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

This month, we have tons of important info to share with you: huge industry acquisitions, new tools that can help your store avoid lawsuits, and some proprietary studies that are going to blow your mind (and change the way you think about retail).

And since time is money (and money is flooring, and flooring is comfy—wait, what were we talking about again?) let’s get to it!

In Today’s Edition:

  • Broadlume Acquires Retail Lead Management (RLM)
  • Customers Expect to Visit Your Store HOW Many Times?!
  • What Questions Do You Want to Ask Customers?
  • FloorForce Partners with AudioEye to Help Dealers Avoid Lawsuits
  • Google Might Be Changing Your Pages’ Titles. Here’s Why You Should Care.
  • Industry Events and Announcements

Broadlume Acquires Retail Lead Management (RLM)

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Let’s jump right into the big industry news of the month: Broadlume has officially acquired Retail Lead Management (RLM)—the #1 CRM in the flooring industry—and brought on RLM founder/industry leader Jason Goldberg as a strategic advisor. 

Think this acquisition won’t affect your flooring store? You should probably think again.

To say that CRMs are “important” to small businesses would be a massive understatement. These days, CRM (Customer Relationship Management) platforms are an absolute must for any retailer that wants to remain competitive. 

They allow businesses to keep track of (and automate) nearly all aspects of their sales funnels. Leads, communications, follow-ups, orders, you name it—a CRM handles it all. 

And with so many leads coming in from different sources these days—phone calls, internet forms, Yelp, walk-ins, even text messages—having a CRM to manage customer relationships is more vital than ever. 

Best of all, since Retail Lead Management is the leading CRM in the flooring industry, this purchase is going to allow Broadlume to create the first-ever all-in-one platform for flooring dealers

Translation: Broadlume dealers are going to be able to blow their competition out of the water. So if you’re already working with FloorForce or Creating Your Space, reach out to your account manager for more info. And if you’re not… well, what are you waiting for? Get started now.

Customers Expect to Visit Your Store HOW Many Times?!

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If you’ve read this newsletter before, you know we have the power to survey thousands of consumers during their floor-buying journeys. 

Last month, those surveys revealed something amazing: that ​​60% of floor buyers would be more likely to visit a flooring store if they could browse that store’s catalog online.

This month, we asked 1,000 floor buyers how many times they expect to visit a flooring store before making a purchase. The answer is going to blow your mind—and possibly change the way you think about retail.

Why? Because 61% of floor buyers (614 out of 1,000) answered that they would only expect to visit a flooring store between 0 and 2 times before making a purchase. 

Even more incredible: over 36% of floor buyers (365 out of 1,000) answered that they would not expect to have to visit a flooring store at all before making a purchase—that they would do it all online!

Graph of study results: how many times do you expect to visit a flooring store before making a purchase

Look, we know that online shopping has made consumers less likely to want to visit stores in general, but even we were surprised by these answers. 

So: if the average consumer expects to be able to purchase flooring with zero trips to a flooring store (or, interpreted another way, in the fewest number of trips possible), how do you—a brick-and-mortar store—cater to that expectation? 

Luckily, there are a few things you can do as a flooring dealer that are proven to reduce the number of in-store visits a customer has to make before converting.

  1. Embrace Shop-at-Home. If you’ve been waiting for a sign to start a shop-at-home flooring business, this might be that sign. Consumers expect products to come to them—not vice-versa. And that’s exactly what a shop-at-home flooring business does.
  2. Invest in AR Visualization. Augmented reality visualizers make it easy for consumers to see how different floors will look in their homes. That means they don’t have to go to a store, pick up samples, drive home, drive back, get more samples, etc. Basically, if you have a visualizer on your website, you’re more likely to make a sale in fewer visits.
  3. Have an Up-to-Date Online Product Catalog. For the same reason as the visualizer, online product catalogs cut down on the number of times a buyer has to visit your store. And since most buyers don’t expect to have to visit your store at all—or at the very least, as few times as possible—it’s even more necessary.

So how do you get tools like that? Well, as much of a product plug as this is, you should sign up for FloorForce. They have product catalogs and AR visualizers already built into the websites they create for flooring retailers, and they’re able to equip shop-at-home businesses with top-of-the-line private label products. 

Again: we’re not trying to do an ad spot here—we’re just showing you the data and offering logical solutions.

What Questions Do You Want to Ask Customers?

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As fun as they are to write, we’re not making these newsletters for us. We’re making them to help you—the independent flooring dealer.

So we want to know: what questions do you want to ask floor buyers? 

Like we’re always saying, we can ask consumers any questions that 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!

FloorForce Partners with AudioEye to Help Dealers Avoid Lawsuits

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Last month, we talked about the massive uptick in “ADA Troll Lawsuits” that are currently wreaking havoc on small businesses—including flooring dealers.

These lawsuits target businesses whose websites aren’t in compliance with the Americans With Disabilities act. So why do we call them “troll” lawsuits?

Because the vast majority of them aren’t filed to help people with disabilities—rather, they’re a means of grabbing cash from small businesses that don’t have the resources to go to court. 

And with over 11,000 ADA compliance lawsuits filed in 2020 alone (and with each suit costing an average of $55,000 to resolve), they’re a heck of a big issue.

Luckily, FloorForce has partnered with AudioEye to provide dealers with a solution.

Given the scope of these lawsuits—and the appalling impact they’re having on unsuspecting flooring dealers—FloorForce realized they had to do something to protect their retailers.

So, starting this month, FloorForce is teaming up with AudioEye—the #1 leader in web accessibility—to help dealers grow while protecting themselves from the threat of litigation. Thanks to this partnership, FloorForce dealers will have access to AudioEye’s premium service plan at a significant discount.

But this partnership won’t just help dealers avoid lawsuits—it will also help them grow. According to AudioEye’s research, over 61 million American adults live with some form of disability. And the annual spending power of Americans with disabilities exceeds $1.2 trillion.

So by embracing AudioEye’s accessibility optimizations, flooring dealers won’t just be able to better protect themselves—they’ll be able to engage a whole new market that segment was previously closed to them. Win-win.

Already a FloorForce dealer? Reach out to your Account Manager for more info. Not working with FloorForce yet? Here’s how to do it.

Google Might Be Changing Your Pages’ Titles. Here’s Why You Should Care.

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This past month has brought (as per usual) some big updates from Google.

A wide-reaching search algorithm update (creatively titled the “link spam” update) created all sorts of chaos—even for websites that engage in zero link spamming. 

Luckily, that update seems to have leveled off—and most Google rankings (i.e. how far down a given website appears in a Google search) have stabilized.

But now, something really, really weird is happening. Google, it seems, is changing the titles of pages in its search results. And it’s doing it a lot. 

As a flooring dealer, you might think that doesn’t matter to your business—but it can make a tremendous difference to your online leads numbers.

As anyone who’s ever used Google (aka everyone) knows, the title of a page has a huge impact on whether or not it gets clicked on. 

For example: if you searched Google for the term “best LVP”, you would probably click on the article titled Best Vinyl Plank Flooringnot the article titled U Buy Our Cheap LVT We Have Very Gud Pricez! 

At least, we hope you would.

Anyway, this is why Google’s most recent shenanigans—changing the titles of pages in its search results, seemingly at will—are so alarming. When a buyer searches for flooring in their area, you want your web page’s proper title to show up—not a random header taken from your website, as Google seems to be doing now.

Luckily, there seems to be a pattern to these title changes. According to many SEO experts, they’re mostly happening to pages that Google deems to have “inappropriate” titles. Not inappropriate as in indecent—just inappropriate as in “another title would describe this page more accurately”.

All of that to say: if you’ve been seeing a drop in your organic web traffic recently, this might have something to do with it. And if you don’t know if your pages are accurately titled, you might want to get an SEO audit ASAP.

Industry Events and Announcements

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You may not be able to tell from the weather (we certainly can’t), but fall is on its way! And that means there are a ton of events and announcements echoing around the flooring industry.

NeoCon, the yearly event for the commercial design industry, will be taking place between October 4th and 6th in Chicago, IL. All of the industry’s major manufacturers will be there to showcase thousands of new products and services in flooring, fabrics, furniture, and tons of other categories that don’t start with the letter “f”. 

Not only does the event look terrific, but we’d also note that Chicago is one of the best cities for food in the entire world. Deep-dish pizza, anyone? Register here!

Now to the bad news. We regret to announce that the Starnet Annual Meeting of 2021—which was to be held in Carlsbad, CA on October 21st through 24th—has been canceled. We’re crossing our fingers that we’ll get to attend next year!

But we’re going to end on a high note, as it’s our pleasure to announce that FloorCon 2021 is fast approaching! 

Taking place November 17th–18th in sunny Sarasota, Florida, FloorCon is going to be a true celebration of the flooring industry. We’re talking interactive training programs, networking opportunities, celebrity speakers, industry-changing announcements, and a whole lot more. For more info, visit www.broadlume.com/floorcon. Can’t wait to see you there!

FloorCon 2021 save the date

See You in October!

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And that’s that—thanks for reading the fifth monthly 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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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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