#KBNConvo finds retail situation worsening

Kitchen and bathroom experts said retail was worsening with "mostly nervous" clients

23 Mar, 20

Kitchen and bathroom experts said retail was worsening with “mostly nervous” clients not committing to orders or cancelling projects in online Twitter chat #KBNConvo.


@tobygriffin2 said he had four postponed orders in just two days and @Bubblesbaths reported: “It’s devastation out here – no clients, jobs postponed etc.”

In fact, @Bubblesbaths believes now is the worst time for kitchen and bathroom retailing, as it reported on #KBNConvo: “The trouble is it comes so quickly after the Brexit mess started to straighten itself out. So, yes, it’s the toughest [time of being in business] by far.”

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However, owner of KSL Richard Hibbert (@RichHibbert) said it was just another tough time in retail, and added it “will effect people differently…some amount of luck may come into it.”

He reported: “Clients are ok at the moment, placing orders, but aren’t committing to install dates which is a problem.”

Retailers stated suppliers were  “doing their bit” to support retail customers in the current COVID-19 health crisis.

Marcel Crezee (@MarcelCreezee) managing director of buying group MHK, said the association was assisting its retailers with cash flow: “We will pay their bonus before the end of this month and we will make an interim bonus in 2020 so they have some cashflow.”

He added: “Also we have helplines with all kinds of experts [to answer] questions from our members [on] finance, legal help, accountancy, industry information, aid programs and funding.”

@VirtualWorlds has introduced a free, remote design service for its trade partners and stated: “We’re concerned but doing all we are able to help retailers out.

“Many of our retailers are offering remote consultations which is a great step and we’re doing all we can to help with that.”

In fact, industry experts stated remote operation is key for retailers, with Sian Wood of Home Improvement Sales saying she was encouraging them to “make use of social media to build followers and make sure that when there are enquiries they are found.”

“But don’t just do it, shout about it” was the message from @VirtualWorlds which continued: “In terms of winning new business, social media will be crucial. Show off your previous projects and use the technology that’s out there to keep communicating.”

Contact-free appointments have already been employed by Swans Kitchens & Bathrooms (@Swans_KBB), which stated: “All of us should aim for contact-free appointments and follow government advice on social distancing.

“As designers we’re lucky to have software to still design spaces without client contact.

“Facetime and Skype also allows us to still maintain that personal relationship with clients!”

And Bubbles Bathrooms (@Bubblesbaths) stated it planned to use the time to catch up with paperwork and showroom improvements and said retailers should “Basically do everything possible to make sure that you have a viable business at the end of this madness.”

Richard Hibbert of KSL (@RichHibbert) pointed out now was the time to cut unnecessary costs but advised kitchen and bathroom retailers “don’t stop marketing.”

And @LibertyFitting agreed: “The trick will be to keep in touch with people so are the company in front of them when things ultimately go back to normal.”

#KBNConvo is a monthly online discussion, held on Twitter which looks at topics affecting kitchen and bathroom retailers.

Follow the hashtag to join, follow and share the debate.

Read the discussion on how their must be more design training in the industry to raise the standards of selling.