FloorCon 2021 offers real-world solutions
By Reginald Tucker FloorForce, organizers of the FloorCon 2021 conference scheduled to take place at the Hyatt Regency in Sarasota, Florida, November 17-19, has officially opened registration for the event. The in-person conference, which follows the success of FloorCon 2020 – which was held virtually last year – is positioned as a celebration of the independent flooring dealer amid dramatic retail changes.
“At FloorCon, we will unveil an all-in-one platform built to change the way consumers shop and buy carpeting, the way manufacturers showcase and differentiate their products, and how retailers can deliver an enhanced consumer experience that empowers them. from their competition,” said John Weller, chief innovation officer of Broadlume, the parent company of FloorForce. “All these things will be shown together at FloorCon.”
A key focus of FloorCon 2021 will be a strong focus on helping flooring retailers further embrace digital marketing strategies, especially when it comes to interacting with consumers early in the flooring research phase as they shop online for carpeting. While this phenomenon is certainly not new, the trend has accelerated due to changing consumer habits in a COVID-19 environment.
“What we’re trying to do is provide as much value as we can to help people understand what’s happening at the macro level in this industry and how consumer engagement has gone almost entirely online,” said Weller. “If you look at all the statistics, the consumer now spends 12 hours online buying floors and only two hours in a physical location. Those numbers speak for themselves — and that was before COVID! So who knows where that number actually moved. That said, the strategy that will be deployed for the future should be digital first, otherwise you will only pick up the leftovers that are left behind.”
The ability of the average carpet retailer to evolve in these challenging times and the changing retail climate will be key to their success now and in the future. FloorForce, with its deep understanding of these overarching market trends, is uniquely positioned to help flooring retailers navigate these waters. “We’re a company that really thinks about this all the time,” explains Weller. “We are constantly striving to share as much information as possible.”
To that end, a big part of the FloorCon 2021 education program will be to equip retailers with the tools they need to ensure they are approaching prospects with the right message for the times. As Weller explained, “The biggest problem before COVID was, ‘Hey, everything is going digital.’ When the pandemic hit, we were all in our homes, locked up, and the dealers said, ‘We can’t close our business. How can we help these consumers have a shopping experience similar to being in a store without going into the stores?’”
But as the world begins to turn the pandemic, floor salespeople face the prospect of consumers shifting more of their disposable dollars toward things like dining out, vacations, and leisure, for example. Combined with all the transportation and logistical challenges, on top of the labor shortages facing the industry in general, that poses a very different set of problems for the flooring dealer. All of this requires dealers to become more nimble, not just in terms of messaging, but how they operate on a day-to-day basis.
“Every dealer we spoke to has its capacity; they have installations lined up until the end of the year,” Weller said. “Unfortunately, they don’t have enough installers and half of the manufacturers can’t get the products they need, so they have a backup like never before. Many don’t know what to do. Our advice is that if they can’t schedule new appointments, they should change their advertising, but under no circumstances should they stop advertising.”
FloorCon 2021 promises to help attendees find solutions to these issues and more through a robust and relevant offering of educational sessions, information sharing and networking opportunities. Exhibition organizers also plan to unveil exciting ways to engage consumers in the store while further simplifying the online shopping process. Additionally, FloorForce has invited a special guest keynote speaker—a retired NFL coach who has been successful both on and off the field—to deliver an inspiring message to those in attendance.
“At FloorCon, we bring together what I consider to be the first users or like-minded people in the flooring industry who are not happy with the status quo,” Weller said.
Dealers are invited to register for the event here.