Schneider’s Flooring America in Vernon, Connecticut, recently implemented CCA Global Partners’ Retail 2.0 merchandising and marketing program in its showroom. Paul Deschenes, general manager, spoke with Floor Trends & Installation about the store’s experience. The Connecticut-based store is about 6,500 square feet with 10 employees.

Floor Trends & Installation: When did the program roll out in your store?

Paul Deschenes: We were in the first 100 stores that got the hard surface Retail 2.0, so we’ve had that for about a year now. We got the soft surface around August of last year.

Floor Trends & Installation: How has business been since implementing Retail 2.0?

Deschenes: It’s been a weird past six months. Since September, business started dropping off. It had nothing to do with Retail 2.0, the traffic has just slowed down. But I can say, the amount of time that we have to work with a customer has decreased because they’re quicker to make a selection with Retail 2.0 than they were before. The sales process itself has shrunk. We are starting to see traffic finally increase this month, sales are picking up.

Floor Trends & Installation: Have you heard any feedback from customers about their experience with the new program?

Deschenes: People love it. Right after we put it in, when we weren’t even really comfortable with it yet, I had a woman come in the store. She had been to three other stores, she knew exactly what she wanted with a specific color she was looking for, but couldn’t find it anywhere. When she went to take a look at the new display, she said she hasn’t seen anything else like it before. Since she knew exactly what color she wanted, she was able to go right to that section in the display. Within 15 minutes, she had her perfect color of luxury vinyl plank.

Floor Trends & Installation: Have you seen any challenges with the new system?

Deschenes: We’ve had more challenges with the carpet side because it’s not sorted by color like the hard surface. It’s sorted by style, so it’s taking a little more adjusting on the sales approach.

Floor Trends & Installation: What trends have you been seeing?

It seems like it’s less about price—people are shopping for a quality product.

Deschenes: It seems like it’s less about price—people are shopping for a quality product. When they find that product in Retail 2.0, they’re not afraid to take out their wallets. They really like the Adore Your Floor Guarantee, which covers a one-time replacement during the warranty period, giving you a safety net for any unexpected twists and turns that life may throw your way. This way, they know they have a safety net where if for some reason, they don’t like it after it’s installed, they can have it changed out. There’s a relief and less of a hesitancy to purchase an expensive product.

As far as color trends, our carpet line is seeing a lot of neutrals. We’re still not seeing any bright colors. There are a lot of beiges, browns and tans.

Floor Trends & Installation: What’s your outlook for the remainder of the year?

Deschenes: I’m feeling pretty good especially since we’ve seen that uptick in sales right now. We also do kitchen and bath remodeling; we moved into that about eight years ago. I’m starting to see more bathroom and kitchen remodels.

Floor Trends & Installation: What are your plans for growth?

Deschenes: We’re in the process of making more changes to our showroom. We purchased more of the display add-ons and the central hub. We’re getting ready for the next phase which is going to be moving my salespeople in an office in the back corner of the store and move to one floor throughout the entire store, instead of all the little different samples of floors, then we’ll let the Retail 2.0 sell itself.

I’m searching for another retail salesperson right now to help with growth but I’m also going to start searching for another outside salesperson to put another Main Street Commercial person on the street. Commercial sales are slightly down right now, but I think having another person out there expanding our commercial market is definitely going to help us grow the company.