Kitchen & Bath Design News recently posed the question to dealers and designers in the kitchen and bath industry: “What are some of the best ways to generate traffic in a kitchen and bath showroom?” Following are some of the responses KBDN received:
“We try to make the showroom experience as interactive as possible for the consumer, especially since we are by appointment only. For instance, I will sit them down at the computer with the big screen to show them the work that we’ve done in the past. In that regard, we shoot all of our projects before, then document the progress pictures and then, of course, we have the after pictures to show the client. Every project that we have worked on over the past 10 years is in that computer. People really enjoy seeing the before and after photos, and you can’t really show that in an actual showroom, in terms of a setting.
We also advertise in the Yellow Pages as well as in the local high-end magazines.
Ultimately, the key to any showroom is to let people see the quality of your work from the instant they enter the showroom. We have a small showroom at 1,700 square feet. We use it as our office as well as the showroom, and to validate the quality of our work.”
Gunter Bierwolf, designer
“For us, because we are a high-end line dealer, we do quite a bit of advertising in the Junior League and the music theater and also on national public radio here in Kansas.
Our firm does so much business with interior designers and architects, as well as with contractors and referrals, that [interest in the showroom] seems to grow exponentially just from word of mouth. For instance, we will have interior designers come in to consult with customers, and that is a wonderful opportunity to have a wine-and-cheese gathering. That puts you at first base already.
We also happen to be located in a very secluded, upscale neighborhood here in Wichita, so most of the people who come in to see us already know about us and are searching for us. We are very much a destination location in this particular area.”
Rick Anderson, design/sales
The Kitchen Place, Inc.
“We have a changeable-letter sign out front and display whether there are any sales or promotions going on from some of our cabinet companies. We also do television advertising quite a bit. In my opinion, that probably brings in the most people to our showroom.
There is a new furniture store nearby, and we have partnered with them in that we’re supplying them with appliances and they are helping us advertise at nearby locations to accelerate the chances of generating interest and traffic in our showroom. We will be doing something soon on a monthly basis where we will be able to cook in the showroom and do live demonstrations. I think that will be a great way to attract people. The idea is to give customers an opportunity to learn something more about cooking and how they can use their kitchen and visualize themselves in the space all at the same time.
Steve Garner, designer
LJ’s Kitchens and Interiors
Mount Pleasant, MI
“Advertising and referrals are the best ways to attract people to the showroom initially. But, you also want to keep the outside of your showroom attractive, such as with an awning or with pots of flowers. That will establish a comfortable feeling and interest in your doorway.
I think the idea is to create a space that flows and pulls people in from the second they reach the front door. You want the space to have a sense of warmth that makes them want to stay. You certainly want the space to not look sterilize and cold. It is also important that there are enough products and displays to attract attention and the staff needs to be personable and knowledgeable. Even if you have a more modern-looking environment, you want people to almost feel like the showroom is a home; as a result they will feel more comfortable.
Another option would be to create a seating area that feels like a family style living room area. That way they are [at ease] when they first walk in. Then have the showroom expand to different displays. Live cooking, such as baking cookies, certainly helps as well!”
Bonnie Settle, principal designer
Cornerstone Design, Inc.
“One of the things that we’ve concentrated on is to offer an initial free measurement and consultation. Our displays – and we do have working displays – are well decorated with food props, so it looks like a real kitchen. Customers can easily picture themselves in the space. It certainly impresses people.
Another tactic we use is to have someone scheduled for showroom duty so that when we have a walk-in customer, that person receives our full attention. In fact, customers are always greeted by one of the designers. In the end, the most important thing is personalized service before, during and after the sale. You want people to feel like they are being taking care of in your showroom [and with their kitchen project]. Most clients that we deal with seem to prefer being treated that way because it saves them time and effort throughout the sales and design process [and ultimately, that brings more people to our showroom].”
Bert Grenier, designer
Ducci Kitchens, Inc.