These Flooring Trends Might Surprise You

Styles come and go, and then come back again and that’s just the case for clothes–home design trends also experience shifts. Pastel pink tiles of the 90s. Checkered board floors of the 50s. Each decade seems to have its own signature look when it comes to flooring and interior designs. As flooring manufacturers, vendors and retailers, it’s important to stay on top of consumer trends because tastes do change, and that in turn affects supply and demand.

With the pandemic allowing more people to stay and lounge around in their homes, many people are looking to renovate. Flooring is a great first step to that process. Let’s take a look at what trends we think will stick out through 2021.

Hardwood: always a classic choice, hardwood can be elegant and modern at the same time. This year, you might want to take notice of cool color tones, wide planks, and environmentally friendly finishes. Source: The Flooring Girl.

Antimicrobial: health and safety are at top-of-mind now more than ever. “Antimicrobial” or “antibacterial” types of floors are those that are finished or with technology (i.e. Microban) which help inhibit the growth of bacteria.

Terracotta Tiles: social media is going crazy over these! These give a space a rustic, earthy charm if we do say so ourselves and they are less expensive than other ceramics. They can be as basic or as ornate as a home remodeler pleases–check out all the varieties here and you’ll see why they’re growing in popularity!

terracotta tiles

If you want to visualize yourself as a renovator and understand the decisions they have to make before buying flooring, check out this video:

While there may be some debate on which flooring styles may ultimately takeover and be the next big trend, there’s one thing that will always ring true for consumers looking to renovate–they don’t want to wait around for pricing. With a long laundry list of items to buy and things to fix, a home renovator needs to know what flooring is in stock and what the cost is. As a retailer, a customer on the showroom floor will expect quick answers and paper pricebooks won’t cut it.

VendorPriceBook streamlines communication between vendors and retailers so looking up pricing and inventory can be made on-the-spot using a mobile device or computer. To learn more or to start your free trial, please go to VendorPriceBook.com.

How Not having Streamlined Communication Can Wreak Havoc on a B2B Business

The B2B (Business-to-Business) world is steadily growing every year. In the past, B2B construction businesses relied heavily on in-person collaboration through trade shows and conferences. With the advent of the COVID-19 pandemic, a shift towards digital collaboration pushed many B2B businesses out of their comfort zones. This gave the B2B world more incentive than ever to pivot to using digital platforms. Furthermore, the pandemic exposed problems that can occur when a business does not have streamlined communication within these digital platforms.

Imagine this scenario: a home supply store wants to buy flooring from a supplier. They will likely want to shop around and be able to instantly gain answers about pricing and inventory levels. While trade shows might have worked as a one-stop-shop in the past, the COVID-19 pandemic brought these to a halt. Now it’s on the home supply store to start researching flooring prices, and these are often kept in a paper price book, requiring another salesman’s time and effort on the other end of the transaction.

The Problem with Relying on Paper

Oftentimes, B2B buyers need answers fast and want to be able to quickly compare pricing between competitors. Forrester analyst Stephen Casey noted that B2B buyers who are put in immediate contact with a live salesperson (which is necessary when prices are kept in a paper/PDF price book) could be put off by that experience. Instead, buyers want to do their own element of shopping around and becoming informed on their own before being put on the spot. Creating digital elements to a company website that include company pricing and other frequently updated information can make B2B buyers feel more in control of the experience. Furthermore, it would save both companies time and resources in the long-run, since the supply company needs to staff someone to flip through the book and look up prices for each inquiry.

Chatbots and Virtual Assistants

Chatbots are becoming increasingly useful for this very purpose. These are bots that can pop up once a buyer has been browsing a site for a certain number of minutes. By proactively offering pricing, these chatbots can give the buyer the answers the home supply store needs in a timely manner without having to communicate with a real person. Better yet, once the chatbot has been programmed to do this, it frees up more time for the workers on the supplier end, allowing them to be more efficient. These bots can also be updated to include the most up-to-date pricing.

Implementing Social Media

Social media can also help streamline communication and boost sales–but only when it is being used efficiently. In a study conducted last year out of Sweden’s University West, researchers examined how social media could be effectively implemented in B2B construction businesses. The primary use of social media should be to distribute product information. Beyond that, its usage seemed to help B2B businesses immensely when there was managerial involvement to promote consistency and follow-through. In the example of the home supply store and the flooring supplier, having a presence on social media to show off available products and encourage engagement could help the flooring supplier make more contacts. The home supply store could easily connect with the flooring supplier and receive pricing information, or the flooring supplier could even post this information proactively on social media.

Streamlined B2B communication is VITAL

Working Towards a Better Future for the B2B Industry

In the context of the COVID-19 pandemic, there has been increased interest in how B2B businesses can better integrate digitally. Last year, a study out of Finland examined B2B construction companies in the eCommerce world. This study worked to identify what factors drove quality when it came to an emerging online presence for B2B businesses, and currently, there is even more research trying to look into what makes a B2B business an online success. As many aspects of the world have been forced to pivot to a digital space, B2B businesses must find ways to adapt as well. By streamlining communication to proactively offer more of the pricing and inventory online, B2B businesses can set themselves up for success in this new sphere.

VendorPriceBook is a web-based and online app that vendors and retailers in the flooring industry use to connect on-the-spot. Try out VendorPriceBook for free at vendorpricebook.com.

Is your Flooring Business Being Efficient?

A business is a multi-faceted animal that has multiple systems and processes in place to make it work. At a high-level, managerial standpoint, it is crucial to take step back to see if the systems in place are not just merely chugging along, but actually working efficiently.

When it comes to the flooring industry, it is no different. From the moment a new home owner walks onto a retailer’s showroom floor, there’s an entire workflow that is built to support that single customer. Think about it—in order to serve that one customer, a retailer must have already have a relationship with their vendors that supply them with stone, wood, carpet, vinyl, tile, laminate—they send them samples and when a customer orders, the retailer in turn may have to order a wholesale order.

So the eager customer comes to a flooring retailer—they finally chose a piece they like, but they need to ask the sales person two things—price, and availability. Easy enough, right? Unfortunately, for many flooring companies, this is not a seamless process, even in today’s age. Why is that?

Flooring prices and inventory can and will vary. This is just part of business—any business, really. So what is next for the sales person? Typically, they’ll politely tell the customer to hang tight while they hurry over to the back to look for the price and availability. They’ll either look through a shelf filled with pricebooks or login to their computer and search for a PDF or Excel spreadsheet from a particular supplier. Meanwhile, the customer out front is (hopefully) patiently waiting, while wondering what is taking so long.

Don’t make customers wait!

The sales rep takes a moment to make sure he got the right information. FINALLY, he locates the item number and unfortunately, the item has been discontinued. After the 10 minutes elapses, he walks back to the front to deliver the disappointing news.

Why is this process so disjointed and archaic? The flooring industry has not had technology in place that connects a vast network of retailers and vendors allowing them to communicate on-the-fly, sharing real-time flooring pricing and inventory…until now.

VendorPriceBook was developed by someone who felt the pain of not being able to make this system work efficiently. He was tired at how unorganized and slow the process of looking up pricing was, so he decided to change that. VendorPriceBook is a web-based and online app that vendors and retailers in the flooring industry use to connect instantaneously.

Benefits:

  • Mobile app—offer pricing right on the showroom floor
  • Up-to-date pricing
  • Offering Vendors an eco-friendly and practical way to quickly provide up-to-date pricing.
  • Maximize productivity
  • Retailers can now use this system and avoid the process of searching through hundreds of pages to find prices.
  • Strictly confidential

It’s 2021 and it’s time for your business to step in line with technology so you can save time, money and start being efficient. Try out VendorPriceBook for free at vendorpricebook.com