The gradual consumer move from bricks-and-mortar shopping to online purchasing has left few areas of retail untouched. However, there are still some types of purchase that most consumers prefer to do in person, rather than online.
Home owners who are looking to buy new carpets, hardwood, laminate or vinyl floors generally like to see physical samples. This gives a far more accurate picture of the feel, quality, reflectiveness and the shade of flooring they are considering. And, of course, another major reason to buy in a store rather than online is to take advantage of the add-on fitting service - as well as advice that can be gleaned from knowledgeable sales staff.
At Vox we know we can bring real value to our clients in the $300bn flooring industry by helping them to showcase their products in all manner of retail environments - while keeping costs low and providing high-quality, smartly engineered POP.
Good flooring manufacturers need to differentiate themselves at the point of purchase. Stain resistance, wear resistance, cushioning, noise proofing, pet friendly, hypo-allergenic - what is the best way to communicate these qualities?
How do you build consumer loyalty, when shoppers are faced with a sea of carpet, tiling or vinyl? A visit to any specialist-flooring store shows the scale of the challenge for flooring brands. Shoppers face a wealth of similar-looking flooring materials, but the benefits that differentiate products are not always obvious. To the inexpert eye, laminate flooring can look very similar to engineered wood and different carpet thicknesses are difficult to appreciate when looking at samples out of context, in a way that they never would when fitted to a floor.
The major players in the flooring market don't skimp on budgets when it comes to investing in POP display equipment, but by working with Vox these budgets can work harder. With our lean engineering principles - and the supply chain efficiencies we are known for - these budgets can go a long way to creating systemised displays that will look fantastic in any retail environment. Our modular approach means displays are completely scalable and the footprint can easily be increased for, say, the duration of a special promotion.
A common problem for many flooring brands is that the hard work they put into presenting the different lines on their website isn't always reflected in POP displays in stores. Like manufacturers in other sectors, they know that people like to browse online before buying - even if the purchase is more likely to be done in person. So they make investments in their websites to communicate the benefits of their product lines, but sometimes struggle to achieve the same effect at store level, where these materials are displayed alongside their competitors'. That's where Vox can really help its partners.
One flooring manufacturer, Mohawk, is launching its Five Star program in 2019, which will see it working closely with the outlets in its Aligned Dealer network. This aims to support stores with POP material, promotions and other initiatives to help close deals on the sales floor.
Seth Arnold, VP of Marketing for Mohawk's Residential Business, gave an interview to the website floordaily.net in September, in which he explained that the company aims to ensure that consumers' in-store experience reinforces their online and digital experiences. He acknowledged that the digital space has become a key part of the customer journey and has become central to Mohawk's strategic planning.
This is exactly the type of situation where our augmented reality app, allowing retailers to see how a display unit will look in situ, will help to add value for our clients here. The app can help to speed up deals with retailers and distributors and makes the installation process faster. Flooring manufacturers are not just trying to build brand loyalty with consumers, they also want to build loyalty with the chains they are working with. Vox is the only POP partner to empower brands to extend this philosophy right through to their B2B customer offer.
Consistency between in-store displays can often be a problem for some brands. Legacy display units may still be used by some stores, looking completely different to more recent iterations on display in other chains. It's not unusual for a flooring manufacturer to have focused on a classic real-wood look for display units at one time, while a later campaign has been supported with a more modern sleek styling. But budgets haven't necessarily allowed a wholesale replacement of all units in all settings. That's where Vox's cost efficiencies can help, by making a complete overhaul much more affordable.
With high street retailers struggling in so many other sectors, flooring is a good news story, which is largely - so far - holding its own against the web. If Vox can help brands shout about their unique selling points in a retail environment, this will help the flooring industry future proof itself in the face of changing shopping trends.