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QFMA rolls out new web site PDF Print E-mail
Written by Michael J. Knell   

MONTREAL (19 March 2012) - The Quebec Furniture Manufacturers Association has rolled out an updated web site that is not only offering more information about its members and mission to the internet-searching public but greater access for those members.

The site can be found at www.afmq.com. Its development was led by Joanne Dalpé, director of marketing and communications for both the association and the Canadian Home Furnishings Market (TCHFM).

"Today, a website is the first thing people turn to get to know your business. It's your chance to say something about who you are, what you do, the services you offer and most importantly, the members we represent," she told Home Goods Online. "It was essential we put our best foot forward and offer a platform to our members that was current and of high quality. The old site just wasn't doing that anymore."

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The home page of the new QFMA web site.

The QFMA has rolled out two other web sites - a revamped TCHFM (www.tchfm.com) site and a built-from-the-ground-up site in support the Quality Canadian Furniture campaign (www.qualitycanadianfurniture.ca) - over the past couple of years.

"Our old website was dated - it was built nearly 10 years ago - and naturally, new technology makes old sites too complicated and even impossible to work with," Dalpé explained, adding the goal was to create an informative, easy to navigate website open to everyone that also incorporated a practical and efficient ‘members only' portal.

"We wanted to offer them a password-protected section that would allow them to access documents, reports and even update their member profiles in real-time," Dalpé said.

The new site was built using the latest technology and a content management system that can be updated by QFMA staff members at anytime from anywhere - they no longer had to rely on an outside provider to maintain the site.

"It's flexible and time-saving," Dalpé said. "The entire planning and programming of the website, including some major in-house changes to our database, took well over a year-and-a-half to finalize. We're quite proud of the final result."

Like the old site, the new includes a ‘member directory' that allows visitors to search by name, product or company type. It's here QFMA members have their own profile page which provides contact information, product listings, photos and well as links to their own web sites and social media platforms, if they have them.

"This is the most visited section of the website," Dalpé said.

New to the site is an ‘industry suppliers' section that lists all of the QFMA's associate members - companies that provide goods and services to furniture manufacturers such as equipment, logistics and business software, among others.

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Joanne Dalpe
"This section was created to provide these members with greater visibility on the website and to their potential customers by providing them with their own section," Dalpé said.

One of the site's newest features is on the home page, where the association can now post the latest news from its members such as announcements about the awards they've received or the contracts they've won.

The home page also as an ‘upcoming events' section detailing not only happenings being organized by the QFMA but other events that could be of interest to members or site visitors.

"As an added bonus, this new site allows us to post any press coverage received that mentions our members directly to their profile page," Dalpé said.

The site also contains a ‘member services' section detailing the variety of products and services the association offers such as insurance, research and development, human resources, and environment services, among others.

The ‘members' area' is one of the site's most important features.  In this password protected section, each QFMA member can download documents, reports, white papers and other information generated by association staff. From here they can also update their profile in the ‘members' section.

"We designed and programmed the system so that modifications are made in real-time and are approved quickly and efficiently with the click of a button in-house," Dalpé said. "This saves us considerable time and most importantly, it ensures us that we have the most up-to-day information for our members on file at all times."

She also notes the new site has one important feature the old one didn't - it's available in both official languages.

"Being able to offer our members the best service possible is extremely important to us. We have always aimed at bettering ourselves and bettering the services we offer even if it simply means helping them save time. The website helps us do just that," Dalpé said.

Since its launch this past September, the site has hosted more than 11,000 visits. Dalpé reports the average visits was 3½ minutes long.

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