Las Vegas—Attendees at this year’s Floors & More convention got their first look a host of programs designed to boost member revenues and service offerings while growing share in their respective markets. The latest initiatives include a new partnership with a prominent digital marketing firm that promises to elevate members’ social media marketing skills, as well as a new tiered membership system offering a host of benefits to a much broader spectrum of residential retailers.
According to Vinnie Virga, president and CEO of Floors & More, it’s all about giving members more—more ways to effectively market, merchandise and, of course, make more money. “We are in the midst of a full-on renovation of our suite of digital tools,” he said. “It’s a major upgrade.”
This upgrade, he told attendees, comes courtesy of a deal with Mobile Marketing to take over the group’s suite of digital marketing tools. Effective immediately, Mobile Marketing will not only manage the websites of Floors & More members—which include Floor to Ceiling retailers as well as Big Bob’s Flooring Outlets—but also provide in-depth analytics to track leads and other key metrics while better managing social media marketing efforts.
“We’ve talked to a lot of different vendors, retailers and manufacturers, and we believe Mobile Marketing is the leader in this space,” Virga told attendees. “They provide some of the best flooring websites available today, and they are well capitalized. More importantly, they prioritize their clients, not their own agenda.”
Virga shared statistics showing nearly 60% of large-volume dealers in the U.S. use Mobile Marketing’s services. That speaks volumes, he said, for Floors & More members who are now transitioning to the new digital marketing agency. “We’re moving fast,” Virga said, adding Big Bob’s Outlets are already on the new platform. “Our members are going to have new and improved social media capabilities and really cool technologies and visualization tools. Plus, analytics that help you then track a host of things, including conversion rates.”
Bringing more than 30 years of marketing experience across various industries, Carole Cross, CEO and owner of Mobile Marketing, assured retailers of the company’s renown digital marketing capabilities. “Our deep integration and our relationships will be able to offer you exclusive things that you just can’t get through any agency,” she said. “We work hard behind the scenes, bringing products and services to retailers.”
Floors & More retailers FCNews spoke to expressed optimism about the new partnership with Mobile Marketing. “I’m very excited about the new Mobile Marketing deal,” said Butch Dillon, owner of Wyoming-based Sheridan Floor to Ceiling, a Floors & More member for the past seven years. “[Digital marketing] is something that I’ve always pushed aside. I dabble a little bit with Facebook, social marketing, radio, but I’ve been kind of scared of it just because it’s a whole animal by itself. I just need to embrace it and move forward. I think it’s going to be a lot easier to use this format.”
Blair Schmoekel, owner of Ogden’s Flooring Design, with five locations in Utah, said he feels the new deal with Mobile Marketing will only further streamline the company’s digital marketing efforts. “I am not really proficient on anything technical, so I was very excited to hear about this new deal,” he said. “I think what they had before was pretty solid and we’ve got a good digital presence, but I’m pretty excited about an upgrade.”
More membership options
As Floors & More looks to help retail members significantly improve their operations, management of the buying group—which is just over 80 members strong—is offering new ways for potential members to join. This entails expanding services while lowering the cost of admission. To that end, Floors & More has unveiled a new pricing structure designed to give retailers more options and, hence, more incentives, to sign up. What used to cost $1,600 a month will now be available for as little as $349 a month. Prospective Floor to Ceiling members—the segment of Floors & More focused on independent retailers—will have a choice of five different tiers of membership.
As Vinnie Virga Jr., Floors & More vice president, explained: “There’s a two-tier system for marketing for those that are really more concerned about getting help with their website, digital presence and search ranking; the merchandising side might not be as meaningful to them, although there will still be a merchandising aspect of that program. Then there’s the people who are the opposite. They love their marketing, and they’ve got the resources to do that, but they still see the value in taking advantage of the rebates and the private brands and the national promotions. We also offer the standard membership, which is the combination of those two approaches. There’s also an upgraded version of the marketing and an upgraded version of the full membership.”
By doing this, according to management, Floors & More is able to create different offerings and pricing tiers so that anyone—whatever their business model—has a way to be a part of the group and find the right model that fits their needs. “We really want to be more accommodating to allow more people to take advantage of the program,” Virga Jr. said. “At the end of the day, we don’t want people to be deterred by a price tag. And this allows them to say, ‘You know what? I want to try this.’ If it works well then it’s easy for them to segue into other aspects of the program.”
While the $349 monthly plan has some limitations, it still packs a valuable punch. “It’s based on the idea that one size does not fit all,” Virga Sr. said. “But it will have rebates, it will have our vendors and it will have a strong digital marketing presence. It’s a heck of a program at that kind of a price, which means we can help a lot of people today who currently don’t really give us a good look and understand the value because they’re scared by the price tag.”
While on some level it may sound too good to be true, Floors & More management assures potential members that they have much to gain—and little to lose—by taking the plunge. With the old pricing being a barrier to entry, the new, reduced pricing expands options for the retailer.
“This new structure allows us to do something that none of our competitors can do,” Virga Sr. said. “It allows us to really create a track in the group, because it’s our belief people will enter the group at that value equation and quickly see all the things we do.”
First-time conference attendees like Patrick and Mary Guiry of Englewood, Colo., who are new to the retail side of the business, are going all in. “We were very impressed with what we heard, at the conference,” Mary Guiry said. “This group is so well organized and put together. The day before the meeting I wasn’t sure if this was the best option for us; today, I would definitely say yes to joining.”