Flooring America: Fresh thinking matters

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July 20/27; Retailer’s Guide to Digital Marketing

According to comScore, more than 90% of consumers are using online search as the first step in a purchasing decision—one of the 24 digital touch points the average consumer has on her way to making a purchase. “Consumers today have unlimited choices when it comes to buying floors, lighting, cabinets or, for that matter, any home improvement product or service, and they have to be constantly reminded that you even exist,” said Frank Chiera, senior vice present of marketing and advertising for Flooring America. “The absolute best way to reach the consumer is where she spends most of her time… which is online.”

With that, Flooring America focuses sharply on keeping its members well ahead of the pack, including other independent flooring retailers, by continually expanding its innovative and fresh marketing programs available to its members. And, its efforts prove to be working.

“Having been in the shoes of our retailers ourselves, it’s imperative we bring to life marketing and merchandising strategies that not only drive consumers in our doors, but more importantly make it easier for our members to execute,” said Keith Spano, president of Flooring America. It’s clear the management team at Flooring America understands that a typical independently owned store owner is usually wearing many hats to keep his business running, and crafting a world-class marketing strategy is something he may not have the time to do.

“Our industry has typically been given a black eye for not being that innovative from a marketing perspective, and it’s our mission to change that perception,” Chiera said. In fact, over the past few years the Flooring America marketing team has developed tools for its members like a turnkey local social media platform, syndicating over 1 million pieces of curated content to consumers across the group’s 500-store network annually.

Flooring America has also built tablet-based CRM apps for its stores to not only capture customer data that integrates with a store’s point-of-sale system, but also executes automated marketing campaigns from collected data. Most recently the group announced new websites launching later this year, one for each of its member stores that answers the call to appeal to more consumers than ever, including the ever-growing and important millennial consumer.

“Our new websites are not only personalized representations of each of our stores, but they are 100% mobile, built to handle business opportunities beyond flooring and integrate with all our other marketing efforts,” Chiera explained. “This means every consumer touch point is tracked on our sites, and actionable marketing efforts are deployed to drive more leads to our stores.” The list goes on at Flooring America, including the development of its new flooring visualizer app called My Floor Style, which launched summer 2015.

The group feels so strongly about the importance of digital marketing and social media that it is launching its own digital media summit geared to help independent retailers called Building Buzz (buildingbuzzcon.com). The summit, which will be held Sept. 20-22 in Tampa, Fla., is an opportunity for independent retailers to hear from world-class speakers from giants like Google, Houzz, Shoutlet and Bazaarvoice, as well as digital experts in the field of social media and interior designers. The focus of the summit will be for store owners, retailers, sales professionals and designers to learn actionable insights they can take back to their businesses to help them better navigate the new digital marketing world in which we live.

Chiera’s message to independent retailers is clear: “As you consider how to drive traffic into your store, digital marketing should be without a doubt the biggest footprint of your overall marketing spend. Your digital reputation, from garnering online reviews from customers to amplifying your voice across social media channels will help set you apart from the competition.”


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