Thursday, 30 June 2011

EDITOR'S COMMENT: Gawd bless Liz

Editor Kitchens & Bathrooms News
Philippa Turrell,
…Not of the HM variety, but columnist of the Daily Mail, Liz Jones, who has recently scribed the column titled “kitchen fitters won’t fit kitchens”.  Of course, those of us in the trade know the inaccuracy of this generalisation but it highlights just how little consumers, even educated ones, understand the differences in high street kitchen companies.
If Liz had done a little more in-depth research she would have found high street showrooms that do offer all services and even ‘man in a van’ kitchen installers who will supply, design and fit. But it begs the question do kitchen firms market their services adequately or just rely on their displays and the price (or worst still discount) to seal the deal?
Perhaps even more disturbing is that (in some small part) I find myself agreeing with Liz!  Does the retail industry really do enough to help consumers purchasing a kitchen?
We may know that the price of a kitchen can vary depending on number of units, appliances et al. But what a consumer really wants to know is the starting price from £3,000 or £15,000 (i.e. can they afford it)  – not that it ‘depends on the size of your room’.  Surely a better resolution would be along the lines of ‘our average order is £17,000 but we have designed a kitchen for £5,000’. Are we just all too wrapped up in kitchen sales to forget how we behave as consumers?
We recently had a consumer call into Kitchens & Bathrooms News to ask if we could recommend a certain kitchen retailer. It’s not a service we offer. He had refused her simple request for a testimonial, stating his business had been established for 25 years and he didn’t need to prove his worth.
Perhaps there does need to be an attitude change in kitchen retailing towards helping the customer purchase and not putting barriers in the way of doing business.
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