March 8, 2013

Werner Braun: CRI unveils ebook for retailers


— Remember the days when we gathered most of our information from our daily newspapers and the local library?

They’re still both great resources today, but the information superhighway continues to give us many other side streets and thoroughfares to explore. The ability to perform “Google” searches on our phones, iPads, laptops and other personal devices has revolutionized the way we access information. It’s a whole new world.

At the Carpet and Rug Institute, we’ve made communicating with our various publics a priority, and as most successful 21st century businesses do, we’ve begun to rely more and more heavily on the web.

Recently, we’ve had the opportunity to ratchet that up a notch by launching our first electronic book, or ebook, which lets us put valuable information seamlessly into the hands of our carpet and flooring sales forces for use when they need it most.

During the annual Surfaces Trade Show, the premier trade show for the nation’s flooring industry which took place in Las Vegas at the tail end of January, we unveiled “The Carpet Chronicles: Highlights from the CRI Blog for Retailers and Their Customers.”

“The Carpet Chronicles” is a three-section interactive book that is designed as a tool for the thousands of carpet retailers across the U.S. and beyond, retailers who often need a “handy” reference tool to provide on-the-spot information and advice for the customers who frequent their showrooms.

This ebook is aimed at a particular audience — retailers — and provides them with an easy training resource for their sales force as well.

Retailers, who after all are the backbone of our enterprise, need to give consumers immediate answers, without having to wade through a lot of extraneous information. This ebook provides a wealth of talking points to help retailers pull up those answers seemingly out of hand.

If you have a chance, take a look at our ebook, which can be accessed on the CRI website,  www.carpet-rug.org, in the online newsroom.

What you’ll find is an attractive, informative manual that is divided into these three sections: The Benefits of Carpet, Indoor Air Quality and Shopping for Carpet.

The Benefits of Carpet section addresses why carpet is America’s No. 1 flooring choice, stressing the comfort, safety, warmth, sound reduction, relative value and easy care that carpeted floors provide.

The Indoor Air Quality section focuses on the strengths and benefits of CRI’s Green Label Plus indoor air quality standard, and the Shopping for Carpet section offers tips on choosing a carpet style, selecting the right pad or cushion, installing carpets in basements and preparing for new carpet installation.

We’ve found that these three sections cover topics that are particularly pertinent to retailers in the marketplace today. Many of the frequently asked questions (FAQs) that we answer at CRI are addressed here.

For example, we’ve found that one of the most asked questions has to do with concerns about indoor air quality and allergens. The section of the ebook on indoor air quality addresses those concerns by citing current research which debunks the myth that carpet exacerbates asthma and allergy symptoms.

“The Carpet Chronicles” also piggybacks on many of our other communication materials in print and on the web by providing the same great advice on cleaning and maintaining carpet that you’ve come to expect from the world’s premier nonprofit flooring trade organization.

In all of our information venues, we stress the importance of finding and using carpet cleaning products and equipment that are of the highest quality, and we try to educate the consumer on the advantages of buying equipment and products that have earned CRI’s Seal of Approval certification.

This ebook is interactive, with frequent hyperlinks to take readers to relevant pages from all over the web as well as in-depth articles on the CRI Blog at http://www.criblog.org. It’s also attractively designed, featuring images of people interacting with carpet in their homes, schools and businesses.

Much of what appears in this ebook has been adapted from our blog, which has been deemed by Social Flooring Index as the “most influential” and “No. 1 blog” in the floorcovering industry.

All in all, “The Carpet Chronicles” is a great tool, particularly for retailers, but it can be useful to anyone who needs a quick answer to a burning question. The ebook has scored more than 600 downloads already, and it’s only been available online for about five weeks. We hope you’ll take the chance to see what questions our ebook can answer for you.



Werner Braun is president of the Dalton-based Carpet and Rug Institute.