How Flooring Manufacturers Can Increase Product Exposure to Architects and Designers
Flooring manufacturers face many challenges today. The overall flooring market is changing, with more products available than ever before, and a multitude of ways to source those products. As a manufacturer, you are most likely looking for new ways to market your product and increase revenue in your business.
Though you may have retailers carrying your product, you’re also probably looking to boost your direct-to-consumer sales. After all, 15-30% of manufacturers sell directly to the end user, and can end up with higher profit margins because of it.
One way to increase your direct-to-consumer sales is by fostering relationships with others in the building industry, including architects and designers. These professionals have the ear of their client, the building owner, whether it’s a homeowner or a business. Though they don’t usually install flooring themselves, they do have influence with the contractors and owners. They can recommend your product which will increase your sales. Unfortunately, they also have their own pain points. They need to recommend something right for the project, that their client will like. They might need to convince multiple stakeholders, like owners and contractors.
How to Get in Front of the Design Team
As with any new marketing venture, it can be difficult to figure out how to penetrate a new market. How do you get in front of the right people, the architects and designers who can recommend your products? If you don’t already have dedicated sales personnel for the consumer market, it can seem like a daunting task.
Fortunately, you don’t need to invest in a new salesforce or implement a lot of costly procedures to get started. There are some steps you can take that will increase your exposure to other markets that won’t break the bank.
The main point to remember is that you’re looking to help architects and designers solve their problems. They are looking for the right flooring for their project, they may not know a lot of options, and they want to do it without a lot of cost and hassle.
Here’s how you can help:
1. Have a comprehensive web presence.
You need to be online where architects and designers can find you. These days, a simple website with a few pages about your product and a call to action to “call for more details” just won’t do. Most buyers start their shopping online. A whopping 88% of retail consumers research their purchase online before they actually buy, according to an eCommerce Foundation report. And when it comes to B2B buyers, it’s estimated that 94% of them research online for their purchases, according to a study by the Acquity Group. There’s no way around having a web presence.
You’ll also want to be a resource for buyers. Architects and designers usually don’t have as comprehensive of knowledge of flooring products, durability, installation and other factors as you do. They’re going to recommend products that they know, or that they can research. Make the process easy for them by including information and specifications about products, so they can create their own digital library.
2. Keep your product information up to date online.
Buyers expect all online information about your products to be current. This includes detailed descriptions, specifications, warranties, shipping and delivery information. and price. If anything changes or you have a sale, update your product information.
3. Offer free samples.
In many markets, offering samples to buyers is a proven, successful technique. Though it has more history in B2C marketing, the B2B marketplace is becoming more like B2C every day. Samples are also a way to educate architects and designers on the products, build goodwill with the product and brand, and get word-of-mouth.
4. Don’t just have a website, but an online shopping portal.
We’re all used to online shopping now, for everything from clothing to groceries to flooring. An online shopping portal for your flooring materials makes it easy for architects and designers to see your products, compare items (similar to other retail websites), and make their purchase. Your customer expects it, and your competition is online—78% of B2B retailers have been selling online for at least 2-5 years or longer, according to a survey conducted by BigCommerce.
Need a Fast Way to Improve Your Web Presence?
Don’t worry if your current website looks a little dated, and you don’t have the budget for a complete online overhaul. There are quick, easy, affordable ways to get an up-to-date online shopping portal up and running, without any hassle.
One alternative is to set up a free account at Vogueboard.com. Our cloud-based platform allows flooring manufacturers to set up their web store in less than an hour. Your products will be visible for architects, designers, protentional trading partners and consumers.
A Vogueboard account will increase your visibility to potential industry partners. Many architects and designers use the Vogueboard platform because it allows them to create their own digital product library and order free samples from vendors. Manufacturers can use the B2B sales automation solutions and customer relationship management system (CRM), with free lifetime CRM subscriptions offered for a limited time to the next 100 subscribers.