The allure of attending the upcoming Mohawk Edge Summit in December is compelling enough on its own considering the event was twice postponed due to the COVID-19 pandemic. But what makes it even more of a draw are the high-value components Mohawk has added to entice its retailer partners to attend (see Countdown to Edge here as well as in the previous five issues of FCNews).
A huge part of that package is the educational programming. “I’m looking forward to attending this year for the training and to see all the new products and technologies that Mohawk has to offer,” said Rick Costner, owner of Jacksonville, Fla.-based About Floors ‘n More, an Edge dealer since 2003. “It was postponed last year due to COVID-19 restrictions, so we weren’t able to attend. This year, we’re excited that it’s going to happen.”
No surprise that there will be a heavy emphasis on digital marketing at the Edge Summit due to the shift in consumer buying habits. Consumers expect a simplified shopping experience that begins online, and Mohawk wants to make sure its partners are prepared with everything they need from a digital stand-point to achieve success.
That’s welcome news to Adam Pace, CFO of Metro Floors, Lancaster, Calif., who last attended the Edge Summit in 2019. “We learned a great deal about social media advertising, especially the ROI of paid advertising versus people liking your page,” he told FCNews. “We started advertising more on Facebook because of it.”
After not only surviving but thriving through the last couple of years, Mohawk’s customers have stories to tell, lessons that were learned on how to operate a better business. To that end, Mohawk set out to build an Edge Summit education curriculum based on feedback from its retail partners.
“Post COVID-19, retailer enrichment has never been more important, particularly from peer-to-peer learning,” said Kelli Widdifield, senior vice president of marketing. “The world has changed so much in the last few years. It’s no longer about being the best flooring retailer. It’s about being a best-in-class retailer, period.”
To that end, each educational track is grounded in peer-to-peer discussions. In other words, no Mohawk executive or employee will be in the room. “Edge Summit gives our retail partners the opportunity to network and learn from their peers,” Widdifield explained. “This is some of the most valuable information that can be provided. It’s invaluable to hear how your peers are solving their local business challenges along with successful tips and tactics that are bringing them success.”
That feedback was very clear: retailers are looking for real-time, relevant business education opportunities rather than sessions focused on Mohawk-centric initiatives. “They want to hear from third-party providers, experts in their fields, to deliver the most relevant training across fashion trends, social media, reaching the consumer of today,” Widdifield said. “So that’s exactly what we are going to give them.”
Mohawk prides itself on obtaining feedback from retailers. It’s a point not lost on its partners. “Mohawk is always listening to us to figure out what we need and looking to help us with any problems we might have,” About Floors ‘n More’s Costner said. “That’s the case with our sales reps all the way up to our district managers and even the vice presidents. They’re always willing to listen and they try to help implement those things that we suggest.”
So many reasons to attend
While digital marketing initiatives and lead-generating tools are a big draw for Edge retailers, it’s certainly not the only reason dealers come to the event. “Given the fact the show takes place in late 2022, it’s the first big show that gives you an opportunity to lay out what you’re going to do for 2023,” said Roger Ratajczack, vice president of supply chain at S&G Discount Outlet, Sacramento, Calif. “Mohawk always offers good economic in- sight into where they think the market sectors will grow, if business will continue and where we can apply our focus.”
Of course, there’s new products that dealers will have first dibs on by attending Edge. “For me it’s all encompassing—you get to see the direction, the color schemes, what variety of styles Mohawk is putting the most effort into as far as qualities and categories,” Ratajczack added.
But perhaps most important is the one-on-one time dealers get with key Mohawk executives. “At Edge they are usually a little more accessible vs. Surfaces,” Ratajczack said. “At Edge they’re there primarily to help the dealers.”