Selling hardwood moldings has been a hit or miss process for many flooring retailers who report that often customers don't understand why moldings are necessary. Whenever this occurs in any dealership, the problem is pretty clear, said Steve Curcio, Vice President of Operations at Virginia Hardwood Co. "When people spend their hard-earned money on a hardwood floor, their quality expectations, and value perceptions are very high. Customers expect the salesperson to demonstrate quality throughout the sales process," said Curcio. He went on to say that while flooring displays generally meet customer expectations for high value, hauling out a chain-set to talk about transition moldings, a critical component of any floor, is a serious mistake. "It looks like junk, confuses customers, and can be damaging to the sale."

This conclusion was reinforced after talking to Leif Backlund, General Manager of O.C. Design Solutions, a flooring dealer located in Fountain Valley, California. O.C. Design Solutions carries a wide variety of flooring products ranging from laminates and solid wood, to engineered and wide plank flooring products. They sell to a very discriminating audience consisting of designers and builders who often bring their customers in to view products in their 4000 square foot showroom. When asked what he thought about using chain-sets as a selling tool for moldings, Backlund had this to say, "When we used chain-sets, most people had a hard time knowing where to use each molding. It was often more confusing than helpful."

Things improved dramatically when their distributor, Virginia Hardwood, took on the Artistic Finishes line of premium hardwood moldings. According to Backlund, "Artistic Finishes offers a ‘visual display' showing each transitional molding in actual use. This display helps customers visualize exactly what each molding will look like in their homes. We noticed an obvious difference in customer acceptance and sales almost immediately." Backlund went on to say, "By using this display during the selling process, our customers actually understand where and how each molding is used, eliminating questions and wrong orders."

When asked if they have any difficulties selling moldings to customers, Backlund indicated that they have no problems at all. "We train our staff to be knowledgeable about wood species, finishes, durability, mixing and matching species for effect, and more," said Backlund. "One of the first questions we typically get from customers is whether we carry wood moldings for the floors they are looking at. Artistic Finishes offers a very broad line of prefinished moldings that seem to fit everything we sell."