By Lindsay Gonzalez
Las Vegas—Flooring technology, just like flooring products, continue to evolve every year. As businesses grow, the software and digital programs that assist flooring dealers with their day-to-day operations must stay in lockstep. The technology shown at The International Surface Event (TISE) covered all the bases from measuring software and room visualization to b2b selling solutions and CRM systems.
Following is a snapshot of what several top technology companies brought to TISE.
Chameleon Power specializes in visualization software. At TISE the company showcased its RoomVision, View In My Room and Color Harmonizer—all part of the company’s suite of visualization tools.
“Users get our auto-masking technology found in View In My Room, which we just launched this year,” said Robert Willard, manager – digital marketing. “They can snap a photo of their room and then visualize the floor in that room. They also get a comparison slider where they can see side by side comparisons.”
What’s more, the company offers a Dynamic Color Board, which keeps track of the different patterns and colors they’re choosing within the room scene or within their own room. Users also have access to the Color Harmonizer, which uses Chameleon Power’s color-science engine to make color recommendations for people.
Comp-U-Floor has completely redesigned its flooring software to now be cloud based. The 41- year-old company took four years to rewrite the software’s code so it would provide current users with the modules they use now in a cloud-based format.
“We have recreated the software from scratch,” said Edgar Aya, CEO. “We made an effort to preserve the functionality of the software. The business processes and the way the users do things are the same. We’ve improved certain modules, like our accounts payable. We’ve streamlined some of the programs to make it easier to use. We’re using brand new code that is more compatible with APIs.”
Creating Your Space
Creating Your Space has launched Design Now, an AI-driven immediate visualization tool for consumers and salespeople. With Design Now, the consumer or RSA can take a picture of the customer’s living space and get an instant picture with the products she wants to view.
“We do custom websites and digital marketing, but the core of what we’re building is a customer experience,” said Jay Flynn, vice president. “When you think about our programs and what we bring to our customers, it’s not ‘OK, here’s your online brochure with your name and your information.’ It is giving the customer the kind of experience she would have if she were going to shop for a Mercedes car. We want the shopping experience to be what Mrs. Consumer represents.”
CZNTech Pricing has the ability to integrate hundreds of pricing documents into its robust data- base, according to Cindy Trocciola, CEO. To do this, the software uploads the documents with CZNTech’s Import Mapping functionality.
“CZNTech Pricing takes price lists and imports them into the system,” Trocciola said. “Then, it exports them into up to five different margin levels. You can sort, search and compare pricing. You can generate and print price tags in seconds. You just click ‘reload pricing’ every time you get a new price list and it updates in seconds.”
FloorForce is rolling out its web-to-text communication solution for dealers this year. The program allows dealers to communicate with customers in whatever way the consumer prefers. How it works: Consumers have the option of either calling or texting the dealer’s number found on their website. If the customer chooses to text the number, the dealer receives the text and is then able to answer through the program.
“Oftentimes people are shopping for flooring when they’re at work and they can’t pick up the phone and call,” said Justin Jones, vice president of engineering. “However, they can text and ask the one question they need to get answered before they go to the store. We have a solution now for dealers that is going to allow them to text directly with consumers and close deals.”
In addition to a new version of the company’s Measure Estimating software, Measure Square launched two new products for 2020. One is Job Tracker, which is designed for commercial contractors. “Essentially, they are taking on the measure estimating data and are able to use that for the tracking,” said Steven Wang, founder and president. “It is not only for the estimating; they can use it for the production as well. This way it is tracking the whole life cycle of the project.”
Another program Measure Square introduced is called Property Management. According to Wang, with this solution, multi-family contractors will have a tool to help track their properties.
Mobile Marketing showcased a plethora of new offerings, including 360-degree Customer Messaging, Google My Business Listing Management, Geo-Fencing and Licensed Video Content—to name a few. However, its Enable accessibility technology stole the show.
Through a partnership with AccessiBe, Mobile Marketing is able to make its clients’ websites ADA compliant. “What Enable focuses on is basically web accessibility for people with disabilities,” said Carole Cross, founder and CEO. “This includes people who may be blind and need screen readers, who may have epilepsy and need motions to stop, who have color blindness, even cognitive disorders.”
Pacific Solutions has developed a new multi-family tool to help flooring stores that specialize in apartment replacement. According to Bob Noe Jr., president, it’s high production for these companies that do apartment replacement. “They already know the size of the units; they don’t really go measuring,” he explained. “They become order takers for the property manager.”
The company’s new app allows the jobsite superintendent to go into a unit, determine what areas need to be replaced and with what products and then order what is needed. The system also shows a floor plan on the user’s phone. “For anybody who does multi-family replacement work, you get a time-saving solution that also makes it so easy for their customers to buy from them. They would want our software just to leverage that tool.”
Podium has added capabilities to allow internal chats between team members to avoid bulky email threads. This allows installers, sales reps, showroom managers and owners to communicate with each other about a specific customer or product.
“We also launched a payment functionality where people can complete payments through text message,” said Nate Tall, director of sales – home services. “For example, if you have a lot of contractors or people who do half up front and then half when the job is done, sometimes customers change billing info and they can’t collect payment. We make it easier through text message so you can collect payments.”
At TISE, QFloors hosted a launch party to celebrate the official release of QPro POS+, the company’s new browser-based cloud software program designed for smaller dealers in the flooring industry.
“When we first started designing QPro, my charge to the team was that it has to work as good as QFloors in a web browser, which is a challenge because the speeds have to be the same as if you are on a computer,” Chad Ogden, CEO, explained. “It’s starting to look and act just like a QFloors program, but in a web browser. We’ve updated the sales order so you can arrange things, drag and drop, just new features that you would expect. As time goes on, we will continue to add features to QPro.”
The company’s current focus is on a conversion program that will allow QFloors data to be converted into QPro, allowing current QFloors users to move over to the new system.
RFMS highlighted its new CRM solution, which will make its way to the market toward the end of the first quarter. One of the key selling points, according to Madeleine Bayless, director of human resources and payroll, is that the CRM integrates with RFMS’ other products.
“Dealers are excited and we’re getting good feedback,” Bayless explained. “It has some features that no one else is doing, such as our web portal. When the user interacts with a client, they can send them a link where they can post sample information of what the client checked out, their quotes, their proposals and they can have conversations with their salesperson. The client has the ability to sign off on the proposal and, coming soon, also pay for the quote online.”
According to Bayless, RFMS is currently working on a ware- house inventory module. “We want to make sure all of our clients—regardless of their position in the store—can operate with a mobile device,” she said. “With the module, warehouse staff will be able to receive rolls and items from an iPhone or iPad.”
RollMaster continues to add on to its modules in Tableau, which offers dealers a new way to view crucial data. What’s more, the company is doubling down on its b2b efforts.
“We’re recreating our modules in Tableau,” said Kelly Oechslin, product marketing manager. “We’re able to incorporate a lot of the customer feedback from the older system into Tableau. It’s allowing us to customize for more niche areas as well. We’ve rewritten the accounts receivable dashboard that lets people see things that would normally be in two different places. We also have the inventory dashboard that allows the user to forecast and determine how much they need to order. It also allows them to automate different reports to themselves and their sales staff. We just wrapped up the third round of our sales dashboard, and it gives them about 12 different time periods to come against. They can automate all the reports.”
RoomVo allows consumers to visualize a specific flooring product in their home before they purchase. According to the company, this addresses any uncertainty the customer might have during the selection process.
“The benefit is it leads to a faster purchasing cycle, allows consumers to engage more fully and stay with a shopping experience the flooring dealer creates,” said Stephen Caldow, director of marketing.
Caldow explained that while shopping can be confusing thanks in part to the different types of flooring, most consumers are just looking for the right design. “We’re able to offer this technology and allow them to put it on their websites for free through our partners such as Engineered Floors,” he explained. “We want to make it as easy and fast for dealers to get on board. We’re expanding our partnerships and expanding our products, including countertops.”
Jason Goldberg, CEO of America’s Floor Source and founder and CEO of Retail Lead Management, has launched TraLaMa, a platform that connects businesses that need labor with laborer. TraLaMa, which stands for Trade Labor Marketplace, allows installers to use the site for free to connect with dealers who are looking to complete various jobs.
How it works: A dealer signs up with TraLaMa and pays a fee to put up a job posting. This post will include the type of job as well as the day and time the installation needs to be completed. Once the job is posted, qualified installers within the dealer’s area will be notified. Then, the installer can reach out to the dealer to talk more about the job.
Vogueboard is a sales management platform for flooring materials. Created by president and CEO Amadou Agne, Vogueboard is meant to connect manufacturers, distributors, retailers, architects/designers and buyers together to accelerate sales and procurement.
“Vogueboard provides an integrated solution that is all cloudbased,” Agne explained. “You create an account and within half an hour you can start using it. It is low cost and minimal risk to use. We are also part of fcB2B and have integrated with all of the major manufacturers.”
With Vogueboard, users have access to sales automation, CRM, networking as well as a digital storefront or online marketplace. This solution allows for ERP integration through APIs, provides real-time inventory and order tracking, automated quotes and order processing and instant and accurate product data.