By Ken Ryan
Glen Burnie, Md.—Haines, the flooring industry’s largest distributor, has partnered with FloorForce, the industry’s largest provider of digital technology, to bring lead development technology exclusively to members of the Haines Loyalty Club.
FloorForce’s platform includes customizable product catalogs, lead insights and AR room visualization. These tools are aimed at helping the hundreds of Haines Loyalty Club members to drive meaningful business growth and return on investment.
“Partnering with FloorForce is especially crucial at this moment,” said Hoy Lanning, president and CEO of Glen Burnie, Md.-based Haines. “The world is changing and, along with it, the way people shop. FloorForce will help our Haines Loyalty Club members navigate this new normal and close sales.”
John Weller, co-founder and chief innovation officer of FloorForce, noted that 2020 has challenged every business to urgently rethink their digital strategy. “This partnership will give the Haines Loyalty Club members the tools needed to provide a best-in-class digital experience at a time when it is more important than ever.”
Weller told FCNews the partnership was born out of a conversation with Haines acknowledging that the world has completely changed. “The fact is the consumer shopping experience before COVID-19 had already moved predominantly online—and by all indications it has shown that 80%-90% of decision-making time is made online,” Weller said. “With that knowledge and understanding of the shift taking place, we are delivering an online shopping experience for their dealers to sell more of their products.”
Weller quoted the famed management consultant Peter Drucker, who said, “The greatest danger in times of turbulence is not the turbulence, it is to act with yesterday’s logic.” On that point, Weller said the flooring industry has a choice: “You either move to give the consumer the online experience that is needed to shop and buy flooring in a digital-first world, or you will simply go out of business. That’s the truth.”
One week after the launch was announced, Weller reports 98% of Haines’ Loyalty Club retailers had taken on the program. “That never happens,” Weller said of the adoption rate. “They’re embracing it – we have never seen anything like it.”
Retailers see multi-benefits
One retailer who is already onboard is Ryan Commerce, owner of Indoor City, a flooring store in Harrisburg, Pa. Commerce, president of the Haines Loyalty Club advisory council, said he hopes to take advantage of the digital advertising potential with FloorForce. “We are hoping that this will help our business by driving more leads to us,” he said. “The most important thing this program can do for our members and our company is either entice customers to call or visit our showroom and give us the opportunity to work with them. The other aspect I like about partnering with FloorForce is the digital space is changing so rapidly, and I think FloorForce is on the cutting edge as it pertains to the flooring world.”
Amie Thomas, owner of The Home Center in Raleigh, N.C., also likes what she’s seeing. By taking advantage of having a full website developed, she said potential customers can see the full catalog of products the retailer offers. “When we receive leads through the FloorForce portal customers in most cases have already established which products they are interested in by looking through this catalog,” she explained.
Thomas said the reporting they receive each month gives her the opportunity to look at what she has on the floor to make sure she has the right mix of products to meet customer’s needs.
Since teaming with FloorForce, Thomas said The Home Center’s leads have increased tremendously. “This has allowed us to stay present in the market during this [turbulent] time.”