Thursday, January 26, 2012

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 who wait for a foreign manufacturer to walk into their office in America or who only attend domestic shows are only duplicating what retailers can do for themselves. Opportunity lies across the water. I have been finding and introducing new products into the US for decades, but I am only one man; there is so much out there for you to discover.

I encourage you to take the leap.  I'm headed to Domotex asia CHINAFLOOR in March and you should be too. It's the largest floor covering show in Asia. It's full of exciting products and manufacturers from around the world; not just Asia. My client, SuperClick, will be there again. They are a Belgian manufacturer of click LVT that got a big boost from Domotex asia and are now embarking on global distribution.  Lumber Liquidators will exhibit there this year. I'm curious to see what that's all about.  The National Wood Flooring Association will be there along with some of its members.  I know of several US distributors going to Shanghai for the show this year, but many more of you should be going.  I hope you will consider the possibilities.

Jim Gould is President of the Floor Covering Institute

Tuesday, January 24, 2012

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:
  1. China's rapid economic advancement and the growing consumer market;
  2. China's floor covering market;
  3. China's retail channel and performance;
  4. China's retail flooring channel;
  5. The state of China's logistics channel; and
  6. 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 meters in 2011. 
  • China is the second largest luxury market in the world. 
  • China is not a DIY market; consumers prefer Do-It-For-Me.
  • US exports of flooring to China increased by 36.8% in the first eight months of 2011.
  • There are 700,000 logistics companies in China.
    What does all this mean to the US floor covering industry?  Is China an opportunity or a threat? Why do some large Western companies fail in China while others prosper? How does a company begin to to assess the opportunity in China?
Join Jim Gould at Surfaces on Wednesday, January, 25 (at noon in Lagoon D) for his seminar on Expanding Business Overseas where he will also preview sections of this paper and answer questions about China. Obtain a copy of the paper on our website:
or go directly to The Growing Opportunity in China.

Tuesday, January 17, 2012

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
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 person is and if you should or should not hire them. This seminar will save you lots of heartache and cash.
• Discover how to ascertain whether your prospective hire possesses the attitudes of success
• Recognize what you can learn from their previous work experience
• Discuss how to comply with new government regulations
Tuesday, January 24, 2012
8 a.m. - 9:30 a.m.
7 Trends That are Going to Change Your Life and the Floor Covering Industry
Presented by Christopher Ramey
Your future depends on knowing consumer and industry trends. This seminar will explore the future, and how consumer trends are going to change the way you do business. 
• Recognize the nature of trends
• Explore the major consumer and industry trends
• Discuss strategies and tactics you can use to ensure you are ahead of the changing world

8 a.m. - 9:30 a.m.
The New Promotional Paradigm
Presented by Warren Tyler
Drastic economic and social changes have influenced how we promote and market our products. What worked a few short years ago does not work now. Attend this session to understand these changes and learn how to adapt your marketing and promotion efforts to the new retail paradigm. Your success depends on it.
• Discover why traditional promotional venues are not as effective in today’s market
• Identify what is effective in the new retail paradigm and how to use these new promotional venues
• Recognize the pitfalls of the new retail paradigm

12:00 p.m. to  1 p.m.
Improving Your Digital Visibility to Better Connect with Customers
Many customers start the purchase process online. If they can't find you there, you don't exist for them. This session will teach you how to maximize the opportunities to be found online beyond store hours and physical location while also building credibility and trust with customers before they walk through your doors. We’ll discuss not just your website, but how social media can help you connect with customers.
• Define the role digital visibility plays in your marketplace
• Recognize how to assess your digital visibility
• Apply best practices to improve your digital visibility via your website and using social media

12:00 p.m. to 1 p.m.
Floor Covering Sales Opportunities in 2012 and the Outlook Through 2016
Presented by Stuart Hirschhorn
The session is designed to offer the manufacturer, distributor and retailer an overview of the opportunities and challenges facing the U.S. floor covering industry.  Discussion will focus on sales by product, consumer and commercial markets, sales by channel, builder and replacement purchases, regional demographics and other trends.  The goal is to have the information needed to develop a plan to face the challenges of 2012 and beyond.
• Explore the opportunities and challenges facing the floor covering industry
• Discuss sales by product, market and channel
• Develop a plan to face the challenges of 2012 and beyond

4:00 p.m. to 5:30 p.m.
How to Transform Your Showroom from Chaos to Clam by Eliminating Merchandising Mistakes
Presented by Christopher Ramey
Review the physical, emotional and practical aspects of your showroom by exploring the best practices of the best retailers and service providers, finishing with the universal imperatives for a successful showroom.
• Identify retail best practices to avoid merchandising mistakes to ensure your showroom is unique and differentiated
• Create a new vision for your showroom by identifying how consumers shop for products
• Explore new strategies and tactics to immediately impress and connect with your customers by transforming your “showroom” into a “sellroom” 
Wednesday, January 25, 2012
12:00 p.m. to 1 p.m.
Marketing and Selling to Flooring and Stone Power Consumers (aka Women)
Women consumers make or influence over 80% of flooring and stone purchase decisions and, yet, many in the industry haven’t fully figured out how to market or sell effectively to them in-store or online. Women are demanding customers. Meet their needs, though, and see your overall business satisfaction and profitability improve. This session will review the latest marketplace trends, present a framework for marketing and selling to women customers and explore best practices from the flooring and stone industry.
• Recognize how changes in the marketplace affect how you connect with flooring and  stone power consumers
• Develop a framework for marketing and selling your products to women customers in your store
• Use case studies to learn how to improve your business’ success marketing and selling to flooring and stone power consumers

12:00 p.m. to 1 p.m.
New Green Floor Covering Backings and Installation Technology
Presented by Lew Migliore
Most of the new technology in flooring materials exists in product backings and installation. In light of concerns about moisture issues, installation failures and socially responsible flooring products, no matter what position you occupy in the industry, you must know about the changes and paradigm shifts that are here now.
•Recognize the newest technologies, techniques and trends in green floor covering backings and installation systems
•Acquire thorough knowledge of the products and see and touch samples
•Discuss how these new technologies will help you avoid problems that may require premature flooring replacement due to substrate issues and other compromising conditions

12:00 p.m. to 1 p.m.
Expanding Your Business Overseas and Overview of China's Floor Covering Market
Presented by Jim Gould
 All attendees will receive a copy of Jim's new Industry Briefing Paper:  The Growing Opportunity in China - A look at China's economy, consumer market, floor covering demand and logistics channels.
 This session is for manufacturers and agents interested in expanding their business outside of North America. We will focus on opportunities, threats and methodology of trading in new and growing foreign markets.
• Explore the opportunities that exist in emerging markets including Asia, Eastern Europe and others
• Identify differences in retail channels, consumer preferences, logistics and governmental regulations
• Discuss available government, legal and business resources for companies wishing to expand beyond the North American market

We hope to see you there!