express– Company turnover is topping £50 million and the company has also seen demand for samples rise 172 percent. While that reflects the home improvement boom that has swept the UK during lockdown, it also demonstrates the strength of the company’s multi-channel model, says chief executive Dan Foskett who co-founded the company in 2012 initially as an e-commerce venture with friend and chief operating officer Michael Roy.
“In today’s world you have to be both off and online, but our industry it’s still one camp or the other” says Foskett.
“Coming from an online background we aimed to create a business based on style, comfort and affordable prices for customers and focused on disrupting a very traditional industry with an efficient, modern approach.”
“We then quickly realised people definitely want a retail experience too, so stores had to be a part of that. But how they operated and what they offered had to change and that evolution continues to happen.
“Our store roll-out is different in that we don’t rely on huge footprints because we don’t keep stock in store. Instead we led the way supplying samples. Our showrooms are small and flexible. We’ve packed them with interactive displays and technology so shoppers are immersed in our brands, can engage with products and visualise them in their homes.
“Our pledge of a 100-day free returns service is another differentiator and creates trust and loyalty.
“Having the ecommerce presence, we had a big audience and the infrastructure already so could keep processing orders during lockdown.”
From successful retailer Flooring Superstore has now taken on the mantle of new product developer, driving sustainable change.
Its scratch-resistant, anti-slip and waterproof EvoCore flooring is mineral-based and a recyclable alternative to many laminates.
“We’ve worked hard with five partners in Europe and the Far East to produce texture and colours as close to wood as possible. EvoCore won’t expand or contract and is pet-friendly, we’re really proud of it,” says Foskett who has also just unveiled an Eco-Living rug range produced totally from recycled materials.
Next up and coming soon will be a Serene, a range of carpets made with recycled fishing nets, underlay from recycled plastic and recyclable artificial grass.
Never one to shy away from radical moves, Flooring Superstore’s makeover of its logistics has been one of its most significant.
Triggered by Amazon offering work for couriers who then streamlined their operations with smaller vans, there were then fewer deliverers available to handle big rolls of carpet.
“We needed to get control to ensure reliable deliveries and created our own fleet,” says Foskett.
Setting up depots supported by overnight rented warehouse space they built a flexible network able to manage all the supply chain variables.
“Now we’ve got a network of 85 vehicles and have 99 percent next day delivery,” he adds.
Customers are currently residential and landlords, but Foskett wants to expand with commercial clients and establish an installer network.
A £5million investment from Growth Partner just before lockdown will double its stores to 50 and add 100 more jobs to its 280-strong workforce.
Foskett discovered a talent for sales and business early on as a schoolboy when instead of a Saturday job he chose to sell computer parts on eBay.
That turned into a bigger enterprise and then he and Roy had a chance encounter with a landlord unhappy with the service he was getting from flooring companies. They all agreed there was a business opportunity.
“So we switched and he backed us,” recalls Foskett. “He seemed to see we had a bit of promise and that is how Flooring Superstore was born.”
The company also wants to be the UK’s most forward-thinking, carbon-neutral flooring retailer and aims to plant 20 million trees in the next five years – having already put a million in the ground since launching the initiative a few months ago.
Now as the role of technology becomes ever more important in all retail, Foskett sees augmented reality bringing offline and online ever closer together.
“We will ensure our showrooms continue to be futuristic and experiential,” he says. “Balancing the physical, tactile and sensual with technology creates a truly rounded shopping experience.”