Mid-century modern or farmhouse? Stucco white or traditional brick? Marble or granite countertops? Exposed beams or vaulted ceilings? With the current slate of innovative design styles, there’s a multitude of choices that can overwhelm both the homebuyer and the homebuilder.
We live in an age where the consumer has access to more design and home styles than ever before. Whether they’re scrolling through Instagram Reels or binge-watching the latest home makeover show, consumers are constantly exposed to the capabilities of the residential construction market. So what comes with this newfound exposure of the homebuilder’s potential? Consumer power and preference.
Since consumers have more buying power and are more educated on what they are looking for, homebuilders need to adjust to the market and stay ahead of the trends that have been started by the Joanna Gaineses and Property Brothers of the world. So, how will homebuilders stay ahead of these trends? By ramping up their product development practices.
Adding Product Development to Your Toolbelt
Product development starts with research and leads all the way up to launching a new product for an organization. For the residential construction market, the “product” is a house. The most critical elements of the product development process are to evaluate the past, understand the current state of the industry, and anticipate where the market is headed. As the market rapidly shifts, homebuilders need the people and processes in place in order to shift with it. While trends may come and go, the overall purpose of focusing on product development is to better align with consumer preferences. Start by following these tips to enhance your product development in the residential construction market:
1. Leverage your teams. Consider what your sales, marketing, and architecture team members are hearing directly from your target market.
2. Send surveys to existing homeowners. Continue to follow up with new homeowners on what they wish they could have included in their home.
3. Seek to understand your consumer’s root needs. As designers, it is critical to understand the unmet need homeowners are seeking to satisfy with each request. Once that general need is understood, the new design can be applied to other product lines.
4. Consider socioeconomic shifts. A current example is the shift from in-office to remote work. Homeowners now want more thoughtfully designed home offices – and are willing to pay for it. Additionally, many buyers are looking for multiple home offices so that each spouse has a place to work. Designs that can accommodate this new functional requirement are going to resonate with this segment of the market.