“Buying timber online might be convenient, but it cuts a valuable element out of the experience that is fast disappearing”
Anyone over 30 will have fond memories of a high street experience that’s disappearing: browsing busy shops, talking to knowledgeable staff, and finding unexpected surprises that you never knew you needed. That, of course, was in the days before online retail became the norm.
In a world dominated by powerful online platforms like Amazon, where even small businesses are incentivised to sell online, the high street has become a shadow of its former self.
We’re not judging – it’s hard to complain about the massive choice, low prices, and convenience that online retail allows. But there is a downside: the loss of expert staff members – the music enthusiasts that used to populate record stores; the people we’d turn to not just for a purchase, but for advice and guidance.
Could the same thing happen in timber? Rupert Scott, membership manager for the Timber Research and Development Association (TRADA) thinks so. In a recent blog, he wrote:
“The loss of this foundational layer of specialist knowledge is apparent in the timber industry, where retailers are now waking up to the fact that, in playing catch up with digitalisation, they have very few wood experts left on the shop floor.”
He continues, adding that he misses the experience of “being served by people who were genuinely interested in me and what I was doing. I could tell them my problem or requirement, and they had the specialist knowledge to find the best solution.”
This is a subject that Quercus really cares deeply about. Our business is not just built on having great products, but on having the knowledge to know whya product is great, the enthusiasm to share that knowledge, and a willingness to help the people our business relies on find exactly what they’re looking for.
Scott concludes his blog with a heartfelt wish for the timber industry, saying: “Is face-to-face customer service dead? I sincerely hope not.” He, and you, can rest assured: at Quercus, it never will be.