A company with over $6 billion in yearly revenue only makes a strategic move after it has been thoroughly considered. Recognizing independent retailers as the brand’s sales fulcrum, Mohawk Flooring has been equipping them with the right tools to make for a better network of business people. In this industry, it couldn’t have come sooner.
Flooring companies have a challenge in ensuring that their retailers are keeping up with the trends and demands of the digital world. With customer audiences more active online than ever, the need for relevant marketing content is only now becoming obvious across the industry. My own carpet purchasing experiences reflect a greater change across the brand’s customer base.
My requirements for purchasing a rug in college were as follows: cheap and dark enough to hide beer stains. $18. Wal-Mart. Done. Years later, my girlfriend brought on far more respectable requirements: ultra-modern, textured, neutral color, and capable of repelling beer stains. A quick internet search confirmed there are roughly 1.5 million types of carpet. I needed a professional opinion and looked for local retailers where I could take one for a test walk.
As I started exploring the online presence of these stores I could see why brand-level support is necessary. Flooring retailers seem to fall into two distinct types: those that actively embrace their digital audience and those who have only owned one computer. It was impossibly easy to favor the closest retailer with a professional online presence. They were the retailer we visited, they had us try the carpet out in our apartment, and they had our sale.
Fully fleshed-out websites and active social channels indicated an appetite for good content while completely non-existent presences indicated the need for support. There’s no reason a business that’s been around for 25 years shouldn’t continue to be successful, they just needed to change their strategy to reach a new type of customer. In fact, I walked into one of these less tech-savvy shops and their products were almost exactly the same – their services arguably better.
Mohawk took on the revitalization challenge, offering an impressive array of resources to help store owners maximize their time and energy. From Mohawk University through MohawkToday.com, they’ve made education accessible and relevant. One area where Mohawk has excelled is in providing the right type of digital content to bolster a store’s social channels and engage customers. The key? They’re not trying to build the Mohawk brand; they’re trying to build up the local retailer’s voice. They do this by providing a monthly calendar of posts that casually pepper Mohawk and Karastan product mentions among audience-aware style, design, and household tips. Mohawk has proven that content is king.
Senior vice president of marketing David Duncan said, “There will be more change in the next five years then there has been in the last 30 years and we want to make sure our retail partners are ready for this change. It’s a paradigm shift taking place and retailers that adopt the new digital age will be the ones better for it.” Many understand that they should be participating in the space but are uncertain where to begin. Many more simply don’t have time to manage an engaging online presence.
Twenty years ago, a 2”x2” ad in The Yellow Pages and a light-up sign was a sound investment for a small retailer. Now, almost 10% of their potential customers may drive by in a day while the other 90% search them out online. To some small business owners social media management is, at best, posting a photo on Facebook between bites of lunch before heading back out to the sales floor. More often, however, small business owners are realizing the benefits of a bustling digital storefront. By providing exceptional education and support, Mohawk’s efforts ultimately benefit everyone, including the consumer.