09 March 2012

Audit your showroom...

Feb 2012 Bill Miller

Bill Miller, Gorenje's sales and marketing director, says you should try looking at your showroom with new eyes...

Firstly, do an audit of your showroom and the products on display. Are they all up to date, offering the latest technology available? Do a review of your kitchen displays, to see which have generated the most business, and which have generated the least. When you have identified these, consider swapping out the less successful displays for newer ones.

It is also well worth contacting the manufacturers who feature in your kitchen displays, and seeing if your findings reflect theirs - are the displays that are most popular for you, also the most successful sellers for them? If a display that is not selling well for you is generally one of their most profitable, ask for any advice they may have to improve sales of that particular range; could it be that the layout of the display has not worked?

Give your showroom a thorough once over, make sure it is clean and tidy, and then maintain it at this level. Check that all light bulbs work, and replace any if necessary. Ensure sinks are clean, and remove any dead insects that may have gathered in windows etc. Clear any unnecessary clutter from work surfaces and dust all displays.

Finally, make sure that all your POS and brochures are up to date. Although useful sales aids, make sure that they are displayed appropriately and do not detract from the overall 'look' of the display. You want the customer to be able to visualise the product in their home, not to have the display obscured by a large piece of POS or stacks of random brochures.

Focus on the window to your showroom - you want it to look inviting, with an interesting display that encourages consumers to come in and explore what is available, but you should also make sure that it is not too overpowering or intimidating.

A further good idea is to ask someone who is not directly connected to your showroom to look round and give their honest opinion - what do they think of the displays, and what would they change?.

Open your showroom up to the wider public as a way of building relationships with the local community and attracting new customers. Perhaps local groups such as the WI or Chamber of Commerce can hold their meetings in your showroom? Hold events for previous customers to maintain the relationship - this could become a yearly event supported by manufacturers. Invite the local press down to your showroom to look around, and keep them up to date with any interesting news or events from your business. Hold meetings with their advertising teams and see what deals they can offer you.

Take some time out to visit other highly-regarded retailers in your area - these don't necessarily have to be kitchen retailers, but can be a great source of ideas and inspiration for your own showroom.

I think the most important partnership a retailer can form is with the manufacturers whose products appear in their showroom. Hold a meeting with representatives from all the manufacturers whose products feature in your displays - not just appliances, but also furniture, lighting, sinks and taps. Ask them for advice and ideas, and see if they would be happy to help and support with any events you decide to hold. They may be able to offer you bespoke POS or help with local advertising and PR.

What do you think? Email the editor