Spokane, Wash.—When Daltile took the wraps off Statements 2.0 a little more than a year ago, the company knew it had to convince retailers that the updated showroom-within-a-showroom concept would be worth the $30,000 investment—especially those who had been having success with the original version. Nearly 14 months later, the returns are overwhelmingly positive. Case in point is Drew Barber, co-owner of Floor & Home by Carpet One based here. Barber, who has three locations and another about to open, committed to Statements 2.0 boutiques in his three newest stores based on the 11-month success of the flagship location in north Spokane.
Floor & Home has always been a big stocking tile dealer of the major brands—Daltile, Emser, Surface Art, Bedrosians, United Tile, Florida Tile, Arizona Tile, etc. But since investing in Statements 2.0, Daltile has become the retailer’s largest supplier with business increasing from 40% of all tile sales to about 80%. What’s more, Floor & Home’s overall tile business has increased between 25% and 30% with close ratios up significantly from 40%-50% to as much as 70% for consumers who walk into the Statements boutique.
What made Barber take the plunge and make a $120,000 investment in Statements 2.0? For starters, he liked the concept of a showroom within a showroom. “It was an easy shopping experience for the consumer and an easy selling experience for our salespeople,” he explained. “It provided all the looks and patterns a consumer would need. There were marketing campaigns. There were co-op dollars. There were online leads from the local Daltile showroom. We drank the Kool-Aid.”
The simplicity of the showroom format was a huge selling point. “If you walk into a showroom and there are 30 different tile displays, it can be very overwhelming,” Barber said. “This helps narrow it down and shows consumers, ‘Here are some wood looks, here are some concrete looks,’ and it really simplifies things instead of having so much thrown at them.”
Simplicity translates into those increased close ratios. “They spend more time in there because you have a designated design table, which makes it easy to shop,” Barber said. “You’re not having to deal with heavy samples, and shoppers have somewhere to lay it. It just makes for a nicer shopping experience.”
Barber derives leads from a variety of sources, including the Internet, social media or the local Daltile branch (which does not sell direct to consumers), something Barber said cannot be underestimated. “The Daltile team at the branch will help navigate consumers to our locations,” Barber said. “And when we get consumers who have visited the Daltile showroom, they’ve already picked out what they want. This allows us to maintain a strong margin as the consumer has already fallen in love with a design and is willing to spend a little more than she was planning on initially. Again, something else that improves close ratios.”
Statements 2.0 dealers also are given an edge with leads that come from Daltile’s website as they vault to the top of the dealer locator. “You’ll put in your ZIP code or city, and then it will list our elite Statement dealers first,” said Patrick Warren, vice president, residential sales, dealer and showrooms. “You can select the Daltile showrooms or slab yards or authorized dealers.”
Barber said sometimes sales associates will guide the customer to the Statements 2.0 boutique as they get more comfortable selling tile, but they’re also seeing more people come in and either ask for Statements 2.0 or gravitate toward it. “The presence in the middle of the showroom of this sleek design of displays that all match with digital TVs draws them there,” Barber said.
The other thing about Statements 2.0 that made it attractive for Barber was its flexibility. “It’s not just one size fits all,” he said. “There are different size options depending on the showroom and what you want and don’t want to put in. Maybe one thing doesn’t work in this market will work in another area.”
From day one, Daltile’s strategy, according to Warren, was to establish continuity between the online shopping experience on the Daltile website along with the in-person experience in the Daltile showroom and Statements showroom. “So when a consumer comes in there’s continuity, and then once they’re in it’s not a piece of tile; there’s a story because there’s too many pieces and parts and trim and it’s very complicated to visualize it. So we’re trying to help with continuity, we want to help them select and the RSA closes it. That’s the strategy.”
Barber noted that Daltile has lived up to everything it presented regarding Statements 2.0., adding: “We’re getting the online leads, we’re getting the support from the branch, we’re getting marketing support throughout the year, we’re getting co-op, we’re getting samples here on time, we’re getting higher margins on our product and jobs, and we’re providing an amazing shopping experience.”
The proof is in the pudding. In the 20-plus years the Spokane store has been in existence, ceramic tile sales have never been higher than they’ve been in the last 11 months, coinciding with the Statements 2.0 launch. “We’ve always been strong in tile, but as we’ve partnered with Daltile as a whole and added Statements 2.0, we’ve seen sales get even stronger,” Barber noted.
Return on investment
Admittedly, a $30,000 outlay is nothing to take lightly. The key is return on investment. Barber said a typical retailer in a typical market could realize that $30,000 investment within in a year, “without a problem.” To that end, the year-long success in Floor & Home’s oldest store prompted Barber to put Statements 2.0 in stores that have recently opened or are about to open. And early returns on the four-month-old location are good. We are seeing a drastic increase in our purchase orders to Daltile since incorporating 2.0 into our business.”
Ask Barber what makes Daltile the perfect partner, and he rattles off several attributes. “I think Daltile brings the highest-looking designs and a good offering across the board. Inventory-wise, they’re probably the best because 85% of what they sell is made here in the U.S. or Mexico. So you’re not having to bring it over the water.”
And then there is the service component that Barber said is second to none. “Our Daltile team from our local rep to our regional vice president has dug into our business, found out how they could gain more stocking positions and how they can be more competitive, bringing in exclusive products to get more aggressive price points, and just getting creative to help us be as profitable as we can be.”
Daltile has also helped Floor & Home delve into other products, which has only increased business. “As an example, they helped us diversify into exterior pavers,” Barber said. “We’ve just completed two large projects with Daltile exterior pavers this summer.”