By Lisbeth Calandrino—As specialty floor covering dealers look to continue driving traffic—and ultimately, sales—in a highly competitive yet challenging retail environment, many are employing creative ways to engage the consumer. That includes online, the place where many shoppers begin their journey, as well as in-store, where dealers can hopefully seal the deal.
Following are some ideas and strategies designed to help retailers enhance the overall experience for the customer while energizing your sales team.
Shop at Home 2.0.
I suggest you go big, get an RV, put on a pot of hot coffee and serve lunch when you go to the customer’s house. One thing we’ve learned from the pandemic is everyone loves having things delivered, whether it’s an order from Chewy.com or an Amazon package. My neighbor’s steps are loaded with packages, and Uber Eats drivers always seem to be at the door. The lesson? Bring the business to your customer’s doorstep.
Promote virtual workshops.
Explore creative, new ways to utilize online tools. Talk with your interior designers, paint suppliers and flooring suppliers on ways to do Zoom presentations and then post them on your social media sites. Find out if there are ways to work with local businesses that are creative and are willing to partner with you on these efforts. Create fun themes such as “Workshop Wednesday,” “Monday Motivation,” “Tool Tuesdays,” you get the idea. One of my contacts, Dianne Grossman, the “Jersey Flooring Girl,” excels in this area.
Build engagement through community.
Become more active in local or industry groups. For example, the Women of the Flooring Business Facebook group (of which I am a member) continues to grow. As a group, we are constantly conducting polls, encouraging members write blogs and reaching out to each other for ideas to help grow the business.
Look into new payment options for the consumer.
In-store financing continues to be a driver for big-ticket purchases such as flooring. Have you ever considered accepting other forms of payment such as Bitcoin and Venmo? The whole world is into it, so why not you? My friend has a small restaurant and since she put up a sign saying she takes Venmo her sales have gone through the roof.
Spruce up your store.
In my book, “Red Hot Customer Experience,” I state that “getting it right isn’t good enough these days; you must get it better!” And that means making your store a destination. Gucci’s flagship store in Italy is a great example of enticing in customers by a mixture of a cafe, museum, art gallery and shop.
Be the expert in your field.
Get your own “Design Geek Squad” or installation troubleshooters. Best Buy’s Geek Squad is a household name; why not create a similar niche for your business? It’s a great way to enhance the customer experience. It’s a great billboard and copy even if no one uses your service.
Expand your audience.
Most retailers target consumers, builders or Main Street business, but realtors and home inspectors also represent an untapped market. Think about ways you can partner with an approved instructor and build a CEU flooring class. Then you can have classes in your store. Call a local real estate broker and do a color and design class for them.
Lisbeth Calandrino has been promoting retail strategies for the last 20 years. To have her speak at your business or to schedule a consultation, contact her at firstname.lastname@example.org.