The World Floor Covering Association has launched a new Internet resource aimed at consumers shopping for floor coverings. The site, www.wfca.org, was officially launched on Sept. 14 and has been designed to provide in-depth information on all types of floor coverings without promoting specific brands or products. WFCA says the goal is to give consumers knowledge that will enable them to make the floor covering purchase decisions based on their individual tastes and the way they live.

Prominently featured is nationally recognized interior designer Rebecca Cole who has entered into a partnership with the WFCA. A frequent contributor to NBC-TV's Today Show and host of Discovery Channel's Surprise by Design, Cole will share her design experience and offer tips to visitors to the site.

"For the first time, consumers looking for information about floor covering on the web can visit our site, obtain the information they need from an unbiased source, and then select a retailer they can trust," said D. Christopher Davis, WFCA president and ceo.

The new website offers a variety of cutting-edge interactive tools. The Virtual Room Designer, for example, allows consumers to experiment with the complete range of flooring products and colors in a variety of sample rooms. The site lets consumers save their own personal workbook to assist in preparing a customized look for their home. The workbook can then be send to a retailer to help facilitate the order.

The site also includes a dealer-locator feature that connects consumers with WFCA members based on zip codes. The members included subscribe to the association's code of conduct which mandates a high level of professionalism and customer service. The code of ethics is prominently posted on the site.

Other sections include: What I Like Quiz; Tips to Keep Your Floor Looking New; Where Can I Get Design Ideas; What You Need to Know Before You Buy; How Can I Buy With Confidence; and What Product is Best for My Home and Family.

"This is an exciting new benefit for the WFCA," said Robert Hill, WFCA chairman. "We are in a unique position to build a digital gateway to connect consumers searching the Internet to the association's retailer community and will result in the generation of new qualified leads for each of the retailers listed on the site."

"We know the number one barrier to the sale is the consumer's lack of confidence in a retailer," said Davis. "Our research has shown buyers are fearful of making a mistake because they don't know enough about the product or how to find a qualified retailer," he added.

"The WFCA and I share the belief that great design starts with the floor," said Cole. "I am excited about this opportunity to reach consumers through the web and give them the help they need to achieve great designs that fits their lifestyle."