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Issue Date: 2019 MARCH, Posted On: 3/1/2019


03012019 Flooring America's Keith Spano Weighs in on E-Commerce Rugs
By Carol Tisch
FLOORING AMERICA'S KEITH SPANO WEIGHS IN ON E-COMMERCE RUGS
 
Keith Spano, president of Flooring America/Flooring Canada and The Floor Trader, meets with RugNews.com at the co-op's winter 2019 Connextion to discuss area rug sales in-store and with Rugs.Shop.

OXON HILL, Md. -- Ask any retailer if they'd like incremental business without a dollar of inventory commitment, and they'll tell you the answer is a no-brainer. That's the impetus for Flooring America's decision get into the e-commerce rug business, according to Keith Spano, president of Flooring America/Flooring Canada and The Floor Trader group.

In an exclusive interview at the co-op's January 2019 Connextion convention at the National Gaylord Resort, Spano and Frank Chiera, SVP of marketing and advertising, sat down with RugNews.com to discuss the Rugs.Shop e-commerce platform and the state of the rug business at their flooring stores. (Also, RugNews.com walked the show and here's what rug vendors had to say about Connextion 2019.)

Keith Spano takes the stage at the Flooring America/Flooring Canada 2019 Connextion convention, held in January at the Gaylord National Resort near Washington, D.C.

Launched in August with Carpet One and Flooring America members, Rugs.Shop is already showing promising results - and being extended to Flooring Canada members as well. "It's exciting news - brand new for Canada. We're talking orders here and we will be ready to launch in the next month or two," Spano explained.
Why E-Commerce
 
"The beauty of Rugs.Shop, which we have embedded in our websites now, is that it gives our members the ability to sell rugs all day long without any inventory," he continued. "It allows them to add sales that we have never gotten before without the monetary investment."

"When we look at our flooring campaign with a broad brush, we don't do a lot of area rug business. We have seen a decline in the amount of rugs that our members have been showing over the years because the Internet has changed the rug business - especially the machine-made rug business. It's never going back to the way it was. Today, every square foot of retail space has to pay for itself," Spano said.

Still, with over 60 percent of the 500-member co-op's sales now hard surface, FA/FC sees lots of potential to warm up those floors with area rugs. "It makes a lot of sense for our retail sales professionals, once they sell that hard surface job, to hand the customer their card, give them a special sales person coupon and say, 'Now that you have this beautiful hard surface flooring, which rug should we put with it? Go on our website, check it out, and you can have my personal discount,'" he said.

"We're not just selling inexpensive rugs; we have $3,000 and $5,000 online sales -- Frank Chiera, Flooring America

The co-op's marketing guru, Frank Chiera has been scrutinizing members' online sales, and sees an opportunity in merchandising the e-commerce component at brick and mortar stores. "We're not just selling inexpensive rugs online; we have $5,000 sales and $3,000 sales - those are decent-size rug sales," Chiera reports. "At this convention we're showing the retailer that, yes, you have the link on the website and the e-commerce capability. But, we're encouraging them to put up POP signage in their stores, and have every sales person that has a business card flip it over with a coupon for rugs."

Behind the Scenes

The program presently offers only Rugs.Shop vendor products, but parent company CCA Global is looking into how they might be more involved in determining which vendors are featured on its member websites. Spano points out that rug companies currently on Rugs.Shop know how to fulfill the orders, have the money invested in the required inventory, the warehousing and logistics to compete with big e-commerce retailers. "It's real time. We know when that order is placed if it is in stock or not, and when it is going to get there. It's a very smooth system."
 
A screen grab from a CCA Global dealer offering area rugs through the Rugs.Shop platform highlights a spring sale on all rugs through April 4, 2019. 
















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