Hello and welcome to the fourth edition of our monthly newsletter: The Broadlume Dealer Digest!

This month, we’ve got something really special to share with you: a bit of proprietary market research that could completely change the way you look at your sales process. 

Plus, with frivolous lawsuits and changes to digital privacy laws causing chaos for small businesses everywhere, there’s a lot going on right that can affect your flooring store—so let’s stop gabbing and get to it!

In Today’s Edition:

  • Small Businesses Everywhere Are Being Hit With Lawsuits. Is Your Flooring Store Protected?
  • We Asked 1,000 Floor Buyers The Same Question. Their Answers May Change Your Sales Process Forever.
  • Changes to Digital Privacy are Dividing Flooring Dealers. Where Do You Stand?
  • Google Releases Another Update; Chaos Ensues (Again)
  • Voting for FCN’s Award of Excellence is Now Open. Who Do You Think Should Win?
  • Industry Events and Announcements

Small Businesses Everywhere Are Being Hit With Lawsuits. Is Your Flooring Store Protected?

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First things first. As you may (or may not) have heard, there’s been a massive spike in so-called “ADA Troll Lawsuits” recently. These “troll” lawsuits target businesses whose websites aren’t in compliance with the Americans With Disabilities act.

Unfortunately, the vast majority of these lawsuits aren’t filed to help people with disabilities. Rather, they’re frivolously filed in order to grab cash from small businesses that don’t have the resources to go to court.

And they’re a heck of a lot more common—and dangerous—than you might think. Why?

Despite the COVID pandemic, almost 11,000 ADA compliance lawsuits were filed for web violations in 2020 alone.

And while some of these lawsuits were filed against large corporations, the vast majority of them were filed against small and medium-sized businesses. That speaks to the goal of many of these “troll” lawsuits: making money from businesses that don’t have the time or funds to go to court.

Again: some of these lawsuits are absolutely legitimate (since all websites and information should be accessible). But many others are not. And they can seriously hurt a small business that isn’t protected.

So the obvious question is this: is your website ADA compliant? Because if not, you could be putting your flooring store’s future at risk.

We Asked 1,000 Floor Buyers The Same Question. Their Answers May Change Your Sales Process Forever.

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As we wrote in last month’s newsletter, we have the power to survey consumers at different points in their floor-buying journey. 

Recently, we asked 1,000 of these consumers a simple question: “would you be more or less likely to visit a flooring store if you could see their product catalog online”?

Their answers could change your sales process forever.

Why? Because 60% of floor buyers (613 out of 1,000) answered that they would be more likely to visit a flooring store if they could browse that store’s catalog online.

Of the remaining respondents, 196 answered that it would make no difference; 60 answered that it would make them less likely; 158 answered “other”. 

Flooring dealers online product catalog study graph

Let’s back up for a second and think about what this means. First of all, this study confirms what many of us in the flooring industry have long believed: an optimized online product catalog makes consumers more likely to shop at your physical store.

But that also means the traditional flooring sales funnel of “get customers in the door, then educate them, then make the sale” is about as useful in 2021 as an 8-track cassette player. 

This study has just shown that customers want to be educated before they even step foot in your store. And that means you need to adjust your sales funnel—and your online presence—to account for that.

Plus, if you’re not educating and engaging your customers online with a digital product catalog, you can be sure that your competition is. And when 60% of floor buyers are more likely to go to a store with an online product catalog… well, you do the math.

Anyway, if you need help figuring out how to get an online product catalog or want the digital tools to convert those online leads into in-store sales, just email us. We’re literally here to help you. 

And like we said last month, we can ask consumers any questions you want us to. Just email your questions to newsletter@broadlume.com; we’ll set up a 1,000-person survey and put the results in next month’s newsletter!

Changes to Digital Privacy are Dividing Flooring Dealers. Where Do You Stand?

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Last month, we talked about a tiny change Apple made to its iPhone software that essentially turned Facebook Ads into a massive dumpster fire.

Basically, by allowing users to opt out of app tracking on their devices, Apple effectively destroyed the ability of ad platforms like Facebook (which is perhaps the most effective ad platform for small businesses) to effectively target consumers. 

But that’s not the whole story—because we’ve been getting a ton of feedback from flooring dealers on both sides of the issue.

On one hand, more privacy is always a good thing. To quote one flooring dealer who reached out to us: 

Apple is giving users the choice to maintain their privacy or allow undisclosed tracking across the entire internet. Let Facebook figure out another way to reach consumers. I pay for Facebook ads for my business but I’m not unhappy that Apple has taken this step.

And really, we can’t argue with that at all. In our humble opinion, Facebook already owns way too much of our info. Plus, experience has taught us that they… well, let’s just say they don’t have the best track record when it comes to privacy.

On the other hand, flooring dealers have also reached out to us to say the opposite—that Apple has no right to upend the ad platform so many small businesses depend on.

Plus, Facebook claims that “Apple is being hypocritical, because it will force businesses to turn to… other in-app payments for revenue, from which Apple takes a cut.” 

Translation: you could argue that Apple isn’t doing this for privacy reasons at all—they just want to make more money by hoarding your data. 

So who’s correct? Who’s being truthful? Who isn’t? 

Who knows.

This debate is, as they say, a question for the philosophers. And that means we want to know your opinion. Where do you stand on this issue? Let us know by clicking this link or responding to this email.

Google Releases Another Update; Chaos Ensues (Again)

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Another month, another Google update, another round of chaos. 

Think it doesn’t affect your flooring business? Think again.

If you’re keeping track, this is the third (or even fourth, depending on how you count ‘em) algorithm update that Google has released in the last 4 months. That’s a lot.

This one, which Google is calling the “Link Spam Update”, basically de-values the importance of certain links when deciding where a website should appear in Google search results.

The motive is noble enough—stopping unethical marketers from buying huge amounts of links to their specific websites. All those links can make Google think a website is better or more relevant than it is, and therefore rank it higher in its search results.

Unfortunately, this update has had a huge downside: making small businesses’ websites appear less in search results, while boosting big publishers like Home Depot and Lowe’s.

Because those big box stores need even more of an unfair advantage, right?

Look, from an SEO (search engine optimization) perspective, all we can say is this: Google updates come, and Google updates go. Sometimes they’re effective, and sometimes they aren’t. 

The only thing you can do? Make sure your website is fully optimized. Otherwise, your flooring business is going to lose out on leads to the depressing box store down the street. 

Oh, and PS: if you’re not sure if your website is optimized, it probably isn’t. And if you don’t know the answer, you can always reach out to FloorForce for a free audit.

Voting for FCN’s Award of Excellence is Now Open. Who Do You Think Should Win?

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For the past 25 years, Floor Covering News has awarded its coveted Award of Excellence to flooring manufacturers that go above and beyond the call of duty.

As you probably know, these awards are an industry benchmark of supplier expertise—and they give retailers a chance to acknowledge the manufacturers that are helping them succeed. And as a flooring retailer, you choose the winners.

Winning manufacturers in each product category are chosen based on their: 

  • Overall service
  • Professionalism of their sales team
  • Management responsiveness
  • Value
  • Style and design
  • Handling of claims
  • Ease of doing business with

Plus, this year is particularly important because FCN wants to acknowledge those suppliers that have stepped up in the midst of this ongoing pandemic. 

And again, your votes determine the winners—so be sure to vote here!

Industry Events and Announcements

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It might be August, but the flooring industry’s event calendar is still red-hot.

The 28th annual CFI Convention & Expo is kicking off August 18th–20th in beautiful Orlando, Florida. The event promises educational seminars, hands-on workshops, new product demos, and, of course, the chance to chat (and party) with other industry professionals. Book your tickets here.

FloorTek Expo 2021 is taking place September 14th and 15th in the capital of all things flooring: Dalton, Georgia. With over 50 pioneering companies showcasing their products, this is one show you won’t want to miss. Plus, attendance is free—what’s not to like? Sign up here.

The Floor Covering Installation Contractors Association (FCICA) Annual Convention and Commercial Flooring Trade Show will be held September 13th–15th in awesome Austin, Texas. Connect with other industry pros, check out new products, and eat all the breakfast tacos you can (they’re Austin’s culinary specialty!) Plus, the event includes an optional distillery tour. Need we say more? 

Finally, FloorCon 2021 registration is now open to the public! Taking place November 17th–18th in sunny Sarasota, Florida, this event promises to be a one-of-a-kind celebration of the flooring industry. We’re talking interactive training programs, networking opportunities, celebrity speakers, industry-changing announcements, and a whole lot more. For early access, discounts, and more information, visit www.broadlume.com/floorcon

FloorCon 2021 save the date

See You in September!

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And that’s that—thanks for reading the fourth edition of the Broadlume Dealer Digest. We hope you enjoyed it!

As always, we’d love to hear your feedback on anything you liked, didn’t like, or want to see in the future. Click here to let us know your thoughts! Or, email us at newsletter@broadlume.com

Either way, good luck selling floors and we’ll chat next month! 

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Author

Broadlume's Associate Director of Content Marketing, Samuel is a former travel writer, English teacher, and semi-professional trivia host. When he’s not creating content, he can be found doing crosswords, drinking coffee, and petting the office dogs.

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