March 14/21, 2016; Volume 30, Number 19
By Jenna Lippin
Metroflor recently launched an aligned dealer program for its top retailers. The goal of this updated merchandising strategy is to establish a network of professional retail outlets showcasing Metroflor LVT sold by knowledgeable sales associates.
“We want to elevate and enhance the full experience of our brand interaction with consumers,” said Russ Rogg, president and CEO. “While it may begin with a visit to our website, it usually concludes with visiting a dealer to make a final product selection. We want to ensure that those consumers receive only the most accurate and reliable information and view the broadest assortment of products from dealers that are our aligned with our philosophy.”
As a whole, the program is just one facet of a company-wide rebranding to highlight Metroflor as “the LVT specialists.” With that, a refocus on product assortment and merchandising is a major component of the aligned dealer program. At the center of the program is the Metroflor Selection Center, “a comprehensive fixture” that includes a complete sampling of Metroflor products from the Konecto, Metroflor LVT, Engage and Engage Genesis brands. This organizational system allows RSAs to walk consumers through Metroflor product options with ease and can explain “the virtues of our various platforms of product, such as dryback (glue down), Grip Strip, Clic or Structural LVT,” Rogg explained. “It will be the single most comprehensive LVT fixture in the marketplace that presents the full breadth of what we offer.” The company’s goal is for selling and buying processes to be easier thanks to the new system.
Upon previewing the Selection Center at winter markets, dealers offered positive feedback, particularly because they can avoid numerous Metroflor displays taking up showroom space. “Many dealers had individual displays for Konecto, Engage, Metroflor and so forth,” Rogg said. “Combining all these products into a single, comprehensive display is very appealing. It cuts down required showroom space, which is very valuable, yet results in a more [visually appealing] and more effective showroom tool.”
The Selection Center showcases up to 96 large samples with consumer-friendly information boards and a compact footprint of 26 square feet with up to 200 square feet of display floor available at no cost. To complement the display, seasonal POP kits include upgraded merchandising such as counter cards, sales tags, wall banners, ceiling dangles and window clings.
In addition, Metroflor aligned dealers will receive private endorsed installation training for up to six participants and an educational program focused on product knowledge and sales strategies. Plus, the Exclusive Satisfaction Guarantee offers customers a 60-day, no-questions-asked return policy covering material and labor for residential projects. The Retailer Self-Inspect Warranty provides online resolution while web perks include a dedicated website portal for downloadable ads, slicks and logos along with a preferential listing on the Dealer Search page to help increase foot traffic in store.
Rogg anticipates the components of the program working together to “result in more store traffic of customers interested in buying Metroflor LVT. And as part of the closing process, aligned dealers can promote the Exclusive Satisfaction Guarantee that provides their clients with peace of mind. If they should not like their floors for some reason, Metroflor will replace it at our expense.”
While the launch of the program is in its early stages, retailers who have already signed up are excited about what’s to come based on their histories with Metroflor. For example, Katherine Radcliffe of Kitchen & Bath Revamp in Belton, Texas, who has been doing business with Metroflor for 15 of her 20 years in business, said the manufacturer “hits the mark price wise with quality product from entry level on up. Our strategy changes with every customer, and Metroflor offers a fairly wide range of options. Its products are a good answer to vinyl installations, especially in this part of the world where dirt moves so much. Ceramic is not always the answer and wood is not always in the budget, so [Metroflor products] are a good choice. The customer service is there too; they back us up and training has been good.”
As an aligned dealer, Radcliffe cites Metroflor’s education, quality product and customer service as most important for her to sell with confidence. “I’m anxious to get the Selection Center. It’s a really handsome display; I think it will help [boost sales]. I think the preferential website listing will give a boost too. If you are at the top of a list, people looking for that specific product will come to our store. Then I can educate them on what they’re interested in so it’s not just a cold sale.”
Because Metroflor goes through distribution, those retailers interested in becoming an aligned dealer should contact their local distributors or call a local distributor account manager.
John Sher, president of Top 20 distributor Adleta in Dallas, looks forward to working with its customers on the new program. “At our [winter market] we made appointments with quite a few people [to propose the program]. We were incredibly successful in signing people up.” With the Selection Center, “for the first time [customers] are given a merchandising vehicle that presents enlarged samples. The products [included] are important to retailers’ markets. It gives the opportunity to promote quality goods throughout the year.” Adleta reps will go to retailers’ stores to help set up the displays as merchandising is scheduled to be shipped at the end of this month. They will then go back to stores with factory reps and start the training program.
The goal for the program in its first year, according to Rogg, is to partner with approximately 1,000 to 1,250 aligned dealers nationwide. He expects those will be retailers who already sell Metroflor product, but the added features and benefits of the program will allow them to see increased revenue and profitability. “We estimate that sales closure rates will improve, and better-end goods will be sold more frequently.”
The company’s efforts are also an attempt at getting closer to its top retailers. “It is no secret that Metroflor prides itself on the business model of selling through wholesale distribution,” Rogg added. “This will not change, but this program will allow dealers to feel like they are members of the extended Metroflor family.”