In an age where consumers in the market for floor covering are increasingly relying on the Internet and online tools to research products before narrowing down their selections, the need for manufacturers and specialty dealers to get up to “digital speed” has never been greater. This has opened up a tremendous opportunity for companies that specialize in visualization tools to make their mark.
Such is the case with Leap Tools, maker of the high-tech Roomvo visualization program that allows customers to take a photo of their own home and browse different options for flooring products (as well as other categories) in their own space instantly.
The company primarily works with floor covering manufacturers and distributors—who, in turn, extend the visualization tools to their customers, the retailers and ultimately to consumers. “We are really changing the game here in terms of how consumers are shopping,” said Pawel Rajszel, CEO of Leap Tools. “It’s 100% on trend as consumers migrate more and more toward doing research online before going to a store and picking a floor. They are able to interact with this technology in a very easy and valuable way, which is priming them for making these purchases faster and more confidently.”
The Roomvo tool, according to Rajszel, addresses a shortcoming in the traditional process of shopping for floor coverings. “It’s difficult to buy flooring—the typical sales process entails doing some research online, going to the dealer and then seeing if you find a few floors that catch your attention,” he explained. “Then, the dealer gives you some samples that you can take home. The samples tend to be 12 x 12 in size, and the consumer is supposed to take those samples home, put them on the floor and imagine what the whole room will look like with that floor in it. It’s very difficult to do, and few people find that useful.”
Worse, if the consumer makes a decision based solely on a sample, there might be some buyer’s remorse after the job is completed. “You really don’t know what it’s going to look like until it’s installed, and by that time you’ve picked the wrong floor,” Rajszel explained. “Flooring is not like a piece of furniture that you can simply return if you don’t like it.”
Roomvo, Rajszel noted, aims to eliminate those issues. “What we offer, for the customer to use in the comfort of her own home, is a tool that allows her to take a picture and have the floor in a given room instantly change to the floor that the manufacturer or dealer is selling. Within seconds, the consumer can see all the different flooring options available to her.”
The process is equally seamless for the manufacturer clients who use the Roomvo tool. “It’s instantaneous—there are no Apps to download, no lengthy instructions to read and it’s very easy to use,” Rajszel explained. “It’s a dramatically different experience, and it’s a far superior customer experience. It’s one that we’re getting tremendous traction on from not only dealers but also manufacturers and distributors.”
More importantly, Roomvo decreases the amount of time the customer requires to select a floor. Rajszel cited the industry average, which is anywhere between 60-90 days from the time the consumer begins the selection process to the point of purchase. Roomvo, he said, trims that time frame significantly. “Anecdotally, we’re hearing many situations where people went into the store, used the Roomvo tool and basically bought the floor on the spot,” he said. “We’re dramatically decreasing the time it takes for the consumer to make a decision.”
Beyond traditional brick-and-mortar applications, Roomvo is also useful for retailers who employ the mobile, shop-at-home model. “Our tool creates a significant competitive advantage for any salesperson doing a measurement in the consumer’s home or going in for an in-home sale,” Rajszel explained. “For one, the reps doesn’t have to carry all those samples; they can do it digitally. Second, it creates a level of interaction with the customer in her home that is unparalleled. They are now engaged in discussing the different flooring options straight from the tablet or mobile device on the spot. Their close rates increase dramatically, and the consumer experience vastly improves.”
Leap Tools offers two different Roomvo options. One is the visualizer for the manufacturer; the other entails giving the capability to their dealer partners. At present, the company is working with big names such as Engineered Floors, MSI, Lumber Liquidators and distributors such as Galleher and Schnier.
According to Rajszel, getting started is super easy. “We typically launch customers in less than 30 days, and we do all the heavy lifting so that it’s usually less than an hour’s worth of effort for the customer.”
Many happy returns
While the Roomvo tool may be new to some, Rajszel reported it has been in use for more than seven years now. According to the company, the results speak volumes. “Most of our partners immediately see an increase in sales between 5% and 10% upon launching our tool,” he said.
One such client is California-based Flooret, a direct-to-consumer vendor specializing in long-plank vinyl flooring. When the company launched its site in 2015, the visualization capabilities were limited. There were issues with functionality, and it was difficult to obtain analytics. But all that changed when the retailer made the switch to Roomvo. After just a few months in, Flooret said it experienced an immediate increase in both engagement and sales activity. On top of that, visitor time on the site more than doubled, bounce rates fell and sales volume and conversion rates increased 23% and 20%, respectively.
“We wish we had switched to Roomvo sooner,” said Michael Maddox, co-founder of Flooret. “It’s a very modern solution, it was simple to set up and it’s intuitive for our site visitors to use. The feedback we are hearing is the vast majority of our customers love it.”
Flooret is not the only satisfied customer. Engineered Floors, which employs Roomvo technology through its EF Visualizer tool on its own site, also reports excellent results. “This is an amazing tool,” said Nick Swiney, digital marketing manager for Engineered Floors. “It makes it so easy for our customers to see our floors; they love it. And our sales reps are closing sales faster than ever with Roomvo.”
Brian Ritchie, territory manager for Engineered Floors, is one of them. “I had a dealer share the EF Visualizer link, and by the end of the day he received more than 250 views and 100 messages—which has resulted in at least three measurements.”
On the horizon
Based on the early success of Roomvo as it relates to flooring and countertops, Leap Tools is in the process of expanding the technology to cover visualization for other categories such as wall coverings and paint—related segments in which many dealers are already participating. “We have an exciting five-year roadmap and plans in place to expand the technology even further,” Rajszel said. “Everyone in the company is obsessed with delivering the future.”
In addition, Leap Tools would like to expand its client base to include more distributors and retailers. And, of course, it would like to grow its base of participating manufacturers. “Manufacturers can extend their brand and support their distribution and retail partners by leveraging Roomvo’s proprietary technology,” Rajszel said. “By simply signing up, retailers can benefit from an improved customer experience in store and online. Roomvo translates into happier consumers, happier dealers and happier manufacturers. It’s a win, win, win.”
Leap Tools plans to showcase its capabilities at several major trade shows in 2020, including NAFCD, Surfaces, Domotex, Coverings and NWFA.