Editor of Kitchens & Bathrooms News Philippa Turrell says kbb retail has faced and overcome challenges. As we move into Spring, now could be a time for independent specialists to reap rewards
It’s no surprise if kbb retailers are feeling somewhat beleaguered, with escalating costs (whether attributed to the global issue of shipping price hikes or Brexit) and ongoing issues with stock availability.
And that’s not to mention customers having greater expectations of service because they believe all retail is struggling in the current climate.
Interestingly, however, kbb retailers have described sale figures up on 2019, despite the multiple lockdowns.
And merchants have also reported kbb sales up nearly a fifth (17.8%) Q3 to Q4 sales in 2020.
Kitchen and bathroom retail is resilient and accomplished independent businesses are marching on!
Bricks and mortar premises may be closed but kitchen and bathroom retailers have embraced remote design consultations.
Successful retailers have used their imagination, illustrating their design knowledge and customer service in sample-sized “moodboard” boxes delivered by post or by hand.
And designers are still able to keep abreast of future design trends with manufacturers and exhibitions, such as ISH, dispensing product knowledge digitally.
The digital evolution may bring business opportunities too, with social media bringing in new and future audiences for kitchens and bathrooms.
It has also seen some kitchen and bathroom retailers seeking new online opportunities, expanding their business into e-commerce sales.
Yes, it’s been a challenge but these also bring opportunities. It may be tough but kbb retail continues to step up to all the tests, trials and obstacles placed in its way.
People are still seeking new bathrooms and kitchens, orders are being closed and projects are being fulfilled on site.
And of all this is with a focus on local businesses, which has only benefitted the independent retailer.
While there is no comparison between retailing post and pre-COVID, the kitchen and bathroom industry has been fortunate that it has been kept busy.
And there is also optimism for the year ahead, with consumers reinvigorated to complete home improvements, as predicted in the Home DIY Insight Report 2021.
There’s no doubt 2021 will continue to throw up challenges. But for kbb retailers, who have used the lockdowns to enhance their showroom, diversify into an omnichannel business or boost their profile on social media, 2021 could be a time to reap the benefits.