At the CCA Global Retail Group summer convention, executives gave members insight into “The Future of Next”—the cooperative's Retail 2.0 strategies that reflect the seismic shift that has redefined retail over the last couple years, accelerated by 2020’s unprecedented global pandemic.
"Every shopping experience starts online today," said Howard Brodsky, co-CEO, CCA Global. "You have to have integration with our online presence and our in-store presence. This will be a journey. It will take some work. It will take us into the future—a future that is very bright for us."
CCA executives explained what's planned for Carpet One Floor & Home and Flooring America/Flooring Canada stores. The strategies incorporate the evolving customer experience through in-store merchandising, digital technology, product mix and marketing.
"We are reinventing the future of retail flooring," said Keith Spano, president, Flooring America/Flooring Canada.
A Simplified Merchandising System
Carpet One Floor & Home and Flooring America/Flooring Canada stores have the opportunity to invest in a new integrated and simplified product presentations for hard and soft surface.
The concept hatched from a brand and merchandising review that began in 2019.
"What it quickly evolved to was what does the consumer really want from us?" said Charlie Dilks, chief product officer, CCA Global.
The answer: a simpler shopping experience.
"We are moving towards a signature brand and reinventing merchandising," said Theresa Fisher, senior vice president, visual merchandising and brand development.
In the new hard surface concept, which has been tested by members via a pilot program for 16 months, the wood looks are displayed together, including engineered wood and waterproof solutions. The floors are organized by color to create an ombre effect.
"We have to look up from what we know and give the customer the ease and simplicity they're asking for," Fisher said.
Gary Canizaro, owner of Premiere Flooring America in Metairie, Louisiana, has had the new hard surface system in store for six days.
"The concept and ease of presentation will work," Canizaro said. "It's a different presentation process and it streamlines the selection process allowing the customer to focus on the product that will actually look nice in their home."
Canizaro said he believes in CCA and that's why he invested in the new merchandising system.
"They have focus groups and have invested a lot of money and time and effort to learn about why consumers buy from individual stores," Canizaro said. "That was enough to convince me to look towards the future."
Soft surface displays also take a simpler approach, with patterns organized by feeling or expression: patterns, loops, texture, solids/tonals. Products are merchandised on three wall displays and five islands. The islands will have casters so that they can be respositioned as needed.
"We'll send people to the store who will do a full inventory of every single program—dimensions windows, outlets, etcetera—everything that we need to create a department plan for you for both hard surface and soft surface," Fisher said. "We will even have an interactive floor plan for your entire store that you'll be able to assess your future floor moves. And then when it's time to install, they will do everything for you: they'll remove the old displays; they'll take them either to a warehouse or to the dumpster; they'll set the new department—all of displays, the graphics—and they'll load the displays and your price samples."
"I'm really excited about the Retail 2.0," said Illaria Hare Heiderich, who runs Flooring America in Seattle, Washington, with her father Jim Heiderich. "I'd already committed to taking on the hard surface and now that I've seen the carpet, I am super excited. I'm going to reorganize the whole showroom. It's going to change our whole business."
Digital Marketing: The Local Brand Story
Retailers will gain new modern websites later this year—more customizable than the current sites, which were launched six years ago—so that retailers can better tell their local brand story. The sites are built mobile first with features that streamline the online customer's journey to the showroom so that there is consistency between the online and in-store experiences.
“What we’re talking about with these new websites is creating an incredible customer experience,” said Frank Chiera, senior VP marketing and advertising. “It all starts with the 27-7 showroom: your website.”