Mohawk, Shaw lead the way in effective online tools
January 19/26, 2015; Volume 28/Number 15
By Jana Pollack
As we settle into 2015, digital strategy is more important than ever. Many companies within the flooring industry—whether manufacturers, retail establishments or distributors—are upping their online game. Two major manufacturers in particular, Mohawk and Shaw, are revamping their Internet tools to meet the growing demand for a strong digital presence.
At Mohawk, Kent Clauson, vice president of digital marketing, said in 2014 lead generation for retailer partners was the company’s biggest goal. “We did that with some lead generation programs for retailers in local markets where we did search engine marketing and also via social efforts across the business where we used social to generate leads for retailers. In addition, providing information and tools to make customers’ jobs easier was a focus in 2014.” Through Mohawk Today, its retailer-facing website, as well as Mohawk Net, which is an order database, it became easier to do business with Mohawk.
As 2014 came to a close, Clauson reported the lead generation program worked very well throughout the year. “[However,] if you look across digital, we still find a lot of opportunities to help improve what we do as far as lead generation,” which includes partnering it with Mohawk’s strong social media programs. “We have the highest shared voice within the industry in social. With large followings on Facebook, Twitter, Pinterest, YouTube, Google+ and Instagram, Mohawk is certainly reaching a large social audience. Where we continue to focus there is how to take that shared voice and transform that into lead generation.”
As far as what’s coming up in 2015, Clauson said the biggest change will be the launch of a new mohawkflooring.com this month. “Our target is to create the best consumer experience in interior finishes, not just in flooring. We’ll be launching a new site that will really transform a kind of boring, flat experience into one that incorporates a tremendous amount of imagery, uses consumer language, and at the same time drives consumers…to take them from online and bring them in-store to our retailers.”
Clauson also mentioned the importance Mohawk places on a responsive experience across platforms. In 2015 the company will spend more time on the mobile experience. “It’s important that our websites are fully responsive across all devices. We’ve stayed away from apps for the most part.”
He noted that Mohawk believes for a purchase process that occurs every seven to 10 years, the ideal experience is to have fully responsive website properties where the consumer can find the company without going through the process of downloading an app. “We feel that’s just not as practical as having a site that works just like an app but is always live, always online and doesn’t require any additional effort from the consumer.”
Overall, 2015 will be a big year for Mohawk digitally. “It has been our goal to distance ourselves from the rest of the industry and really create an experience that links online to in-store,” Clauson said.
Shaw’s digital strides
Shaw Industries’ director of digital patforms, Misty Hodge, is taking a different approach to digital strategy.
At the top of Shaw’s developments is its new app called Floorvana. The tool is one of the company’s major digital strategies, which helps “to not only reach the consumers but inspire them in a way that makes them excited about flooring.” Shaw took extensive time in 2014 to gain insight into the mind of the consumer and how she shops, noticing that technology has dramatically changed the shopping experience. “We have to make sure that flooring is meeting her at all the places where she shops.”
Floorvana works by allowing the user to grab inspiration from anywhere. If she sees a color or pattern she likes while she is out in the world, she can quickly snap a photo, and the app will automatically create a tailored color palette. “It allows you to point to the colors you want to focus on,” Hodge explained. The app also allows the user to share results along the way. “If this is an ongoing project you can keep saving and storing and sharing until you’re ready to buy, and the finale is that it takes you to your nearest retailer so you can purchase that flooring.”
Hodge said the goal with the development of Floorvana was to create an app that was really needed. How many people, she asked, have over 30 apps on their phones? How many over 40? Many hands will go up, but when she asks who uses more than five apps on a daily basis, most hands go down. “Our goal is to create something the consumer needs, that they’re going to use over and over.”
Floorvana is still evolving, and a new launch in February will reveal updated features. Hodge also mentioned that Floorvana can be helpful to dealers as well as consumers. “We wanted to give the dealers tools to help the consumer shop while she is in the store. When a custumer walks into a showroom, a retail sales associate can pull up Floorvana and help the prospect build a color palette. In the same way paint stores can do that, we can do that in flooring now.”
In addition to Floorvana, Shaw is also focusing on its website, shawfloors.com. There will be a launch of the new site this month, which Hodge promises will be inspiring to users.
And, of course, Shaw makes use of the social aspect of web as well. “There are so many social channels out there, so the most important part from a digital strategy is to make sure you pick the ones that really speak to your model, to your consumer, and where you think she is going to need you the most,” Hodge noted. She has chosen to focus on Houzz, Pinterest and Facebook. Using these tools in addition to Floorvana, Shaw’s goal for 2015 is to reach and inspire consumers. “We want to make sure they see all the different ways you can use flooring, and we want to keep that inspiration strong as we continue our reach in 2015.”