Since 2007, total wholesale flooring went down 28% from $23 billion in 2007 to $16.5 billion in 2009. However, in roughly that same period, women’s influence on purchase decisions in home furnishings has risen from about 85% to 94%. Without a doubt, the dominance of the female consumer is growing, not shrinking, through the recession.
What’s fueling this growth in female purchasing power? Take a look at these recent statistics: the number of women that work is increasing at about 2.2% annually. The size of the female workforce will soon surpass men. She already owns about 40% of all businesses in the U.S. and her businesses are growing at twice the rate of businesses as a whole. So as we emerge from this recessionary period, there should be little doubt about who will control the purse strings in the new economy. It will be the person who carries the purse.
As these findings indicate, effectively marketing to women has never been more critical to floor covering manufacturers and dealers alike.
This means being a student of her like never before, avoiding the tendency to stereotype while providing a level of service that makes her feel special and solves her problems. Nowadays, she is working harder and bearing more responsibility than ever before. Anything you can do to make her shopping experience easier and more enjoyable will be rewarded.
When we developed a brand specifically for the female consumer, we went “back to school” through interviews and focus groups to understand what she’s looking for in carpet and what she wants as a shopping experience. That kind of homework helped us launch the successful Bliss brand and we’ve never stopped learning and refining. You could do the same kind of research or better yet, just ask your wife, mother, daughter or sister how she likes to shop for clothes, shoes, jewelry or make-up.
You’ll be surprised at what you may learn by asking and observing. Apply the new insights to your store operation, from set-up to sales technique. For example, you’ll probably discover she’s not as fixated on price as you thought – so why automatically put her there? You may be losing out on a blissful experience!