Turning Showrooms into Must-See Destinations for Prospective Clients Can Boost Sales

It has been said that "half the fun of a journey is getting there," but Morton Block, CMKBD, IIDA, president of Kennett Square, PA-based Morton Block Associates will tell you that even more fun can be had creating the destination especially if it's a kitchen and bath showroom.

In fact, this sentiment inspired Block's seminar, "Creating the 'Destination' Showroom," held at last month's Kitchen & Bath Design & Remodeling Expo at the Valley Forge Convention Center in King of Prussia, PA.

Block believes that creating a true "destination" location offers a number of important perks including the most important, the ability to benefit a kitchen and bath firm's bottom line.

To accomplish this, Block suggests that designers should first review the business, such as its history, current standing, the future and the means to which it will reach its goals.

He further suggests researching possible areas, such as through the U.S. census, as well as through other local businesses and realtors.

Firms should determine how much square footage will be necessary for the showroom, taking into account the showroom proper, loading docks, parking space and garage, among others.

Once this is done, Block believes designers must move forward with the showroom as if it were a regular project done for any other client, including the creation of a master floor plan and perspective drawings to better develop traffic flow and establish design themes.

"[The key to creating a true destination showroom] is flexibility, adaptability and versatility," he notes.

For new showrooms, he also cites location, complete with high visibility and convenience for customers as well as ample parking space, as key.

In terms of product selection, he adds that it's key to determine your market, know the competition and offer "good," "better," and "best" choices, leaving price out of the equation.

He advises leaving space for product samples, and emphasizes the importance of showing products that are likely to sell (as opposed to those a designer simply likes). He also points out the importance of maintaining industry standards for clearance and ensuring designs are accessible and adaptable.

While accessories can be very helpful, he warns that they should not dominate a display unless they are actually being sold.

Block further notes that designers should create design displays with the future in mind by utilizing standard kitchen and bath layout shapes, including U- and L-shaped layouts. If the showroom is undergoing a renovation, displays can always be changed for a new look simply by updating countertops, floor coverage, backsplash, wall coverage or hardware.

He also points out that in order for employees to work to their highest potential, the showroom should be well lighted and back offices should be utilized to promote privacy.

Lastly, Block suggests creating a "sensory" experience, by incorporating scents, as well as using lighting for ambiance.