LAST WORD: Try before you buy

02 Jun, 14

Sangita Mistry, marketing communications manager for Geberit AquaClean, says ‘show it, don’t just say it’

When was the last time you bought a new car without having at the very least sat in the driver’s seat? Chances are you’ve done much more than that – you’ve taken it for a spin around the block too. We’ve all done the door close test to assess the reassuring clunk of quality. Why do we do this? Yes, to see how it drives, but also to get a feel for the machine, to see if it fits, if we feel comfortable driving it and ultimately whether it is worth the investment. And quite naturally, the higher the price tag on the motor, the more time we tend to spend getting to know it in this hands-on way. It strikes me there are interesting parallels that can be drawn between how consumers go about choosing a new, top-of-the-range car and luxury bathroom products. The same form of experiential selling should apply to both, but is not always so forthcoming in a bathroom showroom as it is on a car sales forecourt.

Technology test drive

In today’s bathroom market, technology is becoming ever-more prevalent and customers quite naturally want to ‘try before they buy’ – particularly with many such products taking up quite a chunk of their budget too. Take the Geberit AquaClean, as a clear example of this theory in practice; more than half of our customers will have tried the product before committing to buying it. The shower toilet, after all, is a fairly new concept that few people will have come across before and although it might pique their interest at a conceptual level, they want to be sure that they are comfortable with their choice before having it installed in their home. Going back to the car analogy not taking a ‘test drive’ would be tantamount to a consumer accepting the manufacturers’ claims on the latest electric or hybrid car without testing for themselves whether they will work for them in the real world.

Experential sales

In order to sell such products effectively and ensure that they don’t just gather dust in the corner of the showroom, bathroom retailers need to take a leaf out of the car salesman’s book and take an experiential approach to selling. It’s all about encouraging the customer to emotionally engage with the product; after all, a shower toilet will be being considered for the practical benefits it offers the user, over and above its aesthetic appeal. This experiential selling also occurs when you’re buying a new sofa or a bed, and for very similar reasons. At the end of the day the number one requirement of such items is that they are comfortable and most of us would never dream of making a purchase without having bounced up and down on a few options. That’s why we encourage our partners to have working models of the Geberit AquaClean within their showrooms, so that customers can put it to the test.

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Customer toilet installation

Showrooms that install AquaClean’s in their customer toilets can encourage customers to use the product in privacy in a no-pressure environment and once the consumer has engaged with the product, both physically and emotionally, the chances of sales success are much greater. We support this initiative by highlighting those retailers with working models on our website, so customers can make an informed decision on which showroom to visit. Being able to not just see the product, but to actively see how the technology works instantly creates a higher level of trust and gives a greater understanding of the product too.

This article first appeared in the April 2014 issue of Kitchens & Bathrooms News