Andrew Pickup, director of surface specialist Karonia, has responded to kbbreview’s recent industry survey, which suggested around 50% of suppliers are frustrated by retailers who refuse to refresh their strategies and leave orders to the last minute.
Speaking at kbb Birmingham amid the launch of a raft of new colour options, Pickup (pictured) said the onus was on the supplier rather than the retailer or installer to ensure projects ran smoothly.
He also hinted that some suppliers risk over-complicating product ranges and pricing structures by trying to offer too wide a portfolio to the end consumer.
“The responsibility of ensuring we work well together is a lot more on us than on retailers,” Pickup said. “They’re selling the brand, our job is to provide them with the support. We have a distribution network, but it’s us that provide the support to help retailers sell, whether it’s brochures, help with showroom designs and displays or anything else. That’s what we, as suppliers, should be concentrating our efforts on and making it as simple as possible for retailers.
“It’s the same philosophy with pricing. If you offer lots of different brands, it adds extra work and effort. If a customer wants white one minute and sparkly white the next, we don’t want it to be a 50% price increase, a full requote and a whole unnecessary conversation. We want to simplify it. Our price freeze continues through 2018.
“Rather than retailers not doing what they should, it’s about us giving them the tools they don’t have,” Pickup continued. “It’s about giving them information that allows them to sell the product. As long as we’re straight with each other, we’ll make it work. We don’t need to exploit a mistake. We want to support them and get it fixed. That’s how it should be and I don’t think that’s the case for all suppliers.”
Karonia’s new colour ranges have received a great response from distributors and retailers attending the show, Pickup said. But while he stressed the importance of regularly updating his product portfolio, he admitted certain styles and trends were now enduring for longer than usual.
“Its no longer a case of 18 months and then what’s next,” he explained. “Greys, copper and the marble colours have sustained through the past couple of years. It’s been great to design for that.
“But we have to make sure it doesn’t just follow a wider trend in kitchen décor. Some people want statement pieces and build a kitchen round it. Or they want a white kitchen and then something that complements it. So we have to make sure they have enough for a statement piece, but also a lot of things that work with them. So we have a couple of different décor choices to go with the new colours to give a context. That’s what it’s about. We want people to have scope to imagine and create lots of different ideas. It’s about us offering support and giving people a steer. That’s where the ‘inspire, imagine, create’ line originally came from.”