ROYERSFORD, Penn. — With Surfaces opening in Las Vegas next week, flooring retailers and area rug manufacturers interested in the new Mobile Marketing/World Floor Covering Association (WFCA) online area rug retail platform should stop by the WFCA Surfaces booth #205 to learn how to get in on the action.
Announced earlier this month, the Rug Shop, as the new platform is called, is a full e-commerce solution, a retailer branded online rug shop offering more than 35,000 brand name area rugs to consumers (read full story). Plans are already underway to add pillows and throws to the platform. The WFCA is offering the Rug Shop to its members, allowing these dealers to enter into online sales with minimal effort, grow new revenue channels with zero inventory and compete with online retailers like Wayfair and Amazon. The service includes catalog management, customer service, returns, orders and credit card processing.
RugNews.com sits down with Carole Cross, CEO and president of the Pennsylvania-based full service strategic mobile and digital marketing agency, in the run up to the Las Vegas show to find out what rug retailers and vendors need to know.
Tell us about your WFCA membership and how many of your members carry rugs?
CC: The WFCA has over 2,000 unique members with over 600 of these members being retailers. We just launched the partnership with the Rug Shop, so we are marketing and communicating the details of the program to our members now.I would estimate around 20 percent to 25 percent of WFCA members carry rugs in their stores. We are seeing a lot of flooring accounts that used to carry area rugs several years ago that got out of the business due to inability to turn inventories come back in due to the ease and simplicity of the e-commerce model for them.
How many members you estimate will sign up for the Rug Shop?
CC: Due to the cost effectiveness, simplicity of the program, we expect a significant amount interest from WFCA members. Almost all flooring retailers selling hard surfaces see this as an easy additional add-on for their customers after purchasing a hard surface product.
Are any WFCA members signed up? Or up and running? How many?
CC: We have several WFCA members using the platform, over 200 unique flooring retailers representing more than 250 physical flooring store locations currently live on the platform.
What are the criteria for Mobile Marketing to accept a rug vendor?
CC: Rug vendors need to be able to provide some great products with a full e-commerce product catalog, competitive pricing, real time inventory and the ability to ship directly to consumers within two days.
Are you still working with the National Flooring Association, which we wrote about last year (read full story)?
CC: Yes. We currently have several NFA members on the platform. In addition to selling area rugs, we have recently launched our latest flooring e-commerce product that provides a fully functional branded flooring e-commerce service with several large flooring retailers, including some NFA members.
Any results to report?
CC: We have seen tremendous interest and growth in our rugs and flooring e-commerce services. We have an industry leading position with a scalable e-commerce platform and infrastructure standing behind delivering these services. We have tripled down on our investments and infrastructure in the last two years to support the growth we are seeing in this area, including recently hiring a new CIO to lead our development growth.
Is there anything similar you offer in other home products categories?
CC: Yes — In addition to area rugs, rug pads, custom rugs, we will be enhancing that platform to include pillows and throws. As mentioned earlier we also recently launched our latest flooring e-commerce product, which provides a fully functional branded or non-branded flooring e-commerce service for hardwood, laminate, vinyl, tile and carpet categories, including related trims, moldings, underlayments, and accessories. We are offering this service for a very competitive monthly fee. Our flooring e-commerce catalog contains well over 100,000+ items.
In addition, we have started development on two new categories including cabinets and wood walls and hope to launch our first e-commerce clients on these platforms mid- year.
Do you have any stats on how rugs measure up against other decorating products and other floor covering products in the e-commerce channel?
CC: I do not against other decorating products, however, most flooring product e-commerce sales average close to $1,500 for product only, and the retailer also offers installation services, so compared to area rugs online sale, this is significantly higher. However, they do nicely complement each other. It is a natural consumer reaction to want to protect and/or cover their latest brand new hardwood flooring investment with a new area rug and pad.
What are the costs to the dealer?
CC: The costs to the retailer are very competitive and the program easily pays for itself with less than one order a month. We encourage people to call us at 866-590-6588, contact us online at https://www2.rugs.shop/info/ or visit us at the WFCA booth #2057 at Surfaces where we will have promotional sign up packages.