Digital Evolution - July 2013

Digital Evolution From July 2013

By Jay Flynn

 

If you are in the market for a big-ticket item—a car or new leather couch, for instance—it is very likely that you will start your shopping experience online, and today that online shopping experience is becoming more visual. Online retailers are using visualization tools, which show a product in a room scene, to help customers find the product that works for them, with the goal of getting the consumer into the dealers’ showrooms to make the final purchase.

Customers looking for flooring are also going online as they begin their quest, and they are expecting the same options for visualization that they are finding in other product categories.

The importance of this trend as it relates to flooring retailers should be very clear: consumers who are making fashion and style oriented big-ticket purchases are looking to see their product as it will look installed. In fact, data collected from the hundreds of independent flooring store websites that Creating Your Space manages proves the value of visualization. In reviewing the data from tens of millions of views in the past eight years, we find that more than 70% of consumer time is spent visualizing the dealers’ products in product catalogs, the Virtual Room Designer or in an upload of the consumer’s actual room. The average online visitor views five different products during their time on a website.

It is also apparent that major manufacturers like Shaw and Armstrong as well as the big boxes and the larger buying groups understand this. On their own websites, they make it quick and easy to view their products in catalogs and within various visualization tools.

Of course, if it were easy to visualize products in catalogs and room scenes, every dealer would be doing it today. The primary obstacle is accessing high quality, seamless images from the suppliers that are represented in a dealer’s showroom. Shaw led the way in making images available at a low cost to dealers, and Mohawk has followed with a similar offering for dealers’ catalogs. However, that leaves thousands of other suppliers that offer limited access to their product images or no images at all. 

How can a retailer begin to provide a visual experience for visitors to its website?

• First, partner with a flooring industry-focused website provider because they will have access to product images.

• Second, make sure your website provider offers a comprehensive list of suppliers. Ask to see this list before you sign a contract.

• Third, be sure that the website provider’s visualization tool works for the flooring categories you sell. A ceramic tile retailer has little use for a rug visualizer. 

If you are still not sure that visualization will benefit your business, consider the following situation. A consumer walks into a store and finds a great new laminate product for their kitchen but isn’t sure how it will look installed. The salesperson pulls out their iPad; locates the product on their company website; chooses a room in the visualizer similar to the consumer’s; changes the wall color, cabinets, and countertops to match the consumer’s current products; and shows how the flooring will look in the room—on the spot!

Even more powerful, if you are one of the dealers promoting a shop-at-home program, you are now equipped with a wide assortment of many of your showroom products via the website catalog and visualization tool. With this comprehensive and interactive online catalog, you won’t have to discover that you forgot a product sample in your showroom and miss the opportunity to close a sale.

You may think that you’ll hold off on implementing a visualization tool until the value of the concept is proven. Today, that proof of concept is complete, and your customers are expecting this experience from the company they will buy flooring from. Will it be you?

Copyright 2013 Floor Focus 



Other Archived Articles

More Designers, Architects Attend Surfaces   Full Article
Dallas, TX, Feb. 12, 2015 -- Informa Exhibitions U.S. said that attendance at this year's International Surface Event was comparable to the 2014 show.

Retail Sales Decline in January   Full Article
Washington, DC, Feb. 12, 2015 -- Retail sales fell 0.8% last month, according to the Commerce Department.

Jobless Claims Edge Up Last Week   Full Article
Washington, DC, Feb. 12, 2015 -- Initial applications for unemployment benefits last week rose 25,000 to a seasonally adjusted 304,000, the Labor Department said.

Milton Warman, Coloramic Tile Founder, Dies   Full Article
Chicago, IL, Feb. 12, 2015 -- Milton Warman, 92, founder of Coloramic Tile and Carpet Fair, died Feb. 7.

House Price Growth Steady in Most Markets   Full Article
Washington, DC, Feb. 12, 2015 -- The majority of metropolitan areas experienced steady but slightly stronger price growth in the fourth quarter, according to the latest quarterly report by the National Association of Realtors.

Stonewood Floors Names Martin Senior Vice President   Full Article
Everett, WA, Feb. 11, 2015 -- Daniel Martin been named senior vice president for Stonewood Floors.

Mortgage Application Volume Declines Last Week   Full Article
Washington, DC, Feb. 11, 2015 -- Mortgage applications last week decreased 9% from one week earlier, according to the Mortgage Bankers Association.

December Foreclosures Lowest Since 2007   Full Article
Irvine, CA, Feb. 11, 2015 -- There were 39,000 completed foreclosures nationwide in December, according to real estate information firm CoreLogic.

Nydree Expands Distribution Agreement With Spartan   Full Article
Forest, VA, Feb. 11, 2015 -- Engineered wood flooring maker Nydree Flooring has chosen Spartan Surfaces to distribute its products in Virginia, Washington, D.C., and Maryland.

Mohawk, Shaw, Tandus/Centiva Again on Training 125 List   Full Article
New York, NY, Feb. 11, 2015 -- Training magazine has ranked Mohawk Industries 14th, Shaw Industries 54th, and Tandus/Centiva 66th on its annual list of top training organizations.

NeoCon East Moving to Philadelphia   Full Article
Chicago, IL, Feb. 11, 2015 -- The 13th edition of NeoCon East will be held Oct. 28-29 in Philadelphia.

Small Business Optimism Down Slightly in January   Full Article
Washington, DC, Feb. 10, 2015 -- Optimism among small business owners fell in January, according to the National Federation of Independent Business.

Job Openings at Highest Level Since 2001   Full Article
Washington, DC, Feb. 10, 2015 -- Job openings increased to more than 5 million in December, according to the Job Openings and Labor Turnover Survey from the Bureau of Labor Statistics.

Wholesale Inventories Edge Up in December   Full Article
Washington, DC, Feb. 10, 2015 -- U.S. wholesale inventories ticked up in December but below expectations, according to the Commerce Department.

Congoleum Names O'Connor CFO   Full Article
Mercerville, NJ, Feb. 10, 2015 -- Congoleum Corporation said that Chris O’Connor has been named chief financial officer.

U.S. Firms Win Domotex Carpet Awards   Full Article
Chicago, IL, Feb. 10, 2015 -- Hannover Fairs USA said its U.S. exhibitor clients, Wool & Silk and Art Resources, received Carpet Design Awards at Domotex 2015.

Share of 'Zombie' Foreclosures Growing   Full Article
Irvine, CA, Feb. 9, 2015 -- The share of so-called "zombie" foreclosures is growing, although the absolute number is falling, according to tracking firm RealtyTrac.

RD Weis Marks 25th Anniversary   Full Article
Tarrytown, NY, Feb. 9, 2015 -- RD Weis threw a party this weekend to celebrate its 25th anniversary complete with balloons, historic photos, friends, suppliers and employees.

USFloors Names Commercial Sales Vice President   Full Article
Dalton, GA, Feb. 9, 2015 -- Rick Morris has been named vice president of sales for USF Contract, the commercial division of USFloors.

Cavinato Elected President of Global Flooring Alliance   Full Article
Dordrecht, The Netherlands, Feb. 9, 2015 -- Carlo Cavinato has been named president of the Global Flooring Alliance.