July 6/13; Volume 30/Number 2
By Jenna Lippin
Coming off a successful launch at the end of 2014, Shaw has updated its Floorvana app in response to feedback from both consumers and dealers. Different from a room visualizer tool, Floorvana allows end users to find Shaw products that match their color inspirations, whether from a pillow on a couch or a flower found at a local florist. A simple photo upload will connect any object with flooring in the Shaw catalog.
Dealer Mode is the latest helpful feature, unveiled last month, which connects Shaw’s retailer partners with their accounts on the Shaw Advantage portal. Each dealer’s experience on Floorvana is now personalized. “When they sign into Floorvana it only shows the products they specifically sell,” noted Misty Hodge, director, digital platforms, Shaw Industries. “Instead of generic base products, each dealer has a personalized Floorvana, with [his] name on the [landing page] of the app.”
Hodge explained that after Floorvana’s initial launch it became clear to both the Shaw team and member dealers that a “color communication” tool was very much needed. Aside from helping consumers with product selection, Floorvana helps enhance the showroom/sales experience. “When someone walks into [a store] it is a great way to maximize the experience, to help with a consultation, before [a salesperson] even pulls the first piece of flooring. Instead of running a customer around a showroom to get an idea of what she wants, [the RSA] can use Floorvana to not only personalize the experience but also help a customer get what she really needs. That was the instant advantage gained with the app.”
Scott Schiel, manager of Carpets by Otto, with three Ohio locations, said he has been using Floorvana since he first saw it at the Shaw Flooring Network convention in January. One customer in particular used the app in-store to help find product based on the color she knew she wanted. “She was stuck on the color she wanted so I showed her Floorvana; I just handed her my iPad and let her play with it. She found the color she wanted [in a Shaw product] by being interactive with the app. Floorvana has solved problems since I started using it.”
While Floorvana is a useful tool for product selection in a showroom, because consumers typically make multiple visits to a store before purchasing product the app is also a good way to help them find inspiration and take time with their decision. “I will tell a customer to go home and check out Floorvana,” Schiel said. “I tell her to take pictures of her surroundings and get some ideas, then she will call and ask if I have a product she sees in the app. Typically customers will download the app on their own then bring [their findings] in store. But if they are ready to buy the first time they come in, I will hand over my iPad and have them use the app there.”
In terms of the Floorvana experience overall, Hodge said the update also ensures app usage stays “easy and quick.” Strategic elements include video, social sharing and dealer personalization. “It’s not a room visualizer tool, it doesn’t map in home, but the apps that resonate are the ones that people use because they are easy and fulfill a single purpose. We don’t want it to be overly complicated with bells and whistles. Floorvana is designed for one purpose only and we want to keep it focused.”
Going forward, Shaw wants to be sure education on Floorvana continues so dealers know how to use the app to its fullest potential. Sharing success stories among retailers, finding out when they use it in the sales process and how they approach the subject of this kind of technology are points to address. “We need to be sure dealers aren’t afraid to integrate technology into their everyday sales processes,” Hodge said. “We want to focus on education, expansion and awareness, without adding more pieces to Floorvana to the point that it gets cumbersome and people won’t use it.”
Shaw is considering tweaking some smaller features of Floorvana, making it more personalized for the consumer.