The real deal. Warm. Beautiful. A value add. These are just a few ways the experts we spoke to describe hardwood floors. Though some might argue that the age-old product can almost sell itself, hardwood manufacturers continue to put their focus on creating marketing initiatives and educational opportunities aimed to drive the demand for wood.
The Real Deal
“Anderson Tuftex is about the wood; real-deal, warm, beautiful, adds value to the home and it’s what people want,” said Katie Ford, director of brand strategy. That’s why you see all these LVT and ceramic tile and laminate [lookalikes], the visuals are wood, because that’s what people want.”
Ford admits that a portion of the market has been taken over by these strikingly realistic wood lookalikes, however, she, along with the Anderson Tuftex team fully realize the demand for hardwood remains. “People still want [wood]. They are willing to pay for it as well. They know it’s going to cost a little bit more, but it is that value-add that you’re going to be able to put into your home to help its value and to help its resale.”
Hardwood also seems to be a product that is desired and enjoyed across generations, as we all strive to live healthier lives in every aspect. “When you look across all the demographic groups—Millennials, Gen Xers, Gen Yers, Baby Boomers—across the board, they are all working on being healthier,” said Emily Morrow, of Emily Morrow Home. “It extends beyond just supplements and vitamins. We are looking at things and saying ‘ok, what is in this?’ We are considering more acutely what the ingredients are in our flooring and in our fabrics. What is it that we are bringing into our interiors?”
In addition to selling products through a distribution network, Morrow often works directly with retailers, using the unique advantage of direct connection to educate the end user or designer alongside the retailer about the benefits and qualities of hardwood floors.
“I cherish those opportunities because I do get to know immediately what’s on their mind and what’s important to them,” Morrow shared. “And of course, first and foremost it’s been what goes into the products.”
Connecting with end users in a way that’s worked well for her business through the years, Morrow says developing an emotional connection with customers, be it through social media or email blasts, is just one way she’s driving traffic and business.
“It’s a different model than what I think most people are accustomed to doing and accustomed to seeing, but its traditional for me because as a designer, I just know that if I am able to somehow touch on an emotional level with an end user, then they either go directly to the retailer, or they work with a designer, and then they come back to me. But I’ve already been in touch with the end user.”
Anderson Tuftex’s parent company, Shaw Floors, has three main hardwood collections, informed by consumer and industry research and supported through various marketing efforts and influencer partnerships.
“We spoke with RSAs and dealers earlier in the year and one thing they consistently asked for was national campaigns to help drive consumer awareness around our three key hardwood collections,” said Ashley Barnes, hard surface marketing manager, Shaw Floors. “From that feedback, we started working with social media influencers to deliver content for our customers.”
At a time when face-to-face interaction is limited, social media platforms and influencers are paramount in telling the product stories of companies like Shaw.
For its popular Floorté Hardwood, the manufacturer has partnered with Erica Van Slyke of Designing Vibes. Connected to more than seven million people on Pinterest and 200,000 blog followers, Erica’s influence and social media reach help drive awareness of Shaw’s hardwood product portfolio.
For The Gallery, Shaw partnered with Lori Evans of The Evans Edit, who is an interior designer currently building her dream home in Florida. “Dealers can follow these social media influencers as well as Shaw Floors on all social media platforms for access to original and engaging content,” said Barnes.