With kbb showrooms set to re-open in England and Wales from April 12, CEO of the KBBG Bill Miller said future kitchen and bathroom retail could be based on a hybrid model.
He said consumers may use kitchen and bathroom showrooms to become inspired, to meet designers and discuss their needs, but the presentation of the design could “easily” take place online.
Speaking as part of Kitchens & Bathrooms News video series #KBNOne2One, Bill Miller stated: “I think the market has changed. I think the way the end user will look at the sales process has changed” and added “probably the industry needed a bit of a shake-up.”
Following the COVID pandemic, and subsequent lockdowns, the kbb retail industry had to find ways to find consumers and close deals without the use of the showroom, using digital technology.
However, Miller believes these changes still would have happened but have now taken place at an accelerated rate.
With more people spending time working from home and willing to invest in their surroundings, he stated there was an opportunity for kbb retailers to explore the home office market.
Miller continued: “Speaking to some retailers, I’m already getting the sense that they are getting onboard with that change and thinking about how they can utilise kitchen or bedroom furniture in that way. Running parallel to that you are seeing suppliers of kitchens, bedrooms and bathroom furniture producing furniture for the office environment.”
He said kitchen showrooms of the “not too distant future” will reflect the need for a proper working space [at home].
However, he also pointed out challenges that retailers may face when showrooms reopen, with the “expected boom that everyone is predicting.”
These may include over-capacity of orders, further supply issues with appliance manufacturers and national kitchen and bathroom retailers ramping up advertising for their stores.
Miller stated: “I think independents will have to be mindful that they’re not going to get it all their own way but we will just have to wait and see.”