April 13/20, 2015; Volume 29/Number 1
By Nadia Ramlakhan
When flooring retailers hear the words “Shaw Industries,” they typically think of innovative products such as Floorté, an enhanced vinyl plank (EVP) developed in response to the growing popularity of wood composite products, and Life Happens, the company’s latest advancement in carpet with patented LifeGuard waterproof backing. But what Shaw highlights aside from inventive products are a number of tools to help dealers with marketing, digital presence, training and more.
Shaw Web Studio
The Web Studio program gives retailers a user-friendly, visually appealing website without the pressure of staying on top of digital advances. “Dealers wear so many hats already,” said Misty Hodge, director of digital platforms. “We didn’t want them to be the photographer, web developer, etc.”
This initiative helps retailers build and regularly update an online product catalog with high-resolution photos. Search engine optimization (SEO) that identifies local keywords and maximizes language used on the site helps dealers get ahead on Google ratings.
“As a locally owned, small business we wanted our website to be geared to what we do here,” said Bill Greene, owner of Lake Murray Floor Covering in Irmo, S.C.
This online marketing service automatically publishes content to social media channels with the option of localizing posts to appeal to specific markets. The sole responsibility here is for dealers to find out what works best for them; Shaw does the rest through its partnership with Promoboxx.
“With all this social media blossoming there is so much going on,” said Cathy Siegmund, owner of Gardner Floor Covering in Eugene, Ore. “This tool is great and saves me so much time.”
The company’s recent introduction of Floorvana, a free mobile application that allows consumers to choose flooring based on inspiration from photos of their choice, serves as an in-store tool to ease the sales process and offers consumers a way to find inspiration.
Share it Forward
Share it Forward is an online ratings and review service that publishes testimonials on a business’ website. What makes all the difference is its ability to notify the dealer each time someone writes a review. Since online feedback is the new word of mouth, Hodge encourages dealers to respond to reviews.
SALT (Shaw Academy for Leadership Training) focuses on best practices in leadership. During this three-day course, a group of retailers is taken to an off-site location in Rome, Ga. (where they don’t have access to television) and focus on enhancing their strengths.
“It helps leaders really find out about their types of leadership,” said Kim Barta, SFN business and events manager. “It targets what they can do to improve and help their stores excel in the industry.”
Total Business Transformation (TBT)
This is an 18-month program during which retailers and their staffs commit to making a change and facing a challenge. Whether the business is struggling financially or under a lot of pressure due to increasing foot traffic, Shaw sends a group of experts to the store to come up with a long-term plan, set goals and stick with them through completion.