Las Vegas—Mohawk emerged as the big winner in the 2023 Best of Surfaces 2023 competition, a contest cosponsored by Floor Covering News and Informa Exhibitions, which owns and operates The International Surface Event (TISE). Mohawk earned accolades from judges in two categories—sustainability/disruption (Color Wall) and technology (Omnify+)—as well as best booth design.
Now in its 12th year, the awards program has become the benchmark for new product excellence and booth design at the industry’s premier trade show.
The winners, announced on the show floor at Surfaces, are as follows:
- Innovation: Samplesapp
- Style & Design: Stanton (Pixel)
- Sustainability/Disruption: Mohawk (Color Wall)
- Technology: Mohawk (Omnify+)
- Best Booth Design Large: RIVA
- Best Booth Design Larger: Daltile
- Best Booth Design Larger: Mohawk
The judging was initially conducted by a panel of floor covering retailers who were tasked with poring over the scores of entries in each category to come up with finalists by the start of Surfaces. The most popular selections by consensus in each category made it to the final round, which were viewed on the first day of Surfaces—in some cases by the original judges as well as select retailers. This year judges chose three booths for Best of Surfaces awards, selecting “large” and “larger” winners as opposed to by square footage.
Retail Sample Solutions
A consumer with a sample at home is the strongest lead a retailer can have. Samplesapp solves the long-standing challenge of samples leaving the store and not returning. It helps owners grow sales and improve service. With a simple check-out and check-in process, Samplesapp starts a series of personalized, educational and helpful messages between sales and customer. Samplesapp solves a range of problems for manufacturers, reps, owners and consumers. Missing a few samples may not seem like an issue until those missing are best sellers. Samplesapp helps owners grow sales and improve service, and helps consumers make more informed decisions.
“The Samples App was one of the best introductions I have seen in a long time,” said Tom Urban, general manager, Great Lakes Carpet & Tile, Wildwood, Fla. “It can truly become a game changer for our stores and RSAs. Knowing where every sample is—and doing a better follow up with every consumer—is what all of us want. For manufacturers to know when their top sellers are missing will help them stay up with their displays, and by having top sellers in the display will help them sell more products.”
Style & Design
Style & Design is one of the toughest categories to judge, given that the entries run the gamut from all the soft surface and hard surface categories. This year’s finalists included high-end rug designs, new carpet collections that employ new technology to enhance the visuals and on-trend hardwood, laminate and SPC styles. But in the end, the judges settled on a carpet that was displayed on the floor throughout the Stanton booth.
Pixel, available in five colors, is a horizontal abstract that makes quite a statement. Small, simple accents of color make this style pop while remaining easy on the eyes. The yarn’s high sheen gives Pixel a radiant glow. Comprising 68% SD Royaltron polypropylene and 32% Polysilk, this face to face woven is dramatic and impactful.
“Pixel in the color Vintage is a standout versatile abstract that brings character and depth whether in wall to wall or custom-sized rug,” said Jonathan Cohen, CEO, Stanton Carpet. “We are honored to have been chosen for Best of Surfaces 2023 for Style and Design. Stanton owns the design process and has an incredibly talented team that always looks to elevate our offering, and I believe we did just that with Pixel. The color Vintage exudes warmth and the earth tones are hitting the need right now in the market.”
One of the judges cited the fact that Stanton had Pixel installed on the floor so she could see the product in large scale. “The colors popped,” she said. “I looked at all the finalists and I kept coming back to this carpet.”
SmartStrand Color Wall
Many entries in this category answered the bell for sustainability or disruption, but Mohawk’s SmartStrand Color Wall responded to both because the brand- new merchandising unit is coupled with a cause marketing campaign (social sustainability).
For more than 15 years SmartStrand has been among the best performing and most innovative carpet in the world. Now the carpet will be merchandised in a new to-market approach. The SmartStrand Color Wall is designed to inspire consumers to easily shop and confidently select a color and comfort level for their home. Color Wall allows the consumer to start by picking the right color on the display, then feel and pick the softness and weight that’s right for her. No other display makes it as easy to shop a better/best offering by color.
For RSAs, the Color Wall will help get shoppers back to carpet. The Color Wall will reinvigorate sales as it effectively showcases that, with SmartStrand, consumers do not need to settle when it comes to style, color, softness or durability. The color wall comes with a cause marketing campaign where Mohawk is bringing back the rhino to live on SmartStrand carpet to show its durability and cleanability. But this time it is tied to a level of conservation and cause. Mohawk is partnering with The Rhinory, a winery in Texas that houses Blake, the rhino. The Rhinory has been raising funds to start a breeding program to increase the conservation of rhinos, which are nearing extinction because of the increase in the rate of poaching. The partnership gives Mohawk an opportunity to contribute to their efforts both through an awareness and a financial standpoint.
“The new Smartstrand Color Wall is eye candy,” said Aaron Johnson, Johnson & Sons, Knoxville, Tenn. “It looks good and really simplifies selling. I love that Mohawk has partnered with the Rhinory to help save the rhinos while producing an amazing and sustainable carpet.”
When it came to the technology category, the Best of Surfaces judges were looking for something that would make retailers’ jobs easier while at the same time help them increase profitability. When the dust settled, after reviewing a host of entries, just about all had Omnify+ at the top of their lists.
Omnify+, which aims to take digital marketing to a new level, is all about driving consumer demand, which starts with storytelling. “We updated our marketing campaigns and tailored them for the markets retailers serve,” said Kelli Widdifield, senior vice president and chief marketing officer at Mohawk. “We’re answering emerging needs.”
Omnify+ places more innovation, greater sales results and world-class support at the fingertips of its subscribers. Benefits include onsite chat, website analytics, lead management, CRM connections, dedicated customer support plus unparalleled digital product and site content. Omnify+ also offers an improved digital product catalog syndication as well as the industry’s leading visualizer tool. The same visualizer tool will be available on the retailer’s website as well as on their in-store samples through a QR code integration, creating a seamless experience from their website to their showroom. The entire Mohawk catalog is on the visualizer. It is also set up to view other suppliers’ assets.
“Omnify+ makes managing and worrying about your website and digital marketing a thing of the past,” said Aaron Johnson, Johnson & Sons Flooring, Knoxville, Tenn., one of the judges. “We all have so much on our plates it’s nice to have some real help from digital experts who know exactly how to produce great results that are trackable and cost effective. Omnify+ makes it easy.”
Best Large Booth
RIVA came to Surfaces with one of a handful of two-story booths. But only one showcased a three-story structure. That was RIVA. But the judges agreed this booth was about much more than height. The space exuded class and elegance and was quite intentional in its messaging. “The RIVA booth was designed to let our guests enter RIVA’s world and all that it entails,” said Borja Iglesias, CEO. “We wanted to make sure that everyone who visited RIVA’s booth got out with a clear idea of who we are and what we do.”
The three-story booth represented the company’s DNA, Iglesias said, showcasing its renowned wood flooring collections, including the latest: LA RIVA. LA RIVA represents singular bridge between ancient techniques and modern design in eight distinctive colors made by Tom Goddijn, the artisan behind the extraordinary experience. RIVA’s innovative spirit was represented in its expanded portfolio, with new categories in wood (interior cladding, exterior cladding and decking), tile (RIVA Tile, RIVA Marble, RIVA Stone, RIVA Cement) and RIVA Moss.
“Our RIVA Galleries were present as well in our booth to let our attendees understand how to experience our products as what they are, true masterpieces, by surrounding themselves with our portfolio from floor to ceiling,” Iglesias explained. “We also had a mood wall as an inspiration panel where attendees could play with mood boards and spark their imagination with our samples.”
Best Larger Booth
The 2023 Mohawk Surfaces exhibit was created with Mohawk’s customers top of mind. The storied brand entrance and interior space is designed around a “destination” pathway with a very intentional layering of product, brand stories and legacy initiatives.
This year, Mohawk’s “experiential retail” went beyond the traditional exhibit space by including a customer lounge, oversized, state-of-the-art LED video wall and compelling product demonstrations. Mohawk’s ultimate goal was to transform its 30,000-square-foot show space into a welcoming environment where Mohawk employees could successfully forge emotional connections with customers through personalized, engaging experiences. Additionally, Mohawk utilized the space to host a series of events including a women’s breakfast, a VIP party and an all-new SmartStrand marketing campaign reveal.”
Best Larger Booth
Daltile won its second Best Booth award in the last three years. But according to Amber Leigh Hartman, senior director of marketing, 2023’s booth was the best yet.
“When creating our booth design this year, we decided to base the direction on making an impact,” she explained. “We make an impact through style and design of our products, through transforming the industry with exceptional visualization tools, by leading with trend forecasts and enhanced product curations and, lastly, by focusing on sustainability. Sustainability of not only our environment, but from a social and governance standpoint as well.
“We wanted people to walk away from our booth with the understanding we are invested in the future of our category from the technologies we develop to the footprint we leave. Through our three brands, we check all the boxes and do so with our best foot forward. Our brands have been brands you can trust for up to 100 years from the products we manufacture to the way we do business, and we will continue to be a constant for our customers in the years to come.
“Winning this best large booth award was a testament to the vision and culture our company has created centered on innovation, transformation and execution in everything we do.”