The idea of brick and mortar stores in a digital age is something which seems a bit archaic. You only need to look at the major decline in the UK of the high street. Closed buildings up and down every major town and city. Even in the US, all the major department store chains are shutting down stores all over the country as footfall falls and online sales rise. It becomes a drain on finances to keep these places open.
Yet, in the face of this digital onslaught, the recent Insight Data industry report has revealed that more and more installers are opting to build new showrooms. In fact in the past three years there have been more than 300 new showrooms built:
We all know how fantastic (in the main) the internet has been for our industry. Never has the public been so informed and educated about our industry and it’s products. But I think there was a fear not too long ago that the internet could derail the more physical side of our industry. These figures suggest not, and point to an industry investing strongly in physical display space to draw in home owners.
Creating the wow factor
Although the internet and digital platforms give installers a great many tools in which to market themselves to home owners, it can never really give you that awesome “feel-in-the-hand” experience.
That is where more and more installers are turning to showrooms as a way to create the wow factor for home owners who come in to visit them. It really does work.
I bought a new car the other week from Audi. They told me that they spent a whopping £8m on their showroom, and you could see why. It’s pretty much a glass box with very thin aluminium curtain walled frames. All the signage is clean in brushed metals. The floor inside is a smooth, shiny, high quality tile. There is a cafe inside in the showroom. TVs on the walls whilst you wait. The toilets could be from a 7-star hotel in Dubai. Some of the sexiest models are displayed proudly in the centre. There is a special “handing over” room in the back where people go to have their new car unveiled to them. There is a service department reminiscent to something you would see in the early Iron Man movies. It all combines to create a luxury, special kind of customer service experience. You know you’re going to buy an expensive car, but you leave feeling like it is money very well spent.
That is something that I hope plenty of installers are shooting for when focusing on their own showrooms. I think many are. I think many understand that a showroom can be such a visually powerful, persuading tool, and when executed right, will almost always result in the home owner giving you their business.
We have recently revamped our own showroom this year to try and replicate some of that high-end feel.
We painted, replaced the carpets, plastered walls, installed new lighting, put TV screens up, a motif on the wall and a whole host of brand new window and door products, kindly provided by our suppliers; John Fredericks, Roseview Windows, Solidor, Evolution, Brisant and Adria Glass. We have tried, in as neat and organised way possible, to show our customer’s as much of what we do, whilst trying to keep the space clean, modern and to demonstrate that “high end” feel. Feedback from our customers has been positive so far.
This is where a well designed, high quality showroom becomes an installer’s best friend. But a showroom has to form part of a wider, more coordinated marketing strategy.
There is no doubting how powerful a quality showroom can be for an installer. And showrooms will remain relevant for us all in the years to come. As with all big ticket home improvement purchases, such as kitchens, bathrooms and of course windows and doors, many home owners spending lots of money still want to see and feel the products in their hands. It’s reassuring for them, and gives them a much better idea of what is and isn’t possible for them.
Still, a showroom only forms part of a wider marketing strategy, which must combine with other factors to help create a coordinated, smooth and connected marketing plan for any window and door installer.
For example, using social media and websites to not only promote the products and services an installer has, but to also encourage potential customers to visit the showroom. In my experience I have found that most of the customers we get into the showroom eventually sign up with us. Many have also researched us online, and have then chosen to come in and see our products up close. This is how using both main sales tools together can create a stronger pull for home owners.
I see the number of showrooms increasing in the next three years also, but perhaps at a slower pace as the predicted slowdown halts investment.