Struggling to Grow Your Distribution Channels? These 3 Business Solutions are Must-Haves for Flooring Manufacturers
Up until recently, it was business as usual for flooring manufacturers to use one distribution channel by selling through distributors, who then had their own retail channels. Then came along the Internet, which introduced the opportunity to sell online. While many industries have jumped on the eCommerce bandwagon, others have been reluctant to grow their distribution channels and sell online.
Today, however, nearly everyone does at least some business online, and there are many more opportunities to grow with online distribution channels. If you’re a manufacturer ready to get started in online retail, or are struggling to grow the online side of your business, it’s time to check out these online business solutions designed specifically for the flooring industry.
Why Expand Your Distribution Channels at All?
Many manufacturers have started selling direct to consumers, though some are still reluctant to do that because of the potential channel conflict with trading partners. And some manufacturers don’t have a good way to show their products directly to consumers. In the past they would send customers a link to a distributor website, but that meant a risk of the customer leaving and not coming back. However, it’s important to be able to show the product, especially to younger generations like Millennials and Gen Z that grew up with the internet.
Because there’s no getting around it: today’s shoppers want more options. Even among B2B buyers, most customers prefer to use several different channels for shopping, whether that’s online, in store, or browsing a catalog.
With the convenience of the internet and the big online retailers, more and more business buyers are looking to replicate that experience of having everything available at their fingertips, while they’re at work. Expect your business customers to continue to use the internet to automate at least part of their buying process. Remember, customers want to buy as soon as they’re ready. If you make them wait, you may lose them.
As a flooring product manufacturer, it’s vital that you offer multiple distribution channels to your customers. Here are three business solutions to help you get started.
1. Product exposure to Architects and Designers
With the Vogueboard networking module, manufacturers can connect with architects and designers who are already platform members. Vogueboard attracts architects and designers by allowing them to order free samples and create a digital product library for free. Architects and designers can browse online, get to know manufacturers’ products, and start recommending them to their clients.
2. Growing Your Distribution Channels
While you could expand your physical location and move into new territories, there are far more economical ways to grow your distribution channels. In addition to a retail network of brick-and-mortar stores and showrooms, or even in place of it, you can offer other options. One is to sell your products through an online dealer.
Worried about undercutting your trading partners by selling direct? Manufacturers can keep their relationships intact by having Vogueboard act as an online dealer. This benefits the retailers who are feeling pressure from industry leaders, and keeps channels from competing with each other. It also allows manufacturers to sell through channels like Amazon, or distributors and retailers in other territories. And it keeps trading partners in the distribution channel from engaging in price competition, protecting profit margins. When partnering with an online dealer like Vogueboard, the dealer will purchase your flooring products and resell them in their online marketplace. This allows you to get in front of more customers without creating channel conflicts and price competition.
You can also work with distributors to expand your offerings and geographic range of distribution through private labeling. When distributors private label your flooring products, they are selling more of your product without price competition. Private labeling increases both their sales, and yours.
Another option is to support your dealers and retailers who want to cut their warehousing costs by offering dropshipping services. They’ll be able to offer products at a more attractive price, increasing sales for their business as well as yours.
3. B2B Sales Automation for the Flooring Industry
A good B2B sales automation tool will give you the flexibility you need to sell to your B2B customers. Vogueboard’s B2B sales automation is integrated into the Vogueboard platform, so with your account you’ll get a 360° view of your sales activity, allowing you to see customer history, past orders, and current activity within a single system. Using this tool also makes it easy for your customers, who can log into their accounts and generate their own purchase orders for flooring materials. This increases efficiency and makes it easy for manufacturer to deal directly with the retail market, while using automation lets them efficiently work without increasing sales team.
An additional feature of Vogueboard’s B2B sales automation tool is the ability to create product catalogs quickly without using any outside design tools. These catalogs are online and have up-to-date product specifications, pricing and quantities that update automatically when you make changes to your inventory or prices. You can email a catalog link to your distributors, who can use them to create custom catalogs for their customers.
The Vogueboard platform is designed specifically for the flooring industry, so it’s all ready to go without any further customization needed. All you have to do is sign up for your free account today. There are no upfront costs, and you could have online retail sales channels in place in less than an hour.
To set up your free, live, no-obligation demonstration, click here.