Chattanooga, TN — 3/22/21 Alliance Flooring held its Connect ’21 Virtual Product Showcase March 15-17, an online event which brought together members and suppliers virtually for new product and merchandising introductions, buying, networking and training to prepare them for the upcoming selling season. Content was delivered through a website portal with pre-produced videos presented in an “on-demand” format as well as a few live webinar events held by suppliers. Each supplier also had their own virtual “exhibit booth” where all new introductions and information was posted.
The event replaced the usual in-person convention originally scheduled for early March 2021. According to Kevin Logue, Alliance Flooring’s executive vice president of marketing, the move was made to safeguard members, suppliers and staff until the time comes when a live, in-person event can take place. Alliance Flooring said it plans to hold an in-person convention at Rosen Shingle Creek in Orlando during October 2021.
When asked about what Alliance Flooring wanted members to take away from the event, Kevin Logue said, “We want our members to know that we will always be stronger together, and we are greater as one. Despite us being unable to hold an in-person meeting this past winter, we want our members to feel a sense of connectivity with us and with each other as we plan for 2021. Our members are resilient and have persevered through the tough times, and we want them to know how much we appreciate their strength and spirit.”
During a welcome address to launch Connect ’21, Ron Dunn, co-CEO, and son Ryan Dunn, executive vice president of sales, also praised Alliance Flooring members for the way they persevered and leaned on each other during the COVID-19 pandemic that upended businesses for long stretches in 2020 and continues to this day. “It was absolutely inspiring to see how members pulled together,” Ryan Dunn said.
Echoing that point, Ron Dunn added, “Nobody gave up, nobody rolled over. The resolve to drive business in 2020 was very inspiring.”
At an in-person convention, new displays and products are launched, there are addresses from leadership and breakout sessions. This year, even though it was virtual, was no different.
Logue said, “Through our Connect ’21 virtual product showcase, we rolled out a new assortment of COLORTILE® brand hard surface products with a focus on high performance rigid core LVP, waterproof hardwood, and ceramic and porcelain tile. Now more than ever, it is important to differentiate yourself at retail with a unique product assortment that cannot be shopped online. Our private labeling and COLORTILE branding in hard surface accomplishes this, while giving RSAs the training and selling tools they need to be successful.”
In his state of the industry talk, co-CEO Jon Logue walked through the highlights of 2020 and projections for 2021. Although the second quarter of 2020 was down 25 percent, he said, the group bounced back in both the third and fourth quarters to finish the year down only slightly. 2021, he said, started off strong and is predicted to continue to go up thanks to the state of the economy.
Things of particular note for the year to come for Alliance Flooring members, according to Jon Logue, include digital marketing growth (Alliance offers a suite of digital marketing tools to help members), a sale on waterproof flooring that is going on until April 14, new product updates and LVT supply possibly being low in coming months (so he urged members to stock up).
“It’s going to be a great year,” Jon Logue added. With unemployment getting lower, consumer confidence improving, low interest rates and growth in the housing market — to name a few highs — he predicted growth for 2021.
Kevin Logue expounded on digital marketing growth by saying Alliance Flooring will continue to ramp up the digital marketing tools made available to members. He said, “The “new normal” for today’s consumer makes having an impactful online presence even more critical for retailers. Engaging websites with SEO that’s dialed in, as well as social media marketing are a must for our members.”
Kevin Logue wrapped up the event by saying, “We are most excited about seeing our members again in person at our Alliance Flooring Family Reunion event this October in Orlando, Florida. We are looking forward to being together for networking, fellowship and fun as we all experience the magic that happens when our group comes together.”