FloorCon 2020, billed as the industry’s first digital, interactive flooring summit, took place Oct. 15-16 and welcomed 2,100 attendees. Over the two-day period, the digital show focused on providing flooring dealers with technology and knowledge necessary to thrive in today’s digital-first world—combined with the benefits and opportunities of a traditional trade show.
Following opening addresses by John Weller, Michael Vogel and Todd Saunders, executives of Broadlume (the organizers of FloorCon 2020 and parent company to FloorForce and Creating Your Space), Day 1 kicked off with the launch of FlooringStores United, the company’s flagship marketing program.
FlooringStores United features an integrated suite of sales tools, a year-round calendar of turnkey digital marketing promotions and limited distribution access to products from Raskin Industries, Haines and Revolution Mills. In addition, attendees learned more about Mohawk’s Omnify program. “FlooringStores United provides dealers with the tools, data and products they need to move customers through the floor buying process quickly and seamlessly—a process Broadlume has termed ‘digital retailing,’” said Caitlin Tateishi, Broadlume’s vice president of enterprise.
This online-to-offline experience is intended to remove many of the traditional points of friction that exist today when a customer searches, shops and buys flooring—and it promises to elevate independent flooring dealers.
As part of the FlooringStores United suite, Broadlume also announced the launch of DealerHQ—Broadlume’s proprietary lead management platform. This all-in-one dashboard provides flooring dealers with up-to-the-minute leads and performance reporting, a way to compare reports and the details of each customer that interacts with their store’s content and ads. In addition, dealers can respond to every lead that comes into their DealerHQ dashboard, alongside their customer notes and history.
Every FlooringStores United dealer is also provided with a dedicated digital account manager. “We aim to give independent flooring dealers an unfair advantage over their competition,” Saunders said.
During the Day 1 event, Broadlume also announced a partnership with Podium, an interaction management company. Podium Interaction Management allows dealers to directly chat with customers on their websites, communicate internally with in-store team members, collect payments and schedule and confirm in-home estimates.
Also making its debut is the Broadlume Visual Shopping experience, a program designed to provide the first step in digital retailing by bridging the gap between the online website experience and the offline showroom experience.
Day 2 kicked off when John Weller, Broadlume chief innovation officer, took center stage for a discussion on the necessity of digital retailing. According to a KPMG consumer study highlighted during Weller’s presentation, 58% of consumers said they preferred to shop online because they were able to do so 24/7. Another 54% preferred it because it allowed them to price compare while 40% said that online shopping saved them time.
Weller’s presentation aimed to show these metrics make one thing clear—digital retailing creates an integrated, frictionless website-to-showroom floor buying experience, and has never been more necessary for flooring dealers.
For example, the smartphone revolution has accelerated the need for a seamless buying process that begins online, uses personalized information to move a customer through the sales funnel and ends with an informed RSA selling that customer exactly what she needs. In short, it has accelerated the need for digital retail. The future of consumer habits is changing—and flooring dealers should take note.
During Day 2 of the event, FloorCon also offered several master classes targeted to flooring dealers.
Joanna Chuck, head of co-marketing at Google, led a presentation on changes in consumer behavior and how those changes impact flooring dealers. A few key takeaways:
- Mobile usability has never been more important
- Consumers’ attention spans for information that does not apply to them is shorter than ever before—but their attention to targeted information is higher
- Consumers expect a frictionless buying experience
Dimitar Alexandrov, Broadlume’s chief product officer, delivered a presentation on the Broadlume Visual Shopping experience. Described as the first step in digital retailing, it bridges the gap between the online website experience and the offline showroom experience.
This is accomplished using:
- Augmented reality (AR) product visualization tools that allow consumers to find products on dealers’ websites and then see how those products look in their homes using a smartphone.
- Built-in messaging platforms that allow dealers to connect with consumers instantly through chat, text or phone.
- In-store visualization kiosks that allow RSAs to help guide conversations with consumers who have already researched and selected from online product catalogs.
- E-commerce sampling, which bridges the gap from offline to in store.
Each of these features is integrated into Broadlume’s DealerHQ.
With 70% of flooring sales now starting online, consumers expect an easy, personalized experience that helps them make an educated buying decision. The Broadlume Visual Shopping experience helps dealers provide that experience—and the sale that follows it.
Jennie Lottimer, Broadlume’s director of website, presented on the tools of digital retail in order to give dealers an in-depth look at what goes into building and operating flooring websites.
Additional master classes:
Master Class: Shop at home
Joe Zago, owner of The Carpet Guys, opened his master class by explaining that when he moved to Michigan in 2009, he had less than $1,000 to his name. Today, he owns and operates a $30 million shop-at-home business. In this master class, Zago demonstrated how he used a shop-at-home flooring method to disrupt the Michigan flooring industry—and how flooring dealers around the country can do the same. From heavily investing in advertising to outsourcing digital marketing and website design in order to focus on selling more flooring, Zago’s master class demonstrated why he has become so successful.
Master Class: Saving money with tax tactics and software
Patrick Ferries, COO of RollMaster, discussed successful tax tactics and software for the flooring industry. The bottom line: if you’re not utilizing the Use Tax, you’re leaving money on the table. And since Quickbooks doesn’t allow or account for Use Tax, you need to be sure to find a tax management system that does.
Master Class: Navigating PPP and upcoming tax laws
Continuing on the subject of taxes, FloorCon’s final master class was a course on the state of PPP—and what flooring dealers should know about upcoming related tax laws. Presented by Bob Saunders of Robert Saunders CPAs LLC, this course covered everything that has changed about the PPP program since its inception, the elements that are expected to change and how these changes will impact flooring dealers. Saunders’ previous Broadlume webinars on the subject were required watching.