By Jacqueline Hinchcliffe Whether it’s estimating, inventory management or general lead-generation or customer relationship management systems, software tools can go a long way in enhancing the operations of any flooring business.
With more and more consumers relying on the internet to begin their shopping journey—combined with more retailers and distributors utilizing technology to connect the dots—the need for proven software solutions has never been greater.
Following are some of the latest solutions software companies are offering to help users across the supply chain improve day-to-day efficiencies.
American Business Software
American Business Software (ABS) has developed its own e-commerce platform called COLA (Customer Online Access). The software, utilized by retailers and distributors alike, was designed to provide round-the-clock access to product inventories.
HOW IT WORKS:
This platform is able to show customers available stock, what stock is coming in, what they’ve ordered and when it’s going to be delivered among other helpful information. According to Joseph Flannick, president, it is usually utilized specifically for the company’s customer base rather than a public e-commerce site. There is login information provided to the customer, by the distributor, that they use to access the platform and utilize its benefits.
“The thing about software is it allows you to use it in a more productive environment,” Flannick explained. “You don’t have to be in the office, you can be anywhere.”
Measure Square has created a web-based flooring calculator for retailers to host on their website in order for online shoppers to be able to accurately estimate their product quantity, using Measure Square’s pro estimating software, to plan their budget. The calculator can be used for carpet, vinyl, tile, hardwoods, laminates and more.
HOW IT WORKS:
After adding the free web tool to any website by copying and pasting a single line of code to their web page, it can be accessed any time. Upon opening, users click on a room shape or stairs to add it to the calculator and put in the correct dimensions. Users can then select the product type that allows the tool to calculate how much of the product is needed in order to complete the room. Users also have the option of sending their calculations to themselves, via email, while also sending a copy to the retailer. Simultaneously, retailers are able to both engage their shoppers as well as generate a lead to bring them into their store.
“In this Internet age, home consumers are pretty savvy searching online,” said Steven Wang, president. The software, he noted, helps them estimate their product usages to determine an approximate cost before they go to the store.
By utilizing its internal reporting and interface to Tableau, Pacific Solutions is able to aid dealers in recognizing trends before they decide where and how to market. The software’s purpose is to graph historical sales data in order for the dealers to spot these sales trends. After all, if a company doesn’t know what products to market and when to market them, how can they truly market to the target audience successfully?
HOW IT WORKS:
Dealers are able to access Tableau via a web browser or mobile app. After accessing on their platform of choice, Tableau gives them access to historical data within their company that shows what products are selling the most, how much of each product sold and when the most of each product was being sold. Users are able to click on specific product types, such as LVT, hardwood or carpet, to filter the data. This then isolates the data for that product, allowing the user to determine whether it is a good product to market and when to market it.
“If a dealer has a poorly designed ERP system that doesn’t track or report on their historical data, they have to cast too broad of a net to catch fish,” Bob Noe, president, explained. “However, if they have a good ERP solution that can force their employees to properly track data, then they can cast a much smaller and cost-effective net that yields a much better return on their marketing investment.”
RFMS offers a suite of apps that are designed to meet the customer’s needs in and out of the showroom. These apps allow the lead to be managed from the beginning to the end of the sales cycle.
According to Kaitlyn Harris, sales and marketing specialist, RFMS, this innovative ERP system is approved by all the major buying groups that can seamlessly integrate with each of their individual marketing needs.
HOW IT WORKS:
After starting an order in the RFMS CRM app, adding job details and product selections by room in the app, users are able to schedule the measure date and time. This data will automatically be added to the estimator’s or salesperson’s calendar in CRM or the user’s preferred calendar platform.
At this stage, the project is auto-generated in Measure Mobile, allowing added rooms and products to be seen via the to-do list. A floor plan can also be drawn as well using different drawing tools in Measure Mobile. After reviewing the project checklist and confirming the prices, the quote can be shared with the customer via text message or email.
“If everything looks good, your customer can approve and pay the quote on the spot by simply clicking the ‘Approval’ button and you receive confirmation in CRM as well,” Harris explained. With the addition of these tools, the sale is able to be completed from a mobile device or tablet, from anywhere at any time. “Once the quote is approved, you can create the order in CRM to close the sale,” Harris said.