Business Operations

Marketing Tips for Retailing Lumber

As the trend in showrooms become an obvious necessity, often we see retailers forget to promote one of their most profitable stock items, treated lumber.

In a world of online price wars and two-day shipping, retailers are challenged with an uphill battle to sustain the loyalty of their walk-in customers. Despite the doom and gloom reported from certain retail sectors, building material stores have one glaring advantage. The convenience of online shopping does not outweigh the tangible factor that consumers desire when choosing the right building materials. Brick-and-mortar stores have an astonishing chance to change the way we, as an industry, sell our products. As the trend in showrooms become an obvious necessity, often we see retailers forget to promote one of their most profitable stock items, treated lumber.

At Madison Wood, we track the growth of our retailers and focus heavily on what separates their business from the competition. Here are a few tips from our fastest growing and most innovative partners:

Be the Expert. When customers see the big “MW” (Madison Wood) in the yard of a building supplier it sends an immediate signal to their brain: this retailer cares about the investments I make as a consumer and the quality of products they stock. Which brands you choose to promote depict the type of clientele you ultimately attract.

As the only treater in the Mid-Atlantic to eliminate the use of “Above Ground” rated products, contractors have realized by now that treated wood tagged “MW” ensures code compliant Ground Contact lumber. This eliminates any concern over misapplication accidentally voiding warranty coverage or your project being rejected by a code official.

Our most profitable partners are constantly proving their expertise on our products via marketing materials, “lunch and learns” and our MadWood certified installer course. Being the go-to expert in your area on certain product lines transforms walk-in homeowners and contractors into life-long customers.

Up Your Social Media Presence. You’d be amazed at the level of community engagement we see on social media profiles from our partners that frequently post via multiple platforms. Not only are they spreading awareness on product lines and profiting from proven branding tactics, but they are also able to subtly align with their target demographic.

A simple picture of a group of contractors in mid-discussion during a lunch and learn can take your reputation to the next level almost instantaneously. After all, if a tree falls in the woods and no one is there to tweet about it, did it really happen?

Showrooms Aren’t Only for Indoors. Yes, we know, you have endless samples of composite decking, trim, doors and bathroom sinks. We have to ask, why isn’t this same sales tactic implemented for the materials you stock outside? What better way to show the difference between you and the guys down the street than a physical product display!

All too often we see retailers make the mistake of letting consumers pick through their material in the yard as a “quality test” instead of providing the ultimate visual. Don’t have space outside for a decking or fencing display? Bring past projects to life inside with a flat screen TV featuring the work of your best contractors.

Our most successful retailers focus on selling the entire package. There is a mathematically proven reason that grocery stores place candy at the eye level of children in the check-out line. What accessory items are missing from your sales?

Create a One-Stop Informative End-Cap. Give the people what they need all in one place instead of making them wander aimlessly through the aisles questioning their sanity. End caps are designed to promote compatible products! Provide marketing material on the lumber you stock, your best deck screws, stains/paint, end coat solution and other miscellaneous products a homeowner would need.

Don’t be afraid to get specific on your recommendations of what works best! After all, you are the expert.

Kari Gaviria

Kari Gaviria is an account manager for Madison Wood Preservers, Madison, Va., one of the nation’s largest single-site wood preservers for nearly 60 years. Reach her at (540) 948-6801 or

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