By Megan Salzano While the challenges of 2020 hit us all pretty hard, the final months gave the industry an unexpected boom in business that flooring dealers are still enjoying today. In order to take advantage of the unprecedented demand, however, those dealers need to offer up products that speak to the evolving needs of their customer base. With that in mind, Dal-Tile has made great efforts to continuously offer up innovative solutions in tile that allow its dealer partners to provide proven consumer solutions in an ever-changing marketplace.
Dal-Tile’s one-two punch of innovative technology and leading style and design is what powers its product development and ongoing dealer opportunities. It is this focus, as well as providing consumer solutions, that drives the company—and its partners—forward today. “We have an incredible breadth of product and capabilities and we’re ready to focus in on the things that make a difference to both the consumer—whoever that end user is for the dealer—and our retail partners,” Patrick Warren, vice president, residential sales, dealer and showrooms, Dal-Tile Corporation, told FCNews. “We want to make sure we have a solution for consumers and also provide dealers a competitive advantage in the marketplace. If we bring both of those things together, we can’t lose.”
But you don’t have to take Dal-Tile’s word for it. Some of the company’s retail partners attest to the solutions it provides through its various tile brands—including Daltile, American Olean and Marazzi—that help support their own growth. “They are fantastic partners,” said David Chambers, director of flooring, Nebraska Furniture Mart, Omaha. “They are always coming to us with ideas and strategies on new merchandising concepts and new product development—additional ways of growing our business together. That is what we enjoy the most about doing business with Dal-Tile.”
The ‘Power 5’
Recently the company has launched what Warren calls its “Power 5,” which encompasses new-age tile solutions and advanced technologies all designed to make the dealer’s life—and the sale—easier, while providing advanced solutions for the end user.
One of those tile innovations is StepWise technology. StepWise provides 50% more slip resistance than regular tile—making these products the ideal flooring choice for safety in bathrooms, kitchens, public spaces and even outdoor areas. In addition to the slip resistance, the proprietary technology has other features, including SimpliClean for ease of cleaning and ClimatePro for creating outdoor durability.
“StepWise is truly the best product our dealers can sell today, hands down,” Warren said. “What consumer wouldn’t want to say yes to the question: ‘Do you want tile that you’ll slip less on?’ You have consumers now that are going to spend a little bit more and research a little bit extra to get the right product for the long term, and that’s where StepWise fits in. It’s not just tile. It’s tile that is designed to help their lifestyle. And it’s all built on a chassis of beautiful design and color.”
StepWise is designed to last for the life of product and is available in almost 100 SKUs across the company’s three brands.
No. 2 in the Power 5 is a new launch from the Daltile brand called “Defend powered by Microban.” It stands on the same pillars as StepWise—innovative surface technology and high style and design. Microban is world-leading antimicrobial protection that has revolutionized product cleanliness—eliminating 99% of bacteria—and taken the industry by storm. The tile innovation technology is built into the tile and will not wash off or wear away, resulting in a surface that is consistently protected from the growth of bacteria.
Jason Waggoner, business development manager, ICC Floors and Paint, Indianapolis, said the Defend product line is without a doubt a boon to business. “It is hard to show clients new features when it comes to tile,” he said. “This line offers features and benefits to show the customer—it helps our RSAs tell a story. In today’s world, with the pandemic still on everyone’s mind, being able to do something to prevent the spread of germs is a great product to offer. This appeals to any residential or commercial customer wanting to have a clean space for family, friends or [their end user].
While Defend may be new to the lineup, another product solution launched in January of 2020 has already made a name for itself in the marketplace. With the launch of RevoTile, the company tackled a major challenge plaguing the tile category—the installation crisis. RevoTile is a patented porcelain tile floating floor system that installs two times faster than traditional tile. Offered in 26 marble, wood, stone and concrete looks, it gives genuine tile the chance to be installed just as fast and easy as any floating floor on the market.
“That is a very innovative product that hit the market,” Nebraska Furniture Mart’s Chambers said. “And it came out at really good time because the DIY segment is really taking off with the consumers, and this product is ideal for that DIY customer. We’ve been able to position that product in our DIY lineup and really educate the consumer that, hey, you can do tile yourself. Daltile has been a really good partner with RevoTile.”
Another peg in the Power 5 of tile innovation is Daltile’s Xteriors program. With the ongoing trend of homeowners bringing the indoors out—magnified by the need for added space at home during the pandemic—Xteriors aims to give dealers a new profit center. Xteriors, as the name suggests, is a collection of elevated tile products designed for outdoor living.
Chambers said that while exterior application is still a new piece of the puzzle for tile dealers, it is one that offers significant potential. “This is a strategy that we are trying to build and looking for new ways to gain sales growth. I’d like to think that it’s going to take hold and become a regular part of the lineup.”
But what is product without exemplary service? Daltile answered the call there as well with the unveiling of its ProExchange platform—the last piece in the tile innovation Power 5 product portfolio. Through ProExchange, Dal-Tile said it has put in place the most effective B2B communication technology in the industry
ProExchange gives customers access to conduct business with the company anytime, anywhere and on any device. Customers can check pricing, view product availability, request samples, find order status and much more. Dal-Tile also recently launched a mobile ProExchange app.
“This portal allows dealers to run their businesses based on their schedule, not ours—and to run their businesses in one spot, 24/7 with Daltile,” Warren said. “The idea that this is a one-stop shop is really the value add.”