Coverings 2014, the tile + stone industry’s largest international exposition in North America, offers an exceptionally wide-ranging conference program comprising more than 80 free sessions, many aimed specifically at retailers and distributors. Coverings returns to Las Vegas for its 25th Anniversary, April 29–May 2, at the Las Vegas Convention Center, with the education program beginning April 28 — adding a fifth day of conference programming.
In addition to the more than 900 exhibitors, retailers and distributors often cite the free conference sessions, which are categorized by professional experience ranging from novice to corporate leader, as a primary reason for attending the tile + stone super show. Coverings is an AIA/CES Provider, an NKBA CEU Provider Partner and is IDCEC approved. For the complete list of IDCEC and AIA approved sessions, please visit coverings.com/education.
In addition to the Keynote and Featured Speakers previously announced, other conference topics of particular interest to retailers and distributors address best practices for adapting one’s business methods to the digital age, ranging from how to access mobile shoppers to maintaining a business’ reputation online; guidance on managing the demands of the business, networking, and content marketing in the tile and stone industry; and practical knowledge about the latest standards and technology advancements in the industry.
Here are the details to some of these not-to-be-missed sessions:
· Luxury Appointments Elevate Bath Projects Into Lucrative Profit Centers. Christopher Grubb advises that passion for a luxurious bath has gone mainstream, elevating the bathroom to one of the most intricately designed and unique rooms in any project. Today’s consumers demand top quality materials and products and, from a cost-per-square-foot vantage point, the bath has evolved into one of the most lucrative rooms in any project. The presentation shares how to inject the bath with those special and sophisticated details that resonate with consumers. Tuesday, April 29, 12:30–1:30 p.m.
· Maintaining and Protecting Your Online Reputation. The reputation of a business is no longer solely in its owner’s hands. Internet sites, such as Angie’s List, and social media sites, like Twitter and Facebook, can make or break a business’ reputation. Despite this, many businesses rarely monitor their online comments or try to influence what customers say about them, and seem unaware of the power of online referrals or negative comments. Business owners must know where customers are posting comments and how to influence the messages about their business. Presented by associate publisher and social media specialist for Fabulous Floors Magazine, Lisbeth Caladrino, this session will help business owners to gain an understanding about today’s customers and how those customers may influence new business for the company. Tuesday, April 29, 1:45– 2:45 p.m.
· Preventing Burnout –Tools for Managing The Exploding Demands on Our Time, Energy and Attention. Fast Company recently featured an article entitled “The American Dream on Steroid,” which focused on a series of emerging trends impacting the modern workplace, including unpredictable workflow, fast-paced work with tight deadlines, work-related events outside regular hours, and availability to clients 24/7. As a result of these trends, the article concludes, “the 60-hour workweek is part time.” Corporate training specialist and organizational development consultant, Sandy Smith notes how these emerging trends are taking a toll on the health and well-being of employees at all levels of organizations, and how these trends may lead to employee burnout – which not only affects business productivity, but harms family life as well. This session will help attendees to understand how to reduce burnout by recognizing causes and how to achieve a better balance to avoid them. Tuesday, April 29, 3:30–4:30 p.m.
· Distributors: Who Needs You? Finding and Attracting Strategically Aligned Partners. Survival for today’s flooring distributor means rethinking their role in the supply chain, recognizing their strengths and weaknesses, identifying strategically aligned partners and executing a plan to improve business results with those partners. Presented by Jim Gould, President and Founder of the Floor Covering Institute, the session will explore the changing needs within the supply chain and the evolving role of distributors. Furthermore, it will help distributors learn the value of strategically aligned partners and how creating strategic partnerships can improve their business. Wednesday, April 30, 9:15–10:15 a.m.
· Are You Missing Mobile Shoppers?The number of global smartphone users is expected to reach over 2 billion by 2015, and retailers and distributors must interact with customers today, and in the future, or risk losing them forever. Presenter James Dion will show attendees how to make mobile marketing, mobile commerce, and mobile operations work, and provide examples of companies and brands that have already optimized their marketing, commerce and operations to integrate mobile with great success. In this session, learn how the customer of the future is going to shop and how the store of the future is going to look. Wednesday, April 30, 2:45–3:45 p.m.
· Best Practices for a B2B Content Marketing Strategy. In this session, presented by Vincent Moiso, attendees will learn best practices in tile and stone for businesses selling to other businesses and how to incorporate a content marketing strategy into your current marketing plan. Additionally, discover what a content marketing strategy entails, as well as how to maximize ROI from such a strategy. This presentation shows the path to a current and successful strategy by using both general business best practices, and best practices specific to the tile and stone industry. Attendees will learn what other leading tile and stone industry professionals are using to promote their products and educate their customers. Thursday, May 1, 8:00–9:30 a.m.