Expanding Real Wood’s Reach Through Designers

The past couple of months have been challenging for most of us in the wood
flooring industry. Now, it seems we wait and see how long the impacts from the COVID-19 pandemic will last from a business perspective. Recovery is
going to require strategic planning and thinking outside of the box, as we navigate a world that conducts business in different ways now.

For so long, the thought has been that to have more real wood flooring installed in homes, the message must go directly from the wood flooring industry to the homeowner. The NWFA and its members have tried for years to reach consumers to educate them on all the advantages of wood floors. We have had mixed success. Fortunately, our research shows that wood floors are, and will remain, the preferred choice for homeowners.
Despite this, we find ourselves battling for our share of floor covering sales with wood look-alike products. I would suggest that, as an industry, we need to tailor our message to a more targeted audience.

While attending both the TISE and DOMOTEX USA shows earlier this year, one theme kept repeating itself: designers, designers, designers. Many of us seem to think that reaching out to designers is a great way to naturally expand our reach to the consumer. The independent interior designer has a lot of influence on the homeowner’s buying decision. As our industry gets pushed out of the commodity market, and more into the luxury market, the interior designer will have even more input on the buying decision.

I suggest being open to the concept of making your company’s outreach more about quality than quantity. Wood flooring is not something a single consumer is going to purchase on an annual basis, so there’s obviously a lot
of value in directly reaching the architects and designers who influence multiple homeowners’ decisions.

According to U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, there were more than 75,000 interior designers in 2018 and the employment of this profession is projected to grow 4 percent from 2018 to 2028. Think of the number of homeowners reached via designers versus the impact and purchase cycle of connecting with one homeowner.

I have found that designers and architects are eager and receptive to any information we can provide to better educate them on our products and installation techniques. As such, we must make time to find ways to interact. We have presented several NWFA CEUs in our community, and they were all wonderfully received and created a sense of appreciation
and trust between my company and designers. There are 11 NWFAU courses available that can be presented to the A&D audience for earning CEUs.

Perhaps all of the time people recently spent inside their homes will lead to renovation projects – and those projects may include flooring. Start thinking now about trying new ways to make sure real wood is the flooring of choice as things pick back up.

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