Character-marked Furniture: Perceptions, Critical Issues, and Barriers to Acceptance Among Manufacturers and Retailers
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Personal interviews were conducted with product development personnel to develop case studies for large furniture manufacturers. The case studies centered on the companies' experiences with character-marked furniture. A follow-up mail survey was conducted to validate the case studies. It was found that decisions concerning character-mark use occur throughout the product development process, and involve the design, marketing, and production functions within the company. Companies that were able to fit character-marks within acceptable product concepts, considering such factors as style, finish, and hardware, appeared to have the most success with character-marked furniture in the marketplace.
Conjoint analysis was employed to provide quantitative measures of retailers' perceptions of character-marked furniture products. This information was useful for determining the potential for push-type promotion. The dependent measure stimuli were full product profiles (actual wood samples and pictures), presented to respondents during on-site interviews. Retailers preferred furniture with no knots when evaluations were based on buying consideration and relative price. However, there was a linear relationship between preference and knot size, suggesting that opportunities for use of small knots may exist. It was found that character-marks were quite important to the product evaluations, suggesting that character-marks are a salient product feature. In addition to generating preference measures for tangible furniture product attributes, an investigation of the intangible product attributes associated with character-marks was conducted. Rustic, casual, and antique looks were most associated with character-marked furniture. Promotion of character-marked furniture based on environmental and natural material themes did not appear to hold much potential in the minds of manufacturers and retailers. It appears that promotion of character-marked furniture aimed at retailers will have to be based on what character-marks add to the look of wood household furniture.
- Doctoral Dissertations