Retailers need to stop moaning about online discounters, one showroom owner has argued.
Richard Hassell, director of More Than Baths in Doncaster, said that dealers should stop trying to compete on price and push service and quality instead if they want to come out on top.
“Online retailers have got one string to their bow and that’s price – bar that, they have nothing,” he said. “They don’t have educated advisors on hand to assist with design, they don’t have the product options regarding bespoke or certain brands, and they do not have the product knowledge of known brands within the current market. You can walk into a showroom and get a fantastic one-to-one service.”
Hassell claimed that he was not above complaining about online dealers who were able to offer a product cheaper than his own showroom, but added that consumers were fed up with buying cheap.
“I’ve seen an online retailer doing some marketing recently, where they said they offered ‘next-day replacements’. What is that even?” he asked. “Are people that silly to buy from a company that is basically saying, buy from us and we will send you damaged goods. Wake up.”
This, he claimed, is why bricks-and-mortar showrooms would always have the upper hand, as people who want a proper job doing go to a physical retailer.
“People buy from people,” he explained. “People want service. It’s not rocket science.
“OK, you might not be able to offer the likes of Aqualisa or Mira as cheap as online does – that’s a another debate – so simply educate consumers on something that’s not online. Or if you can afford to do the showers or other products as loss-leaders, and try to make it back within the rest of order, then do that.”
However, Hassell claimed that if showrooms were not willing to make the effort to stay up to date with product and installation knowledge, then they were wasting their own time.
“Personally, I don’t think showrooms care or try hard enough,” he argued. “I believe that they don’t want to fight for it. Where has everyone’s passion gone?
“Happy customers tell other potential customers. You can’t win them all, so the best suggestion is find your market and stick with it, and simply stop moaning and focusing on what other people are doing.”