Digital Marketing: Retail: Manufacturers partner with retailers on digital marketing - June 2018

By Sonya Jennings

According to consumer research conducted last year by Shaw Industries, well over 80% of consumers start shopping for flooring online. For this reason, it only makes sense for retailers to attempt to capture customers there, and many flooring manufacturers have taken steps to support their retail partners in this endeavor.

This approach, known as omni-channel marketing, seeks to reach the customer from multiple angles, building a cohesive narrative throughout the shopping process, which, for 97% of sales, ultimately ends up in a brick-and-mortar store with an in-person purchase. While large manufacturers can fund full-scale digital marketing programs, many smaller manufacturers have proven adept at reaching Internet customers through methods that won’t break the marketing budget. We reached out to several of these organizations, of varying sizes, to find out how they play their marketing cards to build an omni-channel strategy.

At the end of 2017, Armstrong Flooring announced enhancements to its website with new features for homeowners to help guide them through all stages of the buying journey, such as getting started, inspiration and ideas, product information, installation, and where to buy. Armstrong Flooring is delivering a more visual and inspirational online shopping experience with new content and tools to increase engagement with the homeowner.

To drive consumers primed to purchase Armstrong Flooring products to aligned retailers, Armstrong has partnered with the dealer marketing support platform, Promoboxx. Promoboxx connects and aligns national brands with independent specialty retailers to increase local awareness and sales. It allows aligned dealers to promote Armstrong-approved marketing content across various social media channels, as well as via email, dealer websites and mobile ads. Content ranges from promotions to sweepstakes to new product launches. Brand-approved campaigns are customized for each retailer. Not only is the platform free for Armstrong Flooring aligned dealers, but it is co-branded with dealer business information. Armstrong reports that Promoboxx has been shown to increase foot traffic, in-store sales and customer engagement with local stores.

Shaw’s dealer locator provides consumers the ability to not only locate dealers in their area but also to see reviews, promotions, financing information and product offerings. Retailers are encouraged to personalize their featured pages so that consumers have all the information they need to take the next steps in purchasing flooring solutions. Shaw’s goal is to be everywhere the consumer shops, and its “consumer concierge” is another tool on used to achieve this end. The online concierge assists the consumer through all aspects of the flooring shopping experience through online chat. The concierge service helps consumers choose a flooring solution, providing a range of assistance, including information on specific products, guidance in the selection process, or assistance in finding the closest retailer.

Since 2010, Shaw has offered dealers Shaw Web Studio, a suite of solutions to connect retailers with online consumers. With the variety of tasks and deadlines retailers face, this digital solution gives them the means to maintain an online presence without the necessity of daily maintenance. Providing a suite of online solutions such as website creation, reputation monitoring, social media integration and lead management, Shaw Web Studio gives dealers the tools they need to reach online consumers for a nominal fee. The intent of these programs is to provide ways for dealers to communicate and inform potential customers with the ultimate goal of visiting the dealer location in person.

Mohawk’s Omnify helps retailers compete in the ever-changing world of retail. Characterized as “Simple Connected Retail,” Omnify offers retailers the necessary content, tools and reporting to enhance their digital marketing presence with website optimization, lead nurturing, reputation management, social media and retailer locator applications that are critical to driving traffic to their stores.

Launched at Surfaces 2017, Mohawk continues to enhance Omnify by constantly thinking about what retailers need based on the evolving ways in which consumers shop. This year, retailers using Omnify will experience a new command center with an advanced customer relationship management system and better ways to manage content. Additionally, more indepth reporting will analyze which products consumers are interacting with the most online and help retailers build their digital and physical showrooms based on this information.

In 2018, Stainmaster made the decision to invest heavily online-from content to platforms to retailer support. In the first four months of the year, Stainmaster has created seven new pieces of video content that are driving interest and traffic to both its website and dealer websites and through social media platforms. These videos employ direct calls to action.

In addition, the company has invested in tools that are specifically designed to help Stainmaster flooring centers and showcase dealers enhance their own marketing efforts, adding value to their individual marketing plans by automating efforts. The company is also working on technology advances through various digital platforms to drive customers into stores, testing which methods work best and optimizing those methods to deliver new tools and content to ultimately win new customers.

As an important part of its NovaFloor Elite Dealer program, Novalis Innovative Flooring is providing dealers with downloadable, pre-designed and executed digital ad services. These services were launched in May 2018 and include the program’s first three campaigns: the NovaFloor Elite Dealer announcement, the NovaFloor Us! Online Photography Promotion, and Serenbe HDC Collection’s store launch. Digital assets are formatted to fit common online ad unit dimensions such as leaderboards and skyscrapers, as well as image posting sizes for popular social media platforms such as Facebook, Instagram, Twitter and LinkedIn. Novalis plans to support every major initiative with digital asset collections and an expanded online role to promote NovaFloor dealers.

Phenix Flooring has launched digital initiatives for social media, a high priority within its brand marketing strategy. Continuing to find innovative ways to connect with consumers online is essential, and Phenix Flooring seeks to speak directly with consumers in this space in order to connect them with their local retailer. The company targets consumers through Facebook, Twitter and Pinterest and directs them to visit its “find your dealer” website page. Phenix focuses on engaging with its retailers on its own social media platforms as well. The company encourages retailers to share their content. Additionally, the company bolsters its Facebook and Instagram channels with paid media to increase presence and awareness with consumers prompting them to find and visit their local retailer.

Metroflor has active social media campaigns designed to drive traffic to its dealer locator, which then refers consumers to local dealers. The company does this through regular posts of product information and photos, short performance videos, and company community involvement. It integrates dealer participation through the company’s monthly communications with its Metroflor Aligned Dealer network.

Copyright 2018 Floor Focus 

Related Topics:Mohawk Industries, Novalis Innovative Flooring, Metroflor Luxury Vinyl Tile, Armstrong Flooring, Shaw Industries Group, Inc., HMTX, Phenix Flooring