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Intelligent merchandising in the floor covering showroom

Donato Pompo In a ceramic tile and stone showroom the two biggest challenges for customers are  visualizing how the tile or combination of tiles will look installed in the home and determining which tiles are suitable for their intended application. Figuring out how to address these two challenges should be a priority for every showroom. Along with that, conveying the features, benefits and limitations of the products is the next challenge. And perhaps the most important piece of the showroom puzzle, is to train sales people so they are knowledgeable and competent showroom consultants (I wrote about this previously on the blog in, How Training and E-learning Can Improve ROI ).   Years ago, when I was an importer and distributor with several showrooms I coined the term Intelligent Merchandising to represent the approach we developed to help our customers make selections and our sales people more effective in assisting our customers during the selection process. The challeng

Key issue: commoditization of floor covering products

Jim Gould I believe that commoditization is the key issue facing the flooring industry now. I recently wrote about this threat on the Surfaces blog site and it seems my opinion has struck a chord. Commoditization is a process that transforms the market for unique, branded products into a market based on undifferentiated price competition. Most people agree that consumers will shop on price alone if they do not learn about performance and quality differences that justify a range of prices. That is happening all through our industry. If we let it continue it could lead to the destruction of our industry as we know it. Do you agree? Read what I think is causing commoditization in our industry and what we can do about it in Commoditization - The Silent Killer Jim  Jim Gould is President of the Floor Covering Institute

Consider the possibilities: Jump into the global flooring market

Like many of you in the industry, I am just returning from the US floor covering show, Surfaces.  Surfaces followed Domotex, the European floor covering show earlier in January, which I attend every year. While sitting at the Vegas airport and thinking over these last two shows, I remembered the article I wrote recently that appeared in Floor Covering Weekly - Jump into the Global Flooring Market. I wrote this article after introducing my client, a Korean manufacturer of carpet tile, to several distributors, logistics providers and buyers in the US market. They were well received by those who understood the opportunity in this segment and the advantage of offering something new to their retailers. My client also attended Surfaces and as I reflect on the great reception they received there, I feel it underscores the point of my article... Participating directly in the global market is a great way for distributors to differentiate themselves and justify their existence. Wholesalers

Floor Covering Institute releases research on China's flooring industry, consumers, logistics

FCI has just released its latest research paper: The Growing Opportunity in China , a look at China's economy, consumer market, floor covering demand and logistics channels. Researched and authored by Jim Gould , the paper is the first of its kind to offer an overview of China from the floor covering industry point of view. Major sections of this industry paper include: China's rapid economic advancement and the growing consumer market; China's floor covering market; China's retail channel and performance; China's retail flooring channel; The state of China's logistics channel; and Channel options.  Here's a look at a few "fast facts" taken from the paper. Between 1.6 billion and 1.9 billion square meters of new floor space will be needed each year between now and 2025 to accommodate China's urban migration.  This yearly increase is the size of the entire US market.    China's floor covering market was 12.8 billion square meter

Floor Covering Institute experts to present 10 seminars at Surfaces 2012

Join us this year at Surfaces!  Register for our education classes January 23-26, 2012 -  Las Vegas, Nevada Mandalay Bay Convention Center   Monday, January 23, 2012 9:00 a.m. to 12:00 p.m. Social Media: How - To for Business Presented by Christine Whittemore Social media tools help flooring and stone businesses extend relationships with customers, however as easy as the tools are to set up, keeping them going can bring you to your knees.  This workshop will teach you how to use these tools so the resources you put into them actually benefit your business. • Identify how social media tools fit into your overall business • Assess your online presence and how to improve it • Explore best practices on how to engage with customers online 1:00 p.m. to 2:30 p.m. How to Hire for Success Presented by Warren Tyler New hires represent tremendous risk. Learn what not to ask and what you have to know about prospective employees. There are proven methods that will tell you who this new per