As consumers become braver about buying big ticket items online, kitchen retailers should create reasons to visit showrooms, says marketing manager of Blanco UK John Robinson
We are all now aware (and have been for years of course) of the huge rise of online shopping and the subsequent transformation of the high street. The pandemic has simply accelerated this process.
We all contribute to the trend and our lives have become so much easier!
It has been a hot topic between retailers and suppliers for years and any “bricks and mortar” business worth its salt, along with loyal partner suppliers, has explored ways to overcome the challenge.
Commonly now, this challenge is about respecting and embracing the online journey.
There will be some aspects of your business which will obviously be served remotely now to the benefit of retailers and their consumer (updated plans, quotations, tweaks, photographs, videos).
But, if you are working out of a showroom premises, it’s expensive, you want people in it!
One recent significant trend that Blanco sese in consumer behavioural studies, and all over media channels, is the items people are buying online.
Since the beginning of the pandemic, these now include cars, houses, sofas and mattresses.
And with furniture and cars now, for example, there is the 30-day or 100-day satisfaction guarantee.
Of course you cannot send a kitchen back, but how does a retailer ensure the consumer won’t be brave, or naïve, enough to design and order their dream kitchen online?
Create an experience
“Experiential” shopping is big news and that’s where retailers need to focus their marketing and imaginative energy just now.
It can be defined as integrating technology and personality into the shopping experience, such as using augmented reality.
In our words, it is making sure the customer has a reason to come in to see you and your offerings in person!
Appointment-only days have given retailers an opportunity to shine. You know who is coming in so you can prepare for them; get to know the family’s lifestyle beforehand, so you can prepare a customised “theatrical experience” for them.
A pre-visit friendly questionnaire to show you want to know the customer is a good idea.
You get to know them, and they begin to trust you to do your utmost by listening to exactly what they want or think they want. Dialogue begins and a relationship starts.
Create an experience
In the Blanco world of sinks, taps and waste solutions, it may be that you cover a Silgranit sink in curry sauce and beetroot juice with enough time for it to dry, to show customers how easy it is to clean.
It may be that you show them how quick it is to cook pasta or make coffee using a hot water tap or how a tap can measure exactly the right amount of filtered boiling or cold water for them.
We have been doing this for years at exhibitions, at our own showroom and online to train our trade partners.
These kind of personalised demonstrations are crucial in guiding the consumer purchase decision.
There are so many amazing inventions for the hi-tech kitchen that simply have to be seen to be believed and TRUSTED and EXPERIENCED. Ovens, fridges, smart technology, media, remote operation – the list goes on.
Surely this is what can and must set kitchens apart from other big-ticket items that are now at the mercy of online pure-play retailers? You can’t send a kitchen back after all!