'Live' Displays Advocated For Dealers

'Live' Displays Advocated For Dealers

Morristown, NJ How are small kitchen/bath retailers going to hold their own against the big box stores?

One way, according to showroom experts and merchandising consultants, is to offer consumers a different kind of kitchen and bath shopping experience than the big boys.
For example, industry experts point out, more and more of the chains are looking at bigger showroom areas with expensive innovations such as interactive kiosks which use computer technology to "walk" shoppers through a number of basic choices to fit their needs. In contrast, those same experts say, a possible option for the little guy is to go to a smaller "hands-on" type of retail environment with "live" displays.

"Give consumers the chance to actually cook a meal, or show them how easily various countertop materials clean up after use, or offer them a chance to don swimsuits and enjoy a relaxing soak or body spray," suggests Morristown, NJ-based kitchen/bath industry marketing consultant Ed Pell.

"This is also an excellent chance to sell add-ons such as water filters and purifiers, hot water dispensers, storage aids, towel warmers, disposers, compactors, and similar products," Pell says, noting that these "live" showrooms can also be tied into special events, such as a visit by a guest chef or an aromatherapy demonstration.

According to Pell, the sales pitch in these cases parallels the logic: "You wouldn't buy a car without test-driving it, would you?"

A word of caution for dealers taking this approach, however: It means fewer displays, but more frequent replacements and more investment in showroom maintenance will be needed, Pell says.