Discount hardwood flooring is readily available through suppliers so small retailers must use cross-sells and up-sells to increase profits while still competing with big box retailers and Internet sales. Additionally, be prepared to assist customers who are increasingly more knowledgeable on factors such as finishes, hardwood grades and surface treatments.
Hardwood lumber almost always was oak, but other types of wood now are available for hardwood floors. This provides an opportunity for retailers to up-sell customers to better products.
Engineered hardwood flooring sales are increasing quickly and now make up more than one third of the hardwood floor market.
Retailers should keep the customer’s expectations realistic. It is important to understand the responses of a hardwood floor to water because this can cause the wood to expand and change color.
Three points to consider in the hardwood flooring sales business are:
- Becoming a distributor to receive discounts on quantity purchases for resale;
- Becoming an expert on both solid and engineered hardwood floors to be able to give an effective sales presentation;
- Knowing the trends so you can guide customers toward the newest products;
- Understanding hardwood floor installation to be able to answer customer questions.
Become a hardwood flooring distributorSubstantial discounts can be obtained by distributors who are able to consistently purchase large volumes of hardwood flooring
Explain the difference between solid and engineered hardwoodEngineered hardwood is more stable and its use should be strongly considered when installing hardwood floors. Also, ensure that your customers understand the differences between engineered flooring and laminate flooring.
Stay current on the growing varieties of hardwood lumberSouth American hardwood lumber such as Brazilian cherry and merbau have been available for years and Australian woods such as Australian cypress, spotted gum and Sydney blue now may be obtained as well. Many customers prefer woods with more interesting patterns such as knots or mineral streaks.
Become an expert on installing hardwood floorsPoor installation is the primary cause of customer dissatisfaction. Many hardwood flooring manufacturers now offer retailer/installer programs that can dramatically reduce sales service calls.
- Inform customers that refinishing hardwood floors may be done repeatedly in different styles. Engineered wood can handle a considerable amount of moisture but can only be refinished once or twice.
- Finishes dried with UV light continue to become more popular and water-based hardwood finishes are environment-friendly.
- Clean-process refinishers leave little dust on hardwood floors, eliminating a major objection by consumers.
- Other finishing options include aluminum oxide, glueless locking or a filled urethane finish.