Abbey Holds Annual Convention with New Members & Suppliers
Nashville, TN, March 15, 2023-At Abbey Carpet and Floors to Go’s annual convention, running March 12 through 16 in Nashville, the buying group introduced six new suppliers and a new lead management system.
Now serving the more than 700 Abbey/Floors to Go stores-which grew with the addition of 31 new members last year-are Happy Floors, Lions Floor, Shawgrass, Step Solution and Amer Rugs. Beginning June 1, Canadian hardwood manufacturer Preverco will join the group’s roughly 20 other suppliers.
ITR Economic Forecast
In his opening keynote, economist Connor Lokar said now is a good time to work on the fundamentals of your business. His firm, ITR Economics, is forecasting a national recession in 2024, though Lokar said those in the flooring business are already feeling the effects ahead of the curve and should be back on solid ground next year. In the meantime, he said commercial opportunities should hold steady.
With roughly 40% retail growth in 2021, the downturn represents more of a return to normal and is expected to be minor in comparison to the Great Recession of 2008. In addition to holding on to good people, he recommended using this time to reassess day-to-day operations and tackle back-burner projects. Growth will follow the recession, and the labor shortage will not end any time soon, he said.
Lokar anticipates an inflection point between interest rates and housing prices in the second half of this year, opening the door for prospective homeowners, and believes housing starts will grow by nearly double digits next year.
New Technology Tools
In the meantime, Abbey and Floors to Go’s updated FloorHub interface will help make business management easier and more efficient as the group adds new services and features, culminating this fall. The program offers custom websites, digital marketing and visualization tools in partnership with Roomvo, and a new member forum offers a place to share ideas and pain points.
Building on the lead generation tools introduced at last year’s convention, FloorHub’s new lead management system allows members to easily identify where in process each lead is and assign them, as well as assess sales representatives’ metrics for the size and closing of sales. There are also new estimation and project request forms, with customizable follow-up emails for interested customers.
The new product search features an Excel-like interface that allows for easy sorting, grouping and searches. The group’s private label products are currently supported, but open-line products for each member store will be added in the future, and the program will ultimately integrate with members’ websites. Built with mobile capabilities, FloorHub will allow users to access product information on the show floor through QR codes, which will be added in the future.
Abbey and Floors to Go are also updating the group’s merchandising to simple black displays to streamline the aesthetic and focus the customer on the product samples. None of the group’s offerings are mandatory, though.