Office Flooring Trends

Workplaces are evolving in many ways, from technology and culture to how they look. As a flooring retailer, it’s essential to be up-to-date with current flooring trends.

Workplaces Are Constantly Evolving

As technology expands, we see how things are becoming smaller and thinner. Monitors are becoming slimmer; laptops are easily transportable, works stations are increasingly sharable.

In terms of flooring, many businesses are looking towards durability combined with aesthetics. For example, vinyl flooring or cement can look like wood flooring, but with benefits like being easier to clean and maintain and less costly to install.

Carpets combine intricate weaves to add an element of luxury. However, many office spaces may decide on throw rugs for color and texture.

While budgets need to be considered, it’s clear that beauty, symmetry, and easy maintenance are high on the priority list.

Durable and Attractive Flooring

Many office and workspaces are turning towards textured, patterned, and luxurious designs due to expanding upcoming products and brands.

Exposed concrete coupled with rugs is a significant trend to watch. Customers can choose from polished or stained for attractive and efficient flooring.

An attractive rug can really liven up an office

Typically, workplace installations include ceramic, vinyl, broadloom, carpet tiles, and stone to create the proper look. A significant consideration for your clients should consist of the installation process, maintenance, and projected lifetime. Identifying client needs and providing these pertinent pieces of information for them to consider makes their shopping experience easy and stress-free.

For example, suggesting stain-repellent carpets for high-traffic areas or lighter carpets can be a life-saver for customers who haven’t considered the impact of spilled coffee over time.

A Trend Towards Hominess

Flooring retailers may notice that clients might veer towards anti-carpet. Instead, they might decide on open office spaces, open ceilings, and many area rugs to mitigate acoustics and add texture and colors to create a homey atmosphere. An example might be painted concrete that utilizes color schemes to indicate special rooms or to increase productivity.

Don’t be surprised if you see a growing trend towards concrete for beautiful floors. Clients may choose the most economical option, like carpeting over existing concrete. However, it can be expensive to refinish existing concrete.

As collaborative culture grows, businesses might gear towards combining beauty with comfort. The current trend seems to be layering textures and area rugs coupled with warm and cozy designs. The role of flooring in these spaces appeals to clients and employees alike.

Shared workspaces or desk sharing allow employees to quickly connect or disconnect, carry their laptops or iPads, and communicate openly. Office spaces should reflect this open and clutter-free work zone. If people spend long hours at work, they should have a few comforts from home and an environment that allows them to feel comfortable.

Back to the Office: What Flooring Retailers Should Focus On

COVID-19 has facilitated sudden and unparalleled changes to both consumers and retailers alike. There has been a global shift in everyone’s daily lives and happiness, starting with safety protocols like wearing masks, social distancing, and not leaving the house if feeling ill. 

As the world starts to reopen, flooring retailers can expect a reengagement with new and loyal customers. Although priorities may have shifted, old safety protocols like curbside service may never drop. Consumer spending habits may have changed, as well.

The Importance of an Attractive and Comfortable Home After COVID

It’s not outrageous to suggest that, for many, priorities have shifted. As we look around and reconnect with friends and family we haven’t seen in over a year, we start getting a sense of shifted priorities. Health, family, and home have skyrocketed to the top of the priority list.

For example, millions of Americans started working remotely in their own homes. Many now realize that much of their job can be done from home. According to a Pew Research Center survey, over half do not want to return to the office after the pandemic.

Before, people would be gone from their homes for eight to 10 hours per day: working and school. Throughout the pandemic, the need for a multipurpose home began to grown. As people shifted from going to bars after work, parties during the weekend, excellent meals at restaurants, and playing at the park, it became apparent that close contact with a few trusted people became more critical. For millions of Americans, a home started meaning much more.

For flooring retailers, this could indicate a sudden growth in interest in beautifying and designing homes.

People are looking to beautify their homes

Online E-Commerce and Curbside Pickup

Retailers may see an increase in contactless BOPIS (buy online, pick-up in-store). According to RetailTouchPoints, 90% of retailers already implement this option by 2021. At the height of COVID, BOPIS orders were over 500 percent, as stated by Kibo Commerce.

Flooring retailers may also expect to continue as much of this trend as possible, especially concerning e-commerce. A survey conducted by Bizrate Insights found that more than 50 percent of customers preferred BOPIS for its convenience and safety.

Flooring retailers may also find that as fulfillment centers and grocery stores rush to execute their customer’s orders, new flooring may be necessary to reduce wear and tear on the joints while reducing the risk of falls under any condition.

Flooring retailers can enhance their customer’s experience with different online options. Tools such as room simulators or visualizer tools, for example, allow consumers to upload a photo of their home and see how it looks with different flooring.

Enhance your customer service: offer online visualization tools

Flooring After the Pandemic

As the world heads into a new chapter, flooring retailers can fulfill a necessity for spaces that require improved ergonomics within brick and mortar to enhance home attractiveness.

Communication is of Utmost Importance in the Flooring Industry

Efficiency is the key in any business, but in the flooring world, we all know that communication can be improved. VendorPriceBook.com allows flooring retails and suppliers instantly connect through chat and enables a seamless way to update pricing and inventory as well as to LOOK these up, too.

2021 Summer Flooring Renovation Trends

In 2021, summer floor renovation trends focus on effortlessness. With home as the new hub for many this year, comfort is king. A wide variety of waterproof and low maintenance options are on the market for an easy home lifestyle including the following.

Beating out hardwood flooring, laminate, and carpet is Luxury Vinyl Plank. LVP is a popular trend for 2021 because it is waterproof, easy to maintain, and does not scratch. Appropriate for families with children and dogs, LVP is easy to clean and comes in a variety of colors. LVP flooring can be installed easily, appealing to the DIY demographic. With glue down or click in place methods of installation, a family could complete their own renovation without a professional installer.

Indoor outdoor carpeting has also won a spot in summer trends this year. Improved over the plastic feeling polypropylene of the past, indoor outdoor carpet now resembles wool. It is durable, resistant to chemicals, and repels stains. It is appropriate for families with children and pets and has become popular with high-end wool manufacturers.

Vinyl that looks like wood or tile is another hot commodity this year. It is waterproof, pet friendly, and soft underfoot making it a good option for home gyms and nurseries. The corked backing deadens sound keeping rooms quieter, and it is resistant to scratches. With no dirty grout lines to clean, this vinyl can fool people. It looks so real you may need to touch it to believe it is vinyl.

Another popular trend for 2021 is tile. With the appearance of natural wood and the durability and water resistance of cement, tile goes well in bathrooms. Lastly, format tiles offer a sense of spaciousness. They cover a lot of area making a room seem larger.

If you are selling flooring for summer home renovations, this year the most popular color trend is blonde. Whitewashed and weathered looks and the grey/beige combination of “greige” are fashionable light shades for this year’s summer floor trends.

What kind of flooring are you seeing that’s in high demand this season? Share with us in the comments!

Have you connected with other vendors and retailers in flooring space in VendorPriceBook.com? Try it out, it’s free! Connect with others in the industry and grow together!

How to Offer a Virtual Flooring Consultation

Offering convenience and flexibility is one of the best ways to cater to your clientele, especially when it comes to complex home projects. By providing virtual consultations, customers can meet with you and your dedicated flooring team from the comfort of their own homes. You can help them realize their decor design and style while offering advice regarding which products look best in their homes.

From the first steps of choosing new flooring to having it installed, customers appreciate guidance throughout the process.

Replacing floors can be daunting and overwhelming, but you can keep the process from being stressful. You can help your clients research and settle on a plan so they can get the floor they want.

Encourage your customers to look at every available flooring. This is the time when they can let their imaginations run wild while also taking stock of what they want their budget and design to look like. Once they have a good idea of how they want their flooring to look, you can start helping them figure out how to achieve their dreams.

Your virtual flooring consultation gives your clients the space to figure out their price range that fits perfectly with their needs.

Help Your Customers Upgrade Their Home

Offering virtual flooring consultations keeps home improvements safe and convenient. They can easily choose from your extensive assortment of flooring choices, including tile, hardwood, carpet, and more. If they are considered with sanitary issues with flooring, don’t forget to mention any of your antimicrobial options.

Once they have decided on a floor style they would like to visualize, the next step is to take a picture of the room they would like to improve and simply show it to you over the web meeting. They can even bring you to their room during the video call! The consultant will be able to make some quick recommendations or use the photo and later assist with using a visualization software to help the customer see all the possibilities unfold before their very eyes with a realistic conception of how their new floor might appear.

Would You Prefer to Stay Home? You Can Still Shop for New Floors

Changes in the world have inspired us to rethink how we should approach how we stay connected with clients while showcasing our products. Virtual flooring consultation allows retailers to do a virtual consultation via zoom or phone at any time convenient to customers.

You want to demonstrate that you work hard to keep your customers and their families as safe as possible. We all face the same challenges, but we work every day to adapt and improve, so it’s important to provide this option to consumers.

Plus, it makes it easier for customers to simply book an online or phone appointment so you can offer insights for their projects and offer solutions.

If you want to go one step further in enhancing customer service, you have to think about getting them the most up-to-date pricing and availability for what they want. VendorPriceBook makes this easy by providing flooring suppliers and retailers a cloud-based application for instant communication. No more flipping through pages, searching through emails – VendorPriceBook is here to help stop the chaos and streamline communication.

Early American Flooring: From Dirt to Hardwood

Pioneering days in our country were hard. Everyone had a dirt floor. A house was considered solid if it had walls and a roof to keep the cold and wind out. These were the most important aspects of adequate housing in those early days. Floors were the last thing on the list for a good house. When the economy improved, however, this changed, and wood flooring came into fashion.

At first, Early American floors were made from rudimentary wood pieces which were naturally hard, large, and included sizeable knots and holes. As saws and tools evolved during the industrial revolution, the craft of creating hardwood floors taught a lot about wood grades and gave way to a developed understanding of lumber as a product.

As the industry developed, softwoods became categorized as stress-graded lumber used for load bearing positions such as for joists used in flooring. Hardwood, from slower growing trees, produced lumber with a more intricate design and higher density suited for flooring due to the aesthetics. Based on appearance and the amount of usable cuttings, hardwood Number 2A Common grade, abbreviated as No. 2AC, also known as the Economy Grade, is the grade often selected by the hardwood flooring industry today.

Up until the mid-20th century hardwood floors became a status symbol of laborious installation. Made from white oak, chestnut, maple, or black walnut, their demand increased exponentially along with the population of the country. After the Victorian Era, this boon eventually gave way to manufactured materials requiring less effort. With the look of real hardwood, engineered wood provided the same look and feel for a much cheaper price.

However, when it comes to manufactured products, all engineered hardwood planks are not created equal. When choosing engineered wood, it is important to examine the thickness or depth of the top layer. Some have thinner top layers which can only be sanded a limited number of times as opposed to a top layer with a thicker depth that can be sanded many times.

When considering real hardwood floors, the grading system is useful because it serves quality assurance needs. It is also complex and deserves a few moments of study. Here is the list with explanations for hardwood lumber grading categories. In addition, wood hardness can be determined through the Janka Hardness Test.

Although it is a lot of work to produce real wood flooring and the price is quite a bit higher than engineered wood, it is nice to have choices, and both are available today. From reclaimed lumber used to replicate early floors, to high end authentic hardwood, brands for each are widely available. If you are seeking high level quality, Bruce is one business that can be trusted. Having been in business for 100 years, they have proven themselves. Sourcing their wood from the Appalachian Mountains, this brand is at the top of the list for precision, real hardwood floor installation and customer service.

One point to be aware of is, after concerns of deforestation surfaced in the general public with the “Save the Trees” Movement, it is reassuring to know that contrary to popular belief we are not running out of hardwood trees. There is an abundance of forestland available to responsibly sustain our hardwood floors. You can feel good about choosing either manufactured wood or real wood for your floor project. Both are environmentally friendly and much more appealing than dirt.  

So now that you understand the history of flooring and what kind of quality there is out there, it’s time to see how you can efficiently service your clients. One of the best ways is to get what they need, quickly. The one problem with the flooring industry is there is usually a lag in communication when it comes to looking up pricing and inventory. Often, paper pricebooks are still in use—why not use modern technology? That’s what VendorPriceBook is all about. It’s a web-based application that allows vendors to communicate with retailers in the flooring industry in a snap. No more reaching into your book shelf or searching through PDF and excel files.

Try out VendorPriceBook today to see how it will streamline communication and help you service your clients better.

5 Simple Ways to Grow Your Flooring Business on Social Media

In the late ‘90s and early 2000s, social media was pure entertainment. It was a place for kids to connect with their peers, for fans of TV shows to speculate on future episodes together. These things still take place on social media sites today, but these platforms also have one other major purpose…

Today, social media is an opportunity to promote your business.

If you use social media properly, you can have countless people all over the world checking out your flooring business. But how do you do it? Here are a few easy tips to help you grow your business.

Choose Your Platforms Carefully

First things first: if you’re going to promote your flooring business on social media, you need to choose the right platform. There are a lot of social media sites out there, from Facebook and Twitter to Reddit and Quora. It might be tempting to take a “shotgun approach” and use every single platform to promote your company, but trust us — that’s not the way to go.

Instead, take a little time to review your customer demographics. How old is your average customer? Are they handy DIY-ers? Do they want a specific aesthetic from their home decor? The answers to these questions will help you determine which social media platforms are most likely to catch their eye. Find those platforms, and focus your energy on boosting your business there.

Choose the right social media platform

Turn Instagram into Your Portfolio

Flooring is a visual industry. Your customers work with you because they want beautiful flooring in their space, and they know you can deliver. But how do they know? It’s likely they saw samples of your work — and now, you can show off your projects whenever you want. 

Instagram is a great platform for a flooring business because it gives you the opportunity to present your work to all your followers in real-time. Your feed becomes an ever-updating portfolio, and potential customers can quickly and easily see just what you can do.

Use Stories to Show Off Your Personality

Sometimes, customers will work with a company simply because they like them (and they do good work). You and your team probably have a good time on the job site, so why not show off your professionalism and personality all while creating some online content?

Instagram, Facebook, and TikTok are all social media sites that allow users to create “stories,” or short videos for their followers. With these stories, you can introduce clients to your team, show off flooring jobs in progress, and generally charm viewers with your sparkling personality! This way, they’ll remember you when it’s time to do their flooring.

Keep Your Feed Current

We’ve all seen “dead” sites or profiles before. These are websites or social media pages that have gone dark, where no one has posted in months or even years. When this happens, users tend to think that something’s gone wrong for the person or the company behind the page. They may even imagine that you’ve gone out of business!

We understand that posting online isn’t second nature for everyone (especially not when you have a big flooring project underway). But keeping your social media feed up to date with regular content will help keep your company at the top of your client’s minds — and that’s good for your bottom line!

Engage with Your Followers

Finally, it’s highly important that you remember the reason social media was founded in the first place: to connect with people.

If someone comments on your Instagram post saying that your flooring looks great, comment back and thank them! If you write a Medium guest blog on types of flooring that are best for DIY projects, answer people’s questions in the comments. These small moments where you connect with a follower, reader, or viewer not only make you seem more personable (aka easy to work with should they need some flooring done), but they can also help you close a deal with a potential customer that’s on the fence.

With these tips, your social media profile can become more than just a way to entertain yourself in your down time. Instead, it can be an asset to your business!

Of course, the easiest way to streamline your flooring business so it’s poised for success, is through investing in technology that will create efficient communication between suppliers and retailers. VendorPriceBook.com aims to solve that bottleneck that retailers have when it comes to looking up pricing and inventory for their clients. VendorPriceBook takes the paper out of the conventional pricebooks, as well as unorganized computer files, so everything is seamlessly conducted online and pricing and inventory is available at your fingertips, instantly.

VendorPriceBook is the efficient way to communicate between vendors and retailers in the flooring industry

Pandemic Home Remodeling

With Americans spending more time at home than ever, it’s hardly surprising that the home improvement industry is booming right now. Homeowners finally have a chance to reflect on the pros and cons of their space, and by working from home, many have more flexibility to meet with contractors and get estimates during the day. As a result, more Americans are willing to take the plunge into lengthy remodeling projects and are hoping to complete these home makeovers as quickly as possible.

A few popular trends are the main driving forces of home changes right now. Here are a few common renovations and some ways to better serve customers who want these changes.

Home Offices

Desperate for some semblance of work-life separation, a few Americans even looked into turning backyard sheds into home offices this year so that a walk across the backyard could symbolize a “commute”. Spare bedrooms, basements, and other spaces were repurposed for work or school with the addition of new lighting, flooring, or built-in desks.

Workout Rooms

Jokes about gaining the “Quarantine 15” aside, home workout spaces are on the rise. A survey found that after this year of transformation, 81% of millennials reported that they actually preferred to workout at home. As a result, homeowners dedicated spaces in their home for riding their Peloton (whose sales doubled this past year), streaming yoga classes, or lifting free weights. In some cases, this required new flooring, like vinyl or rubberized surfaces that can withstand a weight dropping on them.

Outdoor Spaces

With the option to visit usual leisure spaces restricted, and indoor gatherings off limits, many Americans have been looking into transforming their outdoor space into a new oasis for their families to congregate. According to NPR, deck construction was up 275% from March to July of 2020, and hiring landscapers was up 238%.

Family Spaces

Families with open-floor concepts may have been on edge as the pandemic forced work and school for every family member into one shared location. Jim Westover of William Duff Architects articulated this idea in an interview with Architectural Digest:  “The open-plan concept probably doesn’t work so well if more than one person is working from home or if the kids are being noisy, so that concept may be refined with partitions to dedicate space for working/home office.” For this reason, some homeowners are looking to put walls up or repurpose open spaces like basements to give further separation between the noisy activities of a busy family.

Renovations Prior to Selling

With interest rates reaching record lows, 42% of home listings were selling in two weeks or less this past year. Many people used their down time at home to fix their homes up to sell while the market was hot. These changes included safety changes to bring homes up to code and cosmetic touches inside and out to make their home as appealing as possible to buyers.

Making it All Simpler

With increased demand, the home improvement industry is seeing a golden opportunity it has never seen before. As a result, it’s in the best interest of both vendors and retailers in this industry to make these improvements as smooth and hassle-free as possible.

With home remodelers looking to make big changes to their homes in as short of a time period as possible, it’s important to streamline communication to help the customer make decisions efficiently. The VendorPriceBook app helps streamline communication between vendors and retailers in the home improvement industry, helping you better reach customers who want to make these changes. By simplifying the process, customers will find home remodeling less stressful, and will be more likely to want to become repeat customers in the future.

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 To Use Yelp for your Flooring Business

A flooring business is multi-faceted just like any other retail business. You have to deal with your suppliers, your customers, and your employees. In today’s world of Amazon, smart phones and social media galore, customers have a huge amount of leverage when it comes to their shopping choices. It literally hasn’t been easier for a consumer to conduct research and purchase items for their home renovation or remodeling…all from the comfort of their home. Of course, we know it’s imperative for a customer to physically come and see a flooring product before actually purchasing, so internet can take second place to an actual brick and mortar store. So how do they even choose which home flooring store to visit?

No doubt you’ve took to the internet to find reviews for a new restaurant you wanted to try out. Or perhaps you “Googled” the name of the dentistry you were considering switching over to. Online reviews are a major factor when it comes to buying decisions and Yelp is the king of this space.

Are you leveraging your Yelp profile? Here are a few easy tips to make sure you’re getting visits and phone calls your flooring business needs to thrive in this competitive market:

  1. Claim your profile: don’t have a Yelp page already up? It’s extremely simple to claim your business. Do this now and then go on to the next steps.
  2. Photos, photos and more photos: One or two photos of your store isn’t going to cut it. Be sure to include multiple photos of your exterior, interior and of specific products. Ensure you are adding descriptions to the photos as well with detailed and relevant captions.
  3. Fill out as much information as possible: that includes your website, company history, hours of operation, credit card acceptance, amenities and highlights.
  4. Respond and thank: yes, even if you get a great review, be sure to thank your customer. For negative reviews, take time to review their comment, learn from it, and write a polite and public comment. Allow them to see you understand their concern and would like to rectify the problem as fit.

If you can complete the above four tasks, you’re on the right track. Make your Yelp page a lead magnet!

If you find your customers complain about inventory or lack of clarity in pricing, you definitely want to check out VendorPriceBook.com which is a cloud-based app that allows retailers to instantly look up flooring pricing and inventory.