning business and Stanley Steemer doesn’t want to be in the flooring business, so we formed an alliance that will benefit us both,” Spano said.

Product initiatives

Flooring America is capitalizing on the popularity of Mohawk’s SmartStrand fiber and its SmartStrand Silk brand extension by offering a private-label version to members.

A Flooring America mobile tour will bring the ‘Where Friends Send Friends’ campaign full circle.

The exclusive brand is Innovia and Innovia Touch, respectively, and is designed to give members a competitive advantage, according to Randy Upton, vice president of merchandising.

“We saw the popularity of SmartStrand in the marketplace, but we knew there were other things coming, so we waited [to launch an exclusive brand],” he said. “Silk was more successful than people realized. We’re finally at the point with what the market is looking like to get it out there.”

Upton noted that Innovia is part and parcel of Flooring America’s brand strategy to incorporate its soft offerings into two programs: a triexta and a nylon. The nylon is Tigresa Cherish, which is the brand extension of what members say is the most successful assortment in their stores.

Tom Lape, president, Mohawk Residential, believes Flooring America members will have great success with Innovia and Innovia Touch. “Triexta is the only product that has built-in stain and soil resistance. It performs better, lasts longer and protects better. But what is remarkable is it is the consumers’ eyes and hands that sell the product,” a reference to its visuals and softness.


Spano told FCNews membership is on the upswing as the group has signed a number of new members since the last convention. Why? “We rebuilt the whole program—new merchandising, marketing, advertising, positioning and brand strategy. We can demonstrate how joining Flooring America offers real value. We are lowering their costs and improving their profitability and close rates.”

Stanley Steamer is Flooring America's latest strategic partner. FA president Keith Spano, second left, is joined by Stanley Steemer’s Nino Divincenzo, Fred McCoy and Ronald Trbovich.

Aside from assembling a dedicated sales team, Flooring America members are actually doing their part in the recruiting process. A dedicated website for prospective members includes testimonials from current members on how Flooring America has changed their lives. And they give their phone numbers in case a prospect has any questions.

Members who attended convention were cases in point. “Flooring America has been the catalyst to make me the premier retailer in my marketplace by bringing the expertise, professionalism and product to me that I couldn’t have done on my own,” said Buddy Hollier, Hollier’s Flooring America, Lafayette, La., a member since 2000.

Larry Thibodeaux, Halpin’s Flooring America, Baton Rouge, La., told FCNews, “Flooring America is at the forefront of product and program development. They do a lot of things we just couldn’t do on our own.”

And Darryl Moore, owner of Floor Right Interiors, Lethbridge, Alberta, Canada, came away from convention impressed with the new and innovative offerings. “There is a lot of exciting stuff happening, particularly the digital media I’m looking forward to using. I’ve been using the FAST program but not to the extent I’ve wanted. I’m ready to get back and get started after this convention.”


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