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Showing posts from September, 2011

Getting Found Online: a Floor Covering Imperative!

This shouldn't come as a surprise to you, but I consider Getting Found Online a Floor Covering Imperative!  I made a case for it in my last blog article - Getting Started: Social Media For Floor Covering Businesses. In this post, I want to call your attention to an ebook from Google titled ZMOT: Winning the Zero Moment of Truth, by Jim Lecinski. Have you read it? It details what goes on for consumers between the moment they realize they have a want/need [i.e., stimulus] and when they make a purchase decision [aka the first moment of truth].

Here's a link to the blog article I wrote on the subject, titled Inbound Marketing and ZMOT: Perfect Together?

Although not a surprise - we are living through the implications of traditional advertising not delivering the results it used to whereas digital marketing, including social media, is becoming more effective - I was impressed that "84% of shoppers said that ZMOT shapes their decisions. It's now just as important as stimulu…

Is competitive cooperation possible in the flooring industry?

The economy and the floor covering industry continue to struggle. One leading CEO of a large manufacturer stated “the industry is years away from a full recovery.”  If this is indeed the case, how many of you will survive without making more strategic and innovative changes in your operating structure? In this environment there is no room for complacency or unnecessary costs. Many companies achieve economies of scale through consolidation but for some that may not be an option. If consuming a competitor is not the answer for you, then consider competitive cooperation.   

Back in the late nineties I was president of a hardwood and vinyl flooring manufacturer that was assessing its distribution network - something manufacturers must do often. We tried an exercise and placed a dot on the map representing our distributors’  branch warehouses and headquarters. The result was a map that looked like it had measles which told us there was a lot of waste and duplication in our supply chain. We…

Warren Tyler wants to find a resting place for that dreaded beige carpeting

One of things is the economy. People seeking to sell their homes prior to being kicked out, banks trying to sell them, opportunists who steal these properties to sell them and realtors doing all these things. The sad thing about this whole affair is that beige doesn’t help sell homes. In fact, it is an inhibitor. I’ve proved this on countless occasions persuading landlords and builders to let us use color in their units promising that they would be among the first to move or we would replace the carpeting. It’s the sizzle! People didn’t care whether it matched their furniture of not, they just wanted the most beautiful unit. Where did I get the courage to do this? My mother always told me that if everyone was doing it: It’s wrong! The longer I live, the more I see the incredible wisdom of that statement.

Another factor is a bad economy depresses people, hence beige. During the Regan/Clinton years when everyone was rich and happy, color sold. Marketers employed by the mills have a huge…

Top cause of failed shower installations? Installer training

Flooring retailers often get blamed when a tile installation goes bad. The installer is typically the last person the homeowner sees and if everything goes well you and the installer are golden. But when the installation goes wrong, everyone comes under scrutiny.  Bad installations ruin customer relations and are enormously expensive to rectify, especially when water damage from a faulty shower install causes massive collateral damage throughout a house.  Properly trained installers can avoid such a catastrophe - that’s what this post is about.

We have learned that ceramic and stone installation failures are not usually the result of one deficiency, but rather a combination of compounding deficiencies. One of those deficiencies typically involves installer error. Combined, they can sabotage the most beautiful tile and stone designs and create potentially dangerous conditions that lead to very costly repairs.


Here is an example of compounding deficiencies in the construction of a condo…

Beaulieu International enters LVT market with SuperClick

The most exciting product at Domotex 2011 (both Germany and Shanghai) was a unique LVT called SuperClick - the fastest, easiest click system ever developed which effortlessly joins tiles while eliminating the performance issues experienced by existing LVT click systems. This morning SuperClick and Beaulieu International Group (BIG) announced big news for the international LVT market.  SuperClick and Beauflor will take the SuperClick technology to market across the globe under the names SuperClick and Dream Click.

I had the pleasure of working with SuperClick and am pleased that this technology will be coming to you soon.  Here is their press release which just went out this morning and is already getting picked up by the press.

Jim 
Jim Gould is President of the Floor Covering Institute
jgould@floorcoveringinstitute.com

Read more of Jim's postings at his Blog Roll

New floor covering opportunities revealed in the multi-family housing market

FLOOR COVERING STATISTICAL TRENDS AND OUTLOOK

As a floor coverings industry analyst who pours over housing data on a daily basis, the trends I have seen over the past five years have been pretty depressing.  I have to contend with the daily headlines about foreclosures, tight credit conditions, declining home values, and sharp drops in new and existing homes. So you can imagine how I felt when I saw the latest positive trends for multi-family housing construction.  In the first seven months of 2011, permits for new multi-family housing units jumped by 25.4% and starts soared by 51.7%.  Starts for multi-family rental units were up at an even sharper rate, closer to 60.0%.  Compare that to new single-family homes which are down by about 16.0%.

Declining home values, high unemployment rates and weak income gains that limit the ability to purchase a home mean more families no longer see the financial benefits of home ownership.   As a result, the U.S. home ownership rate has dropped to …

Thoughts on the Consumer Confidence Index

The Conference Board publishes the widely reported "Consumer Confidence Index" every month.  It is often an accurate predictor of floor covering and home furnishings sales. 

What isn't widely known is that the report can be dissected into a "Present Situation Index" as well as an "Expectations Index."  For business owners the former is more relevant because Americans are historically an optimistic lot.

Today’s press release from The Conference Board reads: “The Conference Board Consumer Confidence Index®, which had improved slightly in July, plummeted in August. The Index now stands at 44.5 (1985=100), down from 59.2 in July. The Present Situation Index decreased to 33.3 from 35.7. The Expectations Index decreased to 51.9 from 74.9 last month.  Today’s data on August reflects the fifth consecutive decrease for Present Situation Index.”       

Despite their falling confidence in the present situation, Americans are still spending money in some secto…