Caesarstone Improves Retail Partner Support
September 27, 2021
Caesarstone recently strengthened its support for retail partners with its new Caesarstone Connect platform, a first-of-its-kind integrated online estimator and project management tool that immediately delivers a detailed per square foot price quote that includes material, fabrication and installation costs and seamlessly connects projects to certified Caesarstone fabricators. The process can take just minutes and is available for any Caesarstone application, including countertops, backsplashes, bathroom vanities and more, providing a consumer with transparent pricing within a detailed quote. It also empowers retailers and designers to provide their customers with on-the-spot pricing for custom countertops, organically improving close rates.
KBB had a chance to connect with David Masterson, Caesarstone’s director of managed services, for an in-depth discussion about this new platform.
KBB: Where did the idea for this platform come from? How long did it take to build it out?
Masterson: Kitchen and bath retailers have always been integral to Caesarstone’s strategy and success. Through these meaningful relationships, we have learned how cumbersome selling countertops can be for these retailers that are often small businesses, especially when compared to big-box stores whose massive scale enables them to invest in technology to quote and manage the process. Meeting the increased expectations of internet-age customers has become increasingly challenging for these independent dealers, and – of course – Caesarstone wants to help. Caesarstone Connect took several years to develop both the platform and go-to-market strategy, but now we believe it is paying off as it simplifies both quoting and project management for the K&B businesses across the country.
Why did Caesarstone see a need for this platform? What was the company hearing from its customers?
Many of our K&B customers were losing or forgoing countertops sales due to the difficult process, including coordinating with outside fabricators to get projects estimated and installed. None of this is really the fabricators’ faults, as they’re challenged with similar issues like quoting endless layouts with unfavorable conversion rates, dealing with material logistics headaches and lacking sufficient tools for managing projects and communicating with all stakeholders. It’s complicated on all sides, and Caesarstone Connect can be a solution for everyone.
Are there any other companies doing anything like this? If so, how is Caesarstone’s approach different and/or better?
While we can’t speak specifically to everything our competitors are doing, to our knowledge they don’t offer anything like this. Some other manufacturers have had regional programs where retailers can purchase the product under installed square footage pricing, but they lacked the web-based quoting tool and order management portal. Some larger fabricators offer their K&B customers installed square foot pricing, but these programs are very limited geographically and they often include second- or third-tier quartz products that the retailers reluctantly sell simply due to the ease of quoting. Caesarstone Connect brings together premium material and the functionality that everyone needs.
What has the majority of the feedback been so far?
After investing so heavily in the development, it has been incredibly validating to launch Caesarstone Connect and hear the universally positive responses. All the benefits our customers wanted and needed have come to fruition. Making Caesarstone Connect a genuine company-wide endeavor was a major key to this early success. Understanding the value of the existing relationships between our field sales team and their customers, we invested heavily in training our team before introducing the new program. New technology can be scary, but our localized approach created a safer environment for designers to step outside of their comfort zones and feel supported while learning the platform.
Will there be additional features in the future?
The initial feature set at launch was only the beginning, and we’re updating the platform every month based on feedback and suggestions from retailers, fabricators and our internal team. We hope to have a phone application soon to mobilize the process.
Will the platform be available to other audiences – architects, designers and/or builders – in the future?
The platform can already these benefit audiences, and we have several in each category enrolled. Yet, these channels have their own unique needs and challenges. We are working on platform enhancements to address those and will pursue these customers more when that development is complete.
Do users have to have any specific programs, level of internet service and/or other technology to utilize the platform?
Internet access is the only requirement. Everything is cloud-based, so there’s no software to download.
Will this affect jobs at Caesarstone as slab sales are streamlined through the platform?
We are not anticipating any job changes internally because of the platform. It is just another channel for our sales team to offer as a solution to customers. It is affecting job satisfaction across the board as it improves the process for everyone involved.
Caesarstone Connect has already launched in some U.S. markets, including Atlanta; Boston; Chicago; Charlotte, N.C.; Charleston, S.C.; Cincinnati, Ohio; Florida; Indianapolis; Iowa; Long Island, N.Y.; Las Vegas; Los Angeles; New Jersey; Philadelphia; Orange County, Calif.; Sacramento, Calif.; San Diego; San Francisco; and Washington, DC. It will roll out in Austin, Texas; Cleveland and Columbus, Ohio; Dallas; Knoxville, Tenn.; Nashville, Tenn.; Portland, Ohio; San Antonio; and Seattle by fourth quarter 2021.
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