March 16/23, 2015; Volume 28/Number 19
By Nadia Ramlakhan
According to flooring software developers, the future is now. Today’s consumers want to get things done as quickly and easily as possible, especially when it comes to shopping for flooring. If retailers don’t keep up with the ever-evolving phases of technology, it is likely they will be left behind.
Plenty of industry leaders made this argument at Surfaces, debuting software that focuses on mobility for the retailer. Aside from the obvious benefit of being able to work on-the-go, mobility in technology encompasses a number of advantages, including professionalism, efficiency and cost cuts.
Comp-U-Floor introduced its latest innovation just in time for retailers to replace their old equipment with a system that accepts EMV credit cards, a requirement effective October 2015. Comp-U-Floor provides full integration technology that works with credit card reading terminals through the POS to accept EMV chip technology rather than the merchant having to swipe the card on a separate terminal then key in the transaction on his existing system.
Comp-U-Floor also launched Surface Solution, a program that allows users to generate an entire job order and proposal, acquire signatures and accept payment in the customer’s home with the EMV technology attached to it. With Surface Solution, the homeowner can commit to a job on the spot, and the estimator essentially becomes the “closer.”
The Dancik Sales Portal is a mobile app targeted to RSAs that gives them access to both customer and item-specific information at their fingertips. Since its announcement at Dancik Connect last November, the Dancik Sales Portal immediately found a home with salespeople who aren’t familiar with internal software.
“By submitting a portion of an item or customer name, the RSA can pull up any given information within seconds,” said Greg Grady, director of business development. “It’s like looking at a catalog.”
For example, if a customer comes in looking for a product but she’s not familiar with the name, the RSA can submit a search for “red, mann” and the app will pull up every red product Mannington offers. If a customer points to something she likes in the store, the RSA can easily pull out his phone and check the lead time, stock level and other details.
Cloud-sharing ability is the latest update to the company’s major estimating mobile application, Measure Square Mobile. On its own, the app allows users to draw rooms, generate diagrams, and drag and drop products into each room while in the customer’s home. Then it automatically estimates the sales amount and creates a quote for the customer.
Now with its cloud-sharing ability, the app makes it easier for an entire team to collaborate. According to Steven Wang, president, once the estimator has gathered all necessary information, he can sync it within the cloud and share it with the sales team at the office, installers, etc., resulting in a faster and more efficient process.
Last year at Surfaces Pacific Solutions offered attendees a sneak peek of SiteDraw, a mobile app that allows users to measure homes while simultaneously creating a drawing—all with the swipe of a finger. Using a laser range finder, the estimator simply points at a wall and then swipes the iOS device’s screen in the direction he wants the line to go. Once the perimeter of the space is measured, it draws the room. SiteDraw also makes it easy to measure curves and add doors, and it even exports and saves the data through email for later use.
Not only does it save time, but having the latest technology also portrays a level of professionalism and tells a customer an installer knows what he is doing. “In this economy, you can’t afford to lose that wow factor the client sees,” said Bob Noe, president. “If someone comes in and they’re measuring with a laser and an iPad while you’re fumbling with a tape measure and graph paper, which one is going to exude more confidence?”
Set to be released this fall, QFloor 7 is a web-based program that opens up in a browser instead of as a desktop program, making it available across any device with an Internet connection. As QFloors’ original programs make the switch, users will be able to open as many tabs as they want and view multiple screens at once. Consequently, users can work on multiple projects simultaneously.
Although QFloors’ customers currently have access to cloud offerings, QFloor 7 will eliminate many of the associated fees. The company expects the technology to be a game changer. “We hope this will help the whole industry, not just our customers,” said Chad Ogden, president. “We think other companies will follow suit or get left behind trying to exist with their current software.”
Measure Mobile 3 takes mobility to the next level by allowing users to complete the entire sales process onsite. The mobile app works on any smart device and can assign materials, make calculations, and collect signatures and payments rather than having to go back to the store to key in information.
What differentiates this app from its competitors is its goal to make software more “street available.
“With this free download, the consumer can figure out her own job and bring the information to the dealer,” said Terry Wheat, president. “Pushing technology straight to the consumer is going to drive floor covering professionals to use this technology or risk losing business.”
The app encourages consumers to lay out materials, indicate doorways and change seams before ever getting to a retail store. Once the customer has collected all the information, she can share it with a salesperson across any device.