Originally posted on FloorCoveringWeekly.com on 11/10/2010
With value and price the most important things on consumer’s minds in the present day, being able to differentiate business while bringing increasing value to the supply chain is important for distributors. Two people who understand the issues distributors face when choosing wood lines are Jim Claypool, wood marketing manager, and Rosana Chaidez, vice president of supply chain, at FCW No. 1-ranked distributor J.J. Haines. FCW associate editor Emily Cappiello talked to Claypool and Chaidez, who together talked about what it takes to make sure Haines is able to deliver what retailers and consumers want.
What hardwood products are retailers asking for?
Retailers are asking for value-oriented products — products that have a blend of quality and price. Retailers are also asking for sales promotions that help them sell more hardwood. The marketing team at Haines works hard to run several 60-day sales, not just on hardwood, but many of our flooring products.
What are some of the benefits that having multiple wood lines bring to distribution?
Consumers want a wide variety of hardwood floors to choose from. Multiple wood lines allow us to be a one-stop shop for our retailers when it comes to wood. The Haines truck can deliver a variety of brands, offering a bundling solution to retailers and offering brands and products that meet the needs of consumers. Retailers have the benefit of efficiency by getting the product they need from one place with one delivery.
How do you narrow down product?
We select suppliers very carefully to assure that our supplier partners can offer the quality and the services we do. We go through due diligence before selecting a supplier. Our preference is to support our current suppliers by expanding our offering with their products. We look to them to provide the products our customer’s want. Many of the lines we have today were driven by customer demand.
How do you make sure that the products you offer bring value to the retailer?
We review and analyze market demand for species, style, color, finish and design. We listen to the feedback from our suppliers, retailers and our account executives before we make decisions on product selection. Additionally, we get input from our Loyalty Club retailers about what is important to them. We also work together with our suppliers to promote the products at competitive prices and to deliver the value products that our customers want. Our focus is not on having every product at every retailer, but to have the right products that best compliments their business. We train and educate our customers on the features and benefits of each line to aid our retailers with their promotions. As for trends, we listen to all of the feedback and we influence our suppliers. Our suppliers do a good job in studying trends.
Why is it important to consistently evaluate your product mix?
Our role as a distributor is to provide a broad and attractive portfolio of products and array of services. We have to stay at the forefront of the latest technology, fashion, and styles as our customers depend on distribution to offer what their consumers want. As a distributor, we have to help our customers grow their business and it starts with having the right products.