The importance of retailer-manufacturer relationships in home decor

As a manufacturer, the strength of your business will depend on the strength of your retailer relationships. Invest in their success, and yours, by building a strong retailer community.

Selling flooring takes a village.

Behind every successful manufacturer is a community of distributors, buying groups, and retailers that all work together to get your products into consumers’ homes. One type of business won’t be able to function without the others — at least not to its fullest.

More often than not, it’s the retailers who are on the front lines, having direct contact with end consumers. As a manufacturer, it’s essential that you’re always thinking about how to reach new retailers, and how best to support them.

If you can help set up your retailers for success and add value to their business, you’ll be creating a level of “stickiness” that will entice them to keep coming back for your products. More importantly, you’ll be giving them a better chance to sell those products.

And that benefits everyone.

In this article, we’ll cover some of the different ways you can strengthen your retailer community and accelerate sales.

1. Provide selling tools

Distributing your products is just a starting point. The next step is giving your retailers the tools they need to sell more, because, as we know, selling home decor isn’t always easy. Such tools include merchandising and promotional resources, customer reports, digital tools and more.

A great example of this is MSI Surfaces’ “Industry Tools” section on their website, which makes it easy for retailers to request access to a floor pattern selector, pebbles calculator, and their Roomvo-powered multi-surface visualizer, among other tools.

When a manufacturer joins the Roomvo Partner Program, their existing retail partners are able to add the Roomvo Assistant widget to their websites free of charge. This helps add significant value to retailer relationships while generating and closing more leads, as shoppers who visualize products using Roomvo are up to 5x more likely to make a purchase. “Our retailers have really honed in on using the Roomvo Assistant to close their sales and build confidence with their end consumers,” said Lauryn Little, digital marketing manager at Engineered Floors.

2. Assist with digital marketing

Digital marketing has become increasingly important in the flooring and home decor world, as the vast majority of consumers — 87% of them, according to Mohawk research — are conducting research online before making a purchase or coming into a showroom.

This is one of the biggest areas you can support your retailers.

From website development and advertising/lead generation programs, to content and social media support, there are many different ways you can help bolster your partners’ digital marketing efforts while getting more eyes on your products.

Daltile, for example, recently unveiled a new social media program that enables retailers to repurpose Daltile’s content on their own social media channels.

Roomvo can work with manufacturers on the Roomvo Partner Program to provide their key retailers with a sponsored website program. From custom content and templates, Roomvo Sponsored Sites help put a manufacturer’s products and story in the spotlight. California-based retailer, BFC Design, saw its business increase by more than 50% after switching to Roomvo Sites. “With our new website, we can do so much more,” said owner Brenda Petrakos.

3. Enhance the showroom experience

For many flooring retailers, driving shoppers to the showroom remains an utmost priority. Therefore, as a manufacturer, it’s in the best interest of both you and your retail partners to help them create an impactful showroom experience.  

Mohawk accomplishes this with its Edge Store showroom support program, which arms retailers with point-of-purchase kits and insights into how consumers move through retail stores. Daltile, meanwhile, has a dedicated landing page showcasing an assortment of eye-catching displays available to their retailers.

Don’t leave anything to chance. Give your retail partners everything they need to market your products in the showroom, and they’ll be much more likely to sell them.  

Manufacturers can help retailers transform the in-store experience by bringing visualization into the showroom with Roomvo QR Codes and Roomvo Kiosk. For instance, Alliance Flooring Inc. makes the QR code generator and kiosk available to its members through its Perfect Home® retail selling solution and technology platform. While in-store, shoppers can scan the QR codes on product displays and samples to see those products visualized in their room — or send them to the kiosk to see them come to life on the big screen.

4. Hold exclusive events

The flooring industry is built on relationships. Interactions with your retail partners shouldn’t be purely transactional. Your retail partners should feel like they are part of a community.

That’s why most of the major flooring manufacturers hold exclusive events that bring together their retail partners and other industry experts under one roof. While you can use these events to promote your products and offerings, the agenda should also include plenty of thought-leadership content designed to help retailers advance their business.  

The most recent Shaw SFN conference, for instance, focused on celebrating the importance of dealer collaboration. These types of events will help strengthen your retailer relationships while giving everyone in the building an opportunity to learn and grow from each other.  

The Roomvo University webinar series, available to retailers for free, covers some of the hot-button topics in flooring through insights from business executives and other industry experts. The most recent Roomvo University webinar featured special guest Steve Feldman, co-owner and publisher of FCNews, providing advice on the biggest trends in flooring and the greatest challenges and opportunities for dealers in 2024.

5. Provide training and customer support

The training you provide to your retail partners shouldn’t be limited to an annual event – there’s only so much information you can pack into a weekend.

In reality, it should be something you provide on an ongoing basis.

Shaw Floors, for example, offers regional training, online sessions, and other educational programs through the Shaw Learning Academy, which serves more than 15,000 customers each year.

As part of the Roomvo Partner Program, manufacturers and their retail partners get access to a dedicated customer support team that will help ensure the Roomvo platform is running smoothly, in addition to complimentary product and sales training.

Your most valuable asset

As a manufacturer, the strength of your business will depend on the strength of your retailer relationships. Retailers are your most valuable assets. Invest in their success, and yours, by building a strong retailer community.

Written by:

  • Farhan Devji

    Farhan Devji is a published author and content writer who’s written for some of Canada’s biggest newspapers and worked in communications/marketing for close to a decade. His new book, Alphonso Davies: A New Hope, was published in May 2023 with ECW Press.

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