Flooring ecommerce (meaning, taking orders online) is something I still get a lot of phone calls about due to the all the ecommerce websites we have developed since 1998. In the earl days, we just made static product pages, then we progressed to database-driven flooring catalogs. Eventually adding the ability to checkout and process credit card transactions online.
We have learned a lot since then about selling flooring online. There was a real learning curve over the years for the flooring retail sellers as well as Webstream Dynamics. Then came the time when digital marketing became a must in order to sell more consumers searching the Internet for flooring brands. Some flooring ecommerce retailers grew fast and disappeared. While others, found it was so time consuming for their store staff to handle all the phone calls and questions. Those who dedicated a separate staff to their ecommerce website fared much better.
So, what does it take now to be successful selling flooring online?
Flooring Ecommerce Website
You need a well-designed flooring e-commerce website that can convert sq.ft. to full cartons. Most off the shelf shopping carts cannot do that. This requires a lot of extra data stored in your database. Our flooring ecommerce website database has been handling that for many years.
There are several templated, website offerings from flooring website competitors offering product catalogs, but they do not handle flooring e-commerce and they do not even know how to set it up correctly. With 21 years of flooring ecommerce experience we know it inside and out, like no other website development company in the flooring industry.
Digital Marketing for Flooring Ecommerce
How will potential flooring buyers find you online? Getting listed on page one in Google’s search results leaves you with several things to consider:
- Pay-per-click advertising using Google AdWords can get you listed instantly on the first page of the Google search Results, but it costs money, So you need an understanding of how Google AdWords works and a setup on Adwords to control and monitor your ROI.
- Getting listed on page #1 of Google’s organic, free search results isn’t an easy task either. With thousands of other web pages competing for page #1 it takes a lot of time and patience to be successful.
- Text ads, landing pages, quality score, keyword selection, etc. all effect the performance and ROI on your Google PPC ad campaigns.
So often today the online flooring seller is dependent on their supplier’s inventory. Now you have the customer’s money and a new order only to find out the product is on backorder or recently dropped. Ideally, you should have every SKU in stock that you are selling online, or mark SKUs as special order items with call for availability. Also, there is a big advantage for retailers who display their in stock items online. So, how do you manage in-store inventory online effectively? Webstream Dynamics has been there and done that.
Flooring is bulky, heavy and usually has to be shipped via an LTL carrier. Understanding how to cost-effectively manage LTL shipping costs and learn the tricks other online sellers use can increase more orders and increase your bottom line. Another option for stocking dealers is to buy online and pick up in store. Many retail e-commerce websites offer that option today.
All the big e-commerce players, such as Amazon, make returns simple and easy, just slap the return label on the package and put the box outside your front door. Stocking flooring you have the option to do the same thing, but special order, flooring require a re-stocking charge.
Claims in flooring are often a nightmare. For the big online players, it’s easy — just deduct it from the mill’s invoices and move on, but it’s not that easy for the average flooring dealer.
Any claims should be handled between the consumer and the shipping company, but the consumer doesn’t see it that way. They bought the flooring from you and you don’t want bad reviews, or worse, cancelled credit card transactions.
Wouldn’t it be nice to sell online like Amazon and not get any phone calls? Unfortunately, flooring buyers have a lot of questions, so the phones ring and you have to have a knowledgeable flooring staff to answer the many questions while build trust.
Selling flooring online has many hurdles to be successful, but it can be done. It takes time, money, commitment and digital savviness. Webstream Dynamics can help lower the learning curve and develop a successful flooring ecommerce solution.