Are You Telling the Right Story?

There are many desirable selling points of wood, not the least of which is durability. Yet, do we spend enough time telling consumers about this attribute, and the permanence of wood? That putting wood flooring in the home is a lifetime investment, and is worth paying a bit more for on the front end?

Do we tell consumers that wood flooring is the only surface that realtors report as increasing the value of the home? Do we tell them that consumers agree, with wood flooring being one of the top improvements to a home that adds value?

Do we tell consumers and, even more importantly, retail salespeople that wood is really what most consumers prefer and not to shy away from the price point at the point of sale?

In NWFA’s survey of more than 1,000 homeowners (NWFA 2017 Consumer Awareness Research Study), wood flooring proved, far and away, to be the “preferred” flooring of the American homeowner. Further, the top three reasons wood flooring is preferred turned out to be:

  • Durable (67%)
  • Attractive (61%)
  • Easy to clean (58%)

Note that these top three attributes are also at the top of the list for homeowners who are planning to either renovate their homes or sell them in the near future:

  • Durable (75%)
  • Attractive (64%)
  • Easy to clean (65%)

What do these results tell us?

The number one reason consumers want wood flooring is durability. That’s our number one selling point. So, as we all think about showing the competitive advantage of wood to increase sales, it’s obvious we should focus on the product’s durability.

Here is what consumers think of durability as compared to other flooring types: Tile and wood are within four percentage points of one another for durability, with tile coming in at 49 percent, wood at 44 percent. Only 26 percent of consumers think laminate is durable, and just 16 percent reported carpet as a durable choice.

Combine the durability with the attractiveness of flooring options, and wood flooring is a mile ahead of the other flooring categories: 68 percent of respondents rated wood as the most attractive flooring option, with tile a distant second at 46 percent. Carpet “attractiveness” dropped to 26 percent, followed by laminate, at 25 percent.

There’s no doubt that each flooring type has its advantages and disadvantages, but perhaps it’s time to focus on the positives of wood, as opposed to allowing competing products to focus on price and to sell as a cheap imitation of the real thing. And, the real thing remains what the consumer wants.

Consumers make decisions based on the stories that they are told over time. If we continue to tell the truth consistently – wood is considered by consumers to be the most attractive choice, the most durable choice, and it can last several generations leading to an unmatched sustainability option – then the future of wood flooring is strong.

When the wood flooring industry considers marketing, our messaging may want to address the issue of cost, but in a way that reflects value, keeping durability as the most integral part of the message. After all, when the consumer understands the longevity of the product to the value for the dollar, the decision to go with wood becomes a lot easier
to make.

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