With shelter-in-place orders limiting interaction, and travel at a standstill, staying in touch has been of key importance not only for business but also as a support network for the flooring community at large.
Shannon Cochran, Patcraft’s vice president of creative and design, said teams across all departments, from marketing to design, regularly communicate with their customers to find out what’s happening, discuss trends, and generate ideas.
“For us as a brand, it’s really important that we stay connected to the market, and to find out what the needs are,” Cochran said. “And clearly, those needs are changing rapidly. As part of our design process, our team really got together and started talking about what’s changing and what’s going to be important when we get back to work.”
Indeed, the Patcraft creatives have gained valuable insight about how people function in their spaces. As we all come to terms with a new normal for work and play, that knowledge will help to create flooring that is flexible and functional.
Customer feedback sessions are used as a tool to shape product plans. Formerly, teams often traveled across the country with account managers for these in-person sessions, but now technology is being used even more to help bring people together. Manufacturers and clients can talk on the phone or via the web, and virtual meetings are now an ideal forum for discussing color or detailing, especially when showing hard-surface products.
Cochran noted that they are using renderings and swatch previews to share with their clients. “We’ve set up digital feedback, and we’re actually doing it in hard surface. There’s not as much texture and inconsistency like there is with fiber or carpet. You can really see the artwork because of the way it’s printed on the hard surface.”
Yet Patcraft isn’t solely focusing on new designs. They are also providing essential flooring so that projects already underway can be completed on time and under budget. “We have Anew, which is an LVT collection that’s made in our plant here in Georgia, and it’s quick-ship. Having a product that is local and can be shipped quickly is going to be very important,” Cochran added. Fully produced in the United States, it is available to ship in just ten business days.
As we are changing how we interact with one another in existing spaces and are designing interiors to complement our new way of living, flooring will be a central component. Having flooring that is easy to clean is also going to be key in commercial spaces, as individuals are expressing concern about their health and are seeking out antimicrobial flooring options.
“We know that cleaning protocols are going to be different, and this is a product that helps to meet an immediate need,” said Cochran.