April 27/May 4, 2015; Volume 29/Number 2
By Ken Ryan
Flooring retailers who want to join the Made in the USA movement to increase sales and burnish their patriotic images can follow these steps, culled from marketing experts and flooring dealers who have made “buy American” part of their mantras.
1. Educate RSAs
A.J. Boyajian, co-owner of A.J. Rose Carpets & Flooring, with three Massachusetts locations, makes sure all of his salespeople know where each of the products in his showrooms is produced “so when people ask for Made in the USA we can point them in the right direction. We have more Made in the USA products today because companies are making more, so there are more available [on the market].”
2. Show signage
Make sure Made in the USA signage is displayed prominently in the showroom on the product samples and displays, and that during the sales process RSAs make customers aware of these products. When a new product is introduced, let customers know where the product was made.
3. Promote Made in the USA
Sounds simple enough. From a business’ website and social media to packaging and promotions, every marketing outlet should highlight the fact that a retailer sells Made in the USA products. It’s important that the American-made message is clear and consistent across every channel. Some retailers use the Uncle Sam image to encourage customers to buy local, or do something as simple as displaying the American flag outside their stores.
4. Give reasons to buy
Don’t hesitate to tell consumers why buying an American-made product may be better than purchasing one made overseas (which does not mean bashing foreign-made products). Buying American-made products, in theory, keeps friends and neighbors employed and is good for the U.S. economy. Plus, domestically produced flooring does not travel as far from the manufacturing facility to the store shelf, which helps reduce the product’s environmental impact.
5. Share stories
Share stories about where products are made and who makes them. As a selling point, Jim Mudd, president of Sam Kinnaird’s in Louisville, Ky., can tell his customers that American Scrape from Armstrong was made in Kentucky. And dealers in High Point, N.C., can impress customers looking for laminate flooring by telling them that Mannington’s entire laminate product portfolio is manufactured in that very town.
Even if dealers do not have a business in an area where flooring manufacturing is taking place, they can still talk about the onshoring trend that is helping the U.S. economy and creating jobs.