Don’t create fake news

Stewart Woodruff says the industry must clean up its act over fake discounts, hidden costs, and uneven playing fields

21 Mar, 19

Owner of MBK Design Studio Stewart Woodruff slams false discounting and says the kitchen and bathroom industry should clean up its act

Don't create fake news

As the New Year sales commenced the paying public were assaulted by offers from kitchen and bathroom companies, both small and large.

They were promising great discounts and wonderful offers; free fitting, free appliances, 40% off bathrooms, 50% off kitchens, 50% off door fronts, or appliances for £199 on all terms of advertising.

It amazes me the public think they can get anything for free or that a manufacturer/retailer can offer discounts which makes your eyes water.

Do the public really believe all these offers? Honestly, they must because the big stores thrive on this mentality.

Hidden costs

Is it not time the whole industry was honest? No-one can fit a kitchen for free – someone has to pay the installer.

So if installation, on the paperwork, is free then the cost must be added in elsewhere.

No kitchen can be sold at 75% off, unless it is overpriced to start with and 40% off RRP bathroom goods is unsustainable.

The industry must become cleaner and more transparent about its pricing.

Many companies have gone to the wall because their pricing was so ridiculous; they were relying on high volume because their margins were so small.

It meant if there was an issue with their supply chain or sales dropped off, then they had no saved profile to help them.

When these companies go bust, the public suffer; and the industry as a whole suffers.

We have to pick up the destroyed trust and convince our customers they are not at risk.

Answer this…

Personally, I will offer money reductions based on the products and the amounts spent.

I can’t run a business on low margins.

However, there are internet companies working on a margin of 6% and offering free delivery.

The questions I want answered by the manufacturers who allow this kind of discounting are:

  • Are they not concerned because they are making the same profit, regardless of who buys thier product?
  • Do they not consider the indicated RRP relevant, as rarely is the product sold at that figure?
  • Does this devaluation of the product not concern them?
  • Do they not think that retailers will start to abandon displaying their goods if they are only able to make 6%, as it’s not worth wasting the display space for those margins?

I am not naive and I realise these tactics won’t change.

However, I do believe manufacturers are not really concerned about the pricing policies that are available on the internet, as they don’t suffer any revenue loss.

Also, their excuses are always they cannot have control over the prices people sell their product for, as it would be illegal.

However, there are many companies who have managed to restrict the discounts available online, enabling both retailers and e-stores to sell, make a profit, a greater profit than the e-store were making before.

Maybe it is stupid of me to consider that there will be changes and I will still have to advise customers why I am not offering free fitting or why I won’t match some internet prices.

And maybe I will have to keep discussing these problems with the company reps who want me to display and sell their goods but offer not protection against the discounting e-stores.

But maybe some of these reps will see me take my business elsewhere.

Stewart Woodruff offers his view on how retailing has changed over the past 30 years.