Tuesday, 30 November 2010

COMMENT: Secret manufacturer

Forced to fit

Our manufacturer on the street looks at consumer attitudes to purchasing bathrooms and kitchens and asks are installers, ultimately, to blame? Who is the author? Sssh, it’s a secret!

As we approach the order cut off point for pre-Christmas sofa and household furniture delivery it’s interesting to consider the different consumer attitudes to these purchases versus bathrooms or kitchens. As the TV is full of adverts proclaiming the ability of the major chains to ‘guarantee’ pre Christmas delivery on sofas costing well under £500 retailers and manufacturers still encounter daily demands for next-day delivery of bathrooms or kitchens, costing several thousands.

Installer next-day demands
So why is this? My assumption is that it is largely driven by installer availability. Maybe the householder has managed to get themselves squeezed into the hectic schedule of the fitter. If they miss this slot they could be waiting weeks to rebook. It may also be due to the fact many fitters work across price tiers in the market and they themselves are used to almost instant availably from some commodity players. It is also amazing how often a householder has commenced work on ripping out a bathroom or kitchen, either themselves or using a fitter, which drives a terror of being deprived of basic human needs, in terms of use of a toilet or the ability to get clean if they cannot source the goods. It would be interested to hear how many times a customer has compromised on their choice of bathroom or kitchen.

Demanding large discounts
Even the discount requirement is different. How often do consumers walk into the furniture chains demanding 25% discounts? Again, perhaps this is driven by contact with installers promising discounts from retail prices in merchant catalogues. But how much of it becomes a self-fulfilling prophecy? Particularly, when in these current tough times, with us all scared to lose a sale and therefore placing even more power in the consumers’ hands. Is it time for us, as an industry, to stand up and make clear to consumers that by purchasing from a specialist retailer they are investing in a level of service and after-sales support they simply wouldn’t receive from large chains of retailers, including the household furniture groups. And, therefore, if they want such high levels of discount, they should look outside of the premium bathroom and kitchen retail network.

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1 comment:

  1. I totally agree with this. We ourselves have just run an advertisment in a local paper with the headline "Dont't Rush" "A kitchen is not just for Christmas". We have seen far too many companies locally and nationally advertising order now for xmas delivery and beat the VAT rise,the message our ad is sending out is simple, don't rush, come in after xmas have it done properly because it is an expensive mistake to make if you get it wrong and we will pay the VAT rise on orders placed in Jan & Feb. Design and service is a must but people seem to be taken in by the hype. Russell. also see our blog http://stuarthenrykitchens.blogspot.com