Wallcoverings Association 2018 Event Recap

Annual meeting highlights 2018 trends, the importance of a well-done website, and how to sell to different generations.

“Wallcoverings are vital to creating an experience,” said Glenn Haussman, Rouse Media president, at the Wallcoverings Association (WA) 2018 Annual Meeting in Clearwater Beach, Florida, January 28-30. That sentiment rang true during the two-and-a-half-day conference attended by more than 150 wallcoverings distributors and suppliers, there to network and learn more about the growing wallcoverings, interior décor, and hospitality markets. 

Here are Big Picture’s top takeaways:

Insights into the Future of the Hospitality Industry

“Guests care less about room space and more about spending time in the hotel lobby, restaurants, and bars,” said Haussman. How can your print shop adapt to this? What graphics can you offer in these spaces?

Capitalize on customization and local/regional personalization by bringing the outside in. “[Nature] leads to productivity, creativity, and happiness, and keeps people engaged,” said Haussman about graphic prints in the office space.  And, the 2017 Universe Study by Interior Design magazine found that 83 percent of design firms work on graphics for the workplace.

World Wide Web

It’s all about documenting your success. Share your digital print testimonials and case studies on your print shop’s website and social media accounts. “Let your customer success stories tell your story. Get video testimonials and take pictures before, during, and after the jobs are completed,” said motivational speaker Chip Eichelberger of BigSpeak.

“Having samples on your website is so important when selling in 2018,” said Carol Cisco, Interior Design magazine. And 48 percent of consumers want to connect with a company via live chat when they have a question or issue.

Speaking of new websites: Matt Bruno, WA executive director, unveiled a redesigned website at the meeting. The WA’s 2018 goal was to promote the beauty and experience of wallcoverings taking center stage to define commercial and residential spaces, according to a release. “We have worked to position our website as a resource hub for the industry. With our new design and increased ease-of-use, we feel we are poised to deliver on our commitment to wallcoverings,” Bruno said.

Selling to Generations

Millennials are your largest selling group simply because there are so many of them. But how do you reach them? Phil Gwoke of BridgeWorks, a company that bridges generational gaps in the workplace and marketplace, says 92 percent of millennials rely on referrals when making purchasing decisions (think Yelp and Amazon reviews), and 78 percent of millennials would rather spend money on an experience than a thing. (Interactive print?)

Generation X? “They have to trust you,” said Gwoke. “Be a resource, not a salesperson.”

And communication with baby boomers? Create a winning proposition.

What’s Trending from Interior Design Magazine 

● 98 percent of wallcovering specifiers are optimistic for 2018.

● Cartography, nature in the bath, play time, scaled up (bigger than life), texture, tropical, and technology designs are all trending this year.

● Worldwide spending on augmented reality is expected to reach 17.8 billion this year. It’s a 95 percent increase from 2017.

For live updates from industry conferences and shows around the world, follow Editor-in-Chief Adrienne Palmer and Big Picture magazine on Twitter.