The end of 2022 saw flooring retail slow down, with retailers getting fewer walk-ins and installations tapering off, and this trend is continuing into 2023. It looks like we’re headed into a recession, and by some measures we’re already there. Manufacturers and retailers are worried.
If you’re a manufacturer serving retailers, this downturn is an opportunity for you to differentiate yourself.
Let’s look at some strategies to help you do that.
Answer the unspoken question.
Every one of your prospective and existing clients has an unspoken question in their mind: why should I buy from you instead of your competition? Companies who answer this question well get a big advantage over competitors, set themselves up to prosper and thrive during a recession, and better serve their clients.
Your prospects and clients have a lot of buying choices. No matter what you’re selling, the buyer can probably find something similar somewhere else, possibly at a lower price. The way to combat this is by answering the unspoken question. And the way to answer the unspoken question is by creating radical differentiation.
Most companies attempt to create differentiation through their products and services, but your competition is doing the same thing. They are innovating, coming up with new colours, new materials, and new tech. So it’s important that you create differentiators that go beyond your products.
There are dozens of proven strategies for creating differentiation. One way to do this is to step up the way your products and services are delivered.
Consider common areas where the manufacturer drops the ball, or provides less than great service. Are there aspects of your service you can guarantee, such as delivery times? Call 20 of your clients and ask them what they would like to see improved.
Once you’ve identified a common problem, create a repeatable path to resolution – and undoubtedly answers to the unspoken question.
Provide access to the Roomvo visualizer.
Another great differentiator is the Roomvo visualizer. If retailers are having problems keeping customers on their site or getting sales over the line, one of the first things I check is whether they’re using Roomvo.
Shoppers spend twice as long on websites when using Roomvo, and they’re more likely to convert. I encourage retailers to use Roomvo throughout the sales process – from the first time the customer lands on the website to in-store visits and in-home measuring appointments.
Plus, when manufacturers and distributors join the Roomvo Partner Program, all your retail partners can add Roomvo to their site for free. This is a great way to provide extra value to retailers – and boost sales for both parties.
Show retailers you’ve got their back.
Over the last 15 years, I’ve learned that many retailers are stressed, working over 60 hours per week, and unable to unplug during their time off. Add to that supply issues from the COVID-19 mess, and the fact that we’re likely headed into a recession, and their stress goes through the roof.
Your dealers need your help. Let’s look at how you can support your clients, and help them be more successful.
I’ve been doing webinars for years. I produce and co-host the FCNews Marketing Mastery Webinars, I’m the co-host of the Roomvo University Webinars, and I conduct regular webinars for my floor retailer coaching clients. This is a powerful way to help retailers solve the problems that plague them and create loyalty.
It’s important that your training solves the problems keeping retailers up at night. Don’t make it all about your products. Some of the big problems retailers face every day include:
- How to recession-proof their business
- How to attract quality clients
- How to close more sales
- How to keep their prices up in the face of cheap competition
- How to grow their business without burnout
If you don’t have anyone on your team who specializes in these topics, bring in guest experts.
The great thing about webinars is that they can be recorded and sent out as replays, repurposed for a YouTube channel, included in a training area of your company website and turned into podcasts.
I’ve had a number of industry pros tell me they can’t get dealers to attend their webinars or live training sessions. Generate strong attendance by making sure the topics are solving actual problems dealers are facing, and by using effective promotion strategies. I’ve seen events with great topics fail simply because the promotion was not done right.
Podcasts are popular, in part because they can be consumed at the listener’s convenience. A popular format for podcasts is interview style. You can bring in guests who specialize in any area in which retailers need help.
Videos are a powerful method for getting your message out to retailers. However, most companies who create videos for their flooring clients focus on training around their products and services. This is important, but it’s a missed opportunity to show retailers you’ve got their back and want to help them in their overall success.
Blogs are another effective way to deliver relevant, problem solving content to your clients. Again, don’t make it all about your company and your products. Include lots of content that solves the problems keeping retailers up at night.
By deploying these strategies you’ll answer the unspoken question, differentiate yourself from competitors, become a rockstar to your retail clients, and help your own company prosper and thrive during a recession.