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 ao.com (formerly Appliances Online) has just started its TV ad campaign…..