If there’s one thing the last few years have taught us, it’s that there is no certain future for anyone. While that thought usually causes fear, during the pandemic years, we also have learned to be fearless in our approach to the future because there are no guarantees and fewer reasons not to take risks or seize opportunities when they come along.
One of the ways NWFA is moving forward is to prepare a service culture that is flexible and can change direction as quickly as possible when the industry’s needs or market conditions shift. To start this more nimble approach of serving the wood flooring industry, we will be bringing the NWFA Board of Directors and our Emerging Leaders together at the fall board meeting to do an innovation lab with a professional innovation facilitator.
By 2027, here are some predictions that will shift the workforce and the way we live and do business:
Prediction 1: Marketing will shift more and more to the Amazon model of following you wherever you go online in order to serve up products and services you show interest in via your search history.
Question: How will we make wood flooring show up every time a consumer searches for flooring – any flooring, not just wood?
Thoughts to ponder: Right now, if you search Google for wood flooring, depending on your history and which big company is spending money on advertising, you might even get lookalike products rather than real wood.
Prediction 2: 85 percent of learning for Gen Z comes through video. This generation doesn’t use Google to search for information, they use video platforms like YouTube, Instagram,
Question: Have you searched for wood flooring on social media and learned anything new?
Thoughts to ponder: Ask your kids how you can reach potential customers and even new employees through these platforms. And, NWFA will work on it too.
Prediction 3: You are not a wood flooring company, you are an experience provider! According to Salesforce, 88 percent of customers say the experience a company provides is as important as its product or services.
Question: Have you trained your installers on customer service? Sure, your sales force may have good people skills, but are you also training your installers to answer customer questions on site?
Thoughts to ponder: Have you provided customer service training and helped the people who are most often the last face-to-face interaction understand that they aren’t just doing an install, they are the most memorable and important human touch in the experience of a really important project for the homeowner?
Prediction 4: Virtual reality will evolve to be part of the buying journey, not just for video games.
Question: Tomorrow’s technology will project a virtual reality around you while you live in the real world…producing your own reality in some ways.
Thoughts to ponder: In the next five years, you will need to provide a virtual experience that takes place in the consumer’s home that allows them to “feel” what your flooring options could look like. The sales process will be changed forever, and the options for consumers to visualize in their homes will be endless.
The big innovation questions we’ve come up with so far for our board meeting are these:
- How can NWFA serve the entire installation base in North America, let alone globally, if we only produce content in English?
- How can we bring more diversity to our membership base so that NWFA is a reflection of the individuals in the industry it serves?
- How does NWFA evolve with technology that will serve the next generation?
- How can NWFA create a custom experience for our members to use our resources for what they need?
- How can NWFA create funding so that there is no barrier to training for someone who wants to consider or start a wood flooring career?
We are ready to change to meet your needs – so what are they? If you would like us to include your concerns about innovating the industry as we map out the best way to move into an uncertain future, please, contact me at firstname.lastname@example.org or call 636.519.9663. I look forward to shaping the future with you!