Volume 27/Number 24; March 31/April 7, 2014
By Ken Ryan
Baltimore—When Haines’ 2013 Loyalty Club Retailer of the Year Bill Zeigler thinks about the value of membership, he thinks about the family atmosphere and friendship that exists within the group as much as he does the products and programs Haines offers. All of these factors played a role in the success of C.F. Zeigler & Sons of Hanover, Pa., which enjoyed a 23% increase in business in 2013.
“I dedicate as much time as humanly possible to the Loyalty Club and advisory council to bring the best program we can to members,” Zeigler said during the recent Haines Loyalty Club Summit here. “Haines people are upfront, they tell the truth and they listen to their customers.”
Other Haines Loyalty Club dealers attending the summit shared similar sentiments about the value of membership. Greg Miller, president of Henry’s Floor Covering in Greencastle, Pa., said the Haines staff is constantly working for his benefit. “It’s the whole system, from upper management to the sales rep who comes to your store.”
George McMurtry, president of America’s Carpet Outlet in State College, Pa., said Haines listens to members’ needs and concerns like a good partner would. “I think they really do care what their customers think. They truly believe that if it is good for their customers, it is good for them. They don’t cram programs down your throat and say, ‘You need this.’ They offer it to you, and then let you decide.”
Being a Loyalty Club retailer is good for business as well, according to Scott Roy, vice president of sales, marketing and customer service for Haines, who told members their sales gains of 14% in 2013 beat the industry average, which was 11%. “And that includes buying groups. That’s a job well done.”
During the summit, Haines updated members on new rebates and discount offers for 2014, as well as enhanced web services designed to drive traffic into stores. Haines developed a web portal, floorprofessionals.com, and invested in search engine optimization, in hopes of driving leads that members can convert into sales.
Roy encouraged members to utilize the $700 merchandising fund they receive, which can be used any number of ways. “It’s free money; take advantage of it.”
He also urged members to get on board with GE Financing. “Anybody who doesn’t use financing, I don’t know how you do it,” Roy told members. “When you go to a furniture store, they don’t say, ‘In this room there is $7,000 worth of furniture’; they say, ‘This is $399 a month.’ Financing is an opportunity to upsell because people understand that retail marketing is based on a monthly cost.”
In the latter part of 2013, Haines, the No. 1 ranked flooring distributor, acquired the industry’s No. 4 distributor, CMH Space. During an interview with FCNews, Haines CEO Bruce Zwicker said the integration of CMH and Haines is proceeding as scheduled. Before the companies can fully integrate, however, the computer systems must be aligned. In this case, CMH will be switched from the Gartman platform to Haines’ Dancik system. The integration should be completed by the end of September.
“This is not an acquisition where, when you buy a company, you sometimes justify it by ripping out a lot of the costs,” Zwicker said. “No. 1, we are in a rising market. The warehouses are operating at 85% to 87% capacity. We are not closing any warehouses; we need them all. When business is going good you don’t have to take out a lot of costs.
“We are taking our time because this is not like us buying a much smaller company or a company that is not doing well. CMH has been a very successful company for a long time, and they do a lot of things right. We want to learn how they do things because maybe some of the things they do we might want to adapt.”
Beginning in January 2015, once the integration is completed, Loyalty Club members will receive rebates on both Haines and CMH products. “If a customer did 60% in Haines and 30% in CMH, now 90% would be available in rebates,” Roy said.
“In the end it’s all Haines,” Zwicker added. “Our suppliers will benefit due to new customers brought on by both Haines and CMH. This provides new sales opportunities across all suppliers.”