How Flooring Retailers Can Successfully Compete with Industry Leaders
Of all the challenges faced by flooring retailers today, one of the biggest is trying to compete with industry leaders. There are already several large companies that hold a solid percentage of market share in the industry. On top of that, there are new challenges, the “category killers” like Amazon and Walmart that are now branching into the flooring industry.
If you’re a retailer trying to carve out your own market share, it may seem like an uphill battle. After all, the big industry leaders are established and have name recognition. They have operating capital, big marketing budgets, advanced technologies, a stable customer base, and operate in volumes that you can’t begin to match.
How Can You Compete?
Actually, you can compete with the big companies, but maybe not in the way you think. You have to be strategic about it. Recognize that you’re not going to go head to head with industry leaders. Instead, you compete by focusing on your strengths as a smaller, nimble business, and build around those.
Private labeling. Industry leaders can undercut nearly anyone on price, even taking a loss on a product if they need to. The key is to stop focusing on price and instead, differentiate by introducing new products under new names. By creating private label products, you can sell your own line of products, define a niche, and set your own price, without competing with the big brands.
ECommerce storefront. There are many ways you can add retail locations in new markets without having to build new showrooms and warehouses. Instead of building new physical locations, create new sales channels online to increase your odds of being found by customers. The majority of your customers, whether B2B buyers, contractors, or home owners, prefer to do some or all of their shopping online. By having an eCommerce storefront, you can increase your presence in the market, even locally. You can also create and distribute custom online product catalogs. These can be tailored to individual customers and markets.
Dropshipping. You may not be operating on a scale to qualify for the bulk shipping deals from the large carriers, but you can still save on your product shipping costs by incorporating dropshipping into your business model. Since smaller retailers can’t compete with industry leaders by storing all their materials in a showroom, dropshipping can help them by letting them keep only the bestsellers on hand, and dropship the rest from another warehouse. You’ll save money on stocking product, and can pass those savings on to your customers. Retailers can stay cost competitive because they can place orders directly with manufacturers, who then ship directly to the customer. The customers themselves don’t care where the product comes from, as long as delivered quickly and in good condition.
Business efficiencies. Make sure you’re using your time wisely and operating efficiently. That means efficient sales processes and using integrated software. The big retailers are using the latest enterprise software tools and have high-tech websites. Fortunately, you don’t have to spend a fortune like the industry leaders did to get the same functionality. With a free account on the Vogueboard platform, with integrated B2B sales automation for the flooring industry, CRM, and online marketplace, you can upgrade to a robust online presence in less than an hour.
Remember, also, that as a smaller business, you have other ways to compete with the big companies.
1. Customer experience – the big industry leaders can’t provide the personalized customer experience that you can. With a small business, you can be personable and easy to work with. Utilize your CRM to keep track of every conversation you have with your customers, get to know them, what their pain points are, and solve their problems.
2. Focus on your niche – you can’t be everything to everyone, so focus on the market segment that you do best. This allows you to build your company’s reputation in the industry, and become known as the expert on a particular product.
3. Build your own database and client list – with the integrated CRM, you can build your client list, nurture leads, and stay in contact with your customers. The CRM lets you send out emails and market to different segments, such as designers and architects, contractors, and retail customers. This lead nurturing can be a valuable part of your overall marketing plan.
All above tools are offered on the Vogueboard platform. Designed specifically for the flooring industry, our cloud-based platform is a good value for retailers, with no upfront costs, no marketing costs. Retailers can use this affordable, all-in-one platform and grow their business for a minimum cost. As you can see, with the right strategies and the right tools, flooring retailers can still compete with industry leaders. Are you looking for ways to expand your sales channels and your online business? Sign up for your free Vogueboard account today to get started. With no upfront or subscription costs and an easy-to-use interface, you can technically equip your business for future growth in a matter of minutes.