Thursday, 12 September 2013

Plumb crazy!

Isn’t it easy to get kitchen and bathroom showrooms fired up, irritated, irked, downright annoyed even? Just a mere mention of internet sales, in the same sentence as kitchens and bathrooms, and it’s a red rag to a bull. Or, in the case of a certain online bathroom company, advertising on TV, a plumb one! And it’s understandable why there has been frustration from bricks and mortar showrooms, which Victoria Plumb has branded “costly”. This industry has been through some challenging, economic times. And the landscape of high street retailing is changing, forever, and at some pace. Competition – particularly discount online sales – is throwing out new challenges for retailers to attract and win over customers. But and it’s a big BUT, don’t let one TV ad campaign by one bathroom brand throw the entire industry into a spin.
Is the Victoria Plumb customer your target customer? Can you confirm how many sales you’ve lost? A quick question out to over 3,000 Twitter followers drew lots of speculation but not one positive affirmation. Okay, you could argue, the statistical viability of this could be drawn into some question. So, instead, let’s look at some insight on behalf of WRAP, which found 61% of consumers who purchased one or more bathroom fittings in the last year purchased in-store, with a further 12% a mixture of in-store and online. And 90% of these consumers visited at least one store, including 67% who visited between 2-4 stores.
Interestingly, while all attention has been focused on one particular company, there has been no mention of B&Q, running bathroom TV ads at the same time, offering 20% discount. So are high street retailers no longer concerned about ‘sheds’?
Be aware of what is happening in the internet world and how etailers are marketing their wares to boost sales, yes! It’s a challenge that’s not going to go away. But use these potential ‘pitfalls’ as business opportunities, enabling you to show your skills, knowledge and customer service (as Russell Buckley suggests p.20). Perhaps even use it as an impetus to ensure you know your target customers, their wants, needs and expectations – maybe conducting your own market research (p.74 to make sure.
Let’s focus on all the benefits quality high street showrooms offer and how that can be promoted to the customer…but quick because (formerly Appliances Online) has just started its TV ad campaign…..


  1. The advert made Victoria Plumb look a bit silly really. Retail customers are not stupid, and they value a showroom and some proper advice.

  2. Russell, Stuart Henry Kitchens Ltd.
    Regarding the B&Q comment on running 20% ads the same time as VP. I think people become desensitised to B&Q & other similar companies mainly because they are always advertising but also when somebody runs an eye catching ad like the VP ad people sit up & take note, also when it starts infringing on on their territory they get a little peeved "Well I,m not having that" type attitude. The thing is all the companies are here now and we all have to deal with them in a way that betters our offer, that may not be price led for service led & eventually the people who had a nose at the new company will come back to you as long as you are offering what you say you are going to offer.

  3. Both adds are based on the same old theme of price. Toby is right that the public are not stupid, but the prospect of a "bargain" often sends common sense out the window!
    The independents need to think about how best they can convey their message to the consumers. We must counter the nonsense of constant false discounts by demonstrating that price is not the same as value, and grab the consumers interest by talking about the less tangible aspects of kitchens and bathrooms, the value of lifestyle benefits and the difference which good design can make. As for Victoria Plumb, who have come up with a very clever marketing campaign, we must show the value of a designer. When projects are well designed the slick salesman is an unnecessary extra, but without the designer the nice lady in the bath might just be banging her head on the taps.
    Garry milligan FKBD

  4. congratulations guys, quality information you have given!!!

  5. Great blog about kitchens and bathrooms. I like your way of blogging.

  6. Interesting blog i thought that will be more aggressive keep continue sharing.

    Bathroom Design Ideas