As the modern-day retail landscape continues to change, specialty flooring retailers are faced with a new set of challenges, from remaining price competitive and credible, to navigating the consumer down the digital path, to exploring new markets for growth. Armstrong Flooring is addressing these and other challenges with its retail program, Elevate.

Launched at Surfaces last year, the program has been expanded in 2017 with new business-building initiatives, according to Tom Cole, senior manager, specialty flooring retail strategy and channel marketing. “The intent of the Elevate program is to maximize the retailer’s opportunity to be profitable by building on trust in the Armstrong Flooring brand and entering new market segments that are flourishing,” he said.

The program assists and supports retailers from distinct product lines to selling stories, merchandising, training and more. The consumer dynamic also is changing as today’s homeowners and small business owners are more educated, sophisticated and technologically advanced than in the past. In addition, millennials demand an integrated, seamless experience regardless of the channel, making it necessary for specialty retailers to have a robust web experience.

“That means being able to transition effortlessly from consumer-driven activities on their smart phones or personal computers, to specialty flooring retail showrooms,” Cole said. “The brick and mortar retailer remains valued at the moment of purchase because homeowners and small business owners are highly influenced by what they see, feel and learn, including interactions with retail sales associates.”

Cole said the company has developed distinct product lines, exclusive to the specialty flooring retailer, with clear selling stories. Modular merchandising is available in sizes and configurations that adapt to the retailer’s footprint, and training is readily available in-store or online. Customized, fully integrated market development programs allow retailers to target new customers in top market segments, including remodel/replacement, new home construction, multi-family and Main Street commercial.

“Our goal is to help specialty flooring retailers increase sales, improve margins and enhance customer satisfaction through a renewed, flexible, scalable retail program and closer connection with Armstrong Flooring,” Cole said. “We want to earn preferred partner status and become their go-to resource for the breadth of our product line, and for the programs and promotions that assist in successful sell-through.”

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