Guest Post | Why Drop Zones Aren’t About The StuffDecember 7, 2017
I had the pleasure of moderating a Design Panel at the 2017 21st Century Builders Show and Paul was one of the panelists. His advice and commentary about modern home design made so much sense, I immediately invited him to be a guest blogger in our weekly #ThoughtfulThursday guest column. I’m so glad he agreed to contribute and now invite you to consider just how woman-centric are your home designs? If “SHE” is the primary decision maker when it comes to buying a home, are you really catering to “HER” needs?
Most architects are guys. Most engineers are guys. Most home builders are guys. Most homebuilding tradespeople are guys. And…most guys ask for directions, right?
It’s a fact. Homes have historically been designed and built from a decidedly male perspective. Yet, women are the sole, or primary, decision-makers in the vast majority of all new home purchase decisions. Choosing to focus on women’s preferences regarding the home – its design, the included features/options/upgrades, and redesigning the customer’s buying and building experiences – is what we refer to as taking a woman-centric approach to home building.
This is not sexist, this is Marketing 101 – “Know thy customer.” We’ve been inspired by home buyer feedback, which has come mostly from the ladies, to focus on style and a home’s livability. When a focus group of moms of elementary age school children told us nothing was more stressful than getting the entire family out the door on time in the morning with everything, we started designing lockers into the rear foyer areas because their kids knew how to use lockers from school. This was an obvious organization solution, but in reality, it de-stresses the morning rush! Similarly, we introduced drop zones in the rear foyer to help declutter kitchens, because we were hearing that everything was ending up on the kitchen island or kitchen counters when family members arrived home. That was back in 2003, the same time we started elevating rear foyer design above the level of laundry/mudroom, recognizing that we go in and out of the home 90% of the time through the connection with the garage. Women said coming home from a long day, walking in from the garage and being greeted by piles of laundry was stressful. We can do better.
Woman-centric home designs are different. And better. But that’s not all. Woman-centric new home marketing accomplishes more, without spending more, because women want to do business with companies who appreciate them. And your included features, options and upgrades? Women’s preferences are the connection to profitability. For example, women are typically more sensitive to irritating noise than men. The “Serenity Package” – an option bundle that includes items such as quiet, soft-close cabinetry hardware; solid-core interior doors; quieter bathroom fans, dishwasher, garage door opener, and food waste disposer; offers much greater profit margin than sticks and bricks. While such options may not have even been on her radar screen, she will thank you for helping her make wise, informed decisions regarding her new home. Finally, redesigning every customer touch point from her perspective can take the new home purchase and building processes from stressful to delightful, the key to unlocking referrals!
About The Author – Paul Foresman
Paul Foresman is Vice President at Design Basics, one of America’s largest home plan designers. He works with Design Basics’ Woman-Centric Matters!® team, helping builders improve results by embracing women’s preferences. A 28-year veteran with Design Basics, he has written dozens of articles on home design for consumer and building trade publications and has spoken at numerous builder conferences. Follow Design Basics on Twitter @DesignBasicsLLC.