Carpet One Floor & Home, a floor covering cooperative with more than 1,000 retail locations in the US, Canada, Australia and New Zealand, recently launched an e-commerce platform supporting its bricks-and-mortar stores using the Blueport Commerce service.
Each store has its own URL and unique site reflecting its offerings and enabling users to benefit from local promotions and services. At the same time, retailers benefit from the corporate Carpet One Floor & Home brand name when consumers visit the corporate Web site, which is then customized to replicate the local site closest to where they are located. A user’s location is pinpointed via geo-mapping where possible. Otherwise, a ZIP code entry field is presented.
“The challenge that a lot of major retailers face is that ultimately their business comes down to being a local business, particularly for big ticket items,” said Carl Prindle, president and CEO at Blueport. “The battle for a sale comes down to competing with other local businesses on pricing, promotions, availability and other factors.”
From Carpet One’s perspective, it saw a “tremendous potential for e-commerce as the largest flooring retailer in America,” said Prindle. However, it faced the challenge of how to fulfill the brand promise locally online.
The local stores will promote their individual Web sites via search engine marketing and local activities while the corporate headquarter of Carpet One will promote the corporate site using search marketing.
Carpet One’s co-op business is similar to a franchise model in that each store is independently owned and operated. In the co-op model, however, individual owners have more freedom to pick and choose which services offered by the umbrella organization they would like to take advantage of.
Blueport Commerce was created this spring by the management team of Furniture.com, which saw an opportunity to provide e-commerce solutions for retailers of products that are hard to ship or not well understood, such as furniture or flooring.