Looeeze Grossman, the founder and director of The Used Kitchen Company, considers the impact of Covid on consumer buying habits in the kitchen arena and how retailers can prepare for the changes
As we finally see light at the end of a very long tunnel and the UK retail industry prepares to re-open, have consumer’s buying habits changed forever? Has lockdown created a generation of armchair customers, or will kitchen buyers flock back to the high street?
My feeling is that there will be a mixed response from potential buyers as lockdown ends – the advantages of online shopping will coexist alongside those who value the convenience and in-person experience of shopping in-store. I feel that in many ways this is a positive development for the kitchen industry. Obviously, there is nothing like seeing a kitchen in the flesh, so showrooms will always retain the advantage of offering a tactile immersive experience. There is no doubt that ultimately buyers will want to have a chance to touch and feel the product before committing to a new kitchen. However, I do believe that initial kitchen research – such as browsing the internet and making initial enquiries will continue to be done online and over the phone. It really will be interesting to see whether this consumer shift remains permanent or revert to life before Covid. Doesn’t this make life easier for all?
Retailers must factor in the realities of the post-coronavirus world and it is unlikely we will ever revert to how people shopped in the near future, or possibly ever again. As a result, I feel strongly that consumers will continue to browse online and even undergo entire renovations from the comfort of their own home. As such, websites will be the winner when it comes to the online vs high street contest. Your website will continue to be of utmost importance – online presence has been key over lockdown and taking advantage of every aspect of social media will make a huge difference to both your business and target audience. The beauty of being online is the ability to deal with buyers who aren’t necessarily on your doorstep and expand yourselves further afield.
Personally I have quite enjoyed rolling out of bed into my desk chair, and although I really miss the buzz of the office, there is a lot to be said for working from home. The home setup allows me to be pretty productive and at the same time seamlessly dip into family life and a touch of dog walking. Having said that, I am not that keen on the constant doorbell interruptions and internet deliveries my family have embarked on over this period.
So, in these last few weeks of lockdown (hopefully), prepare your showrooms/displays and store ambience, update your website and investigate how you can increase your online presence. In our opinion, these have all become key points to a successful business during the Covid pandemic.
Here’s to the re-opening of showrooms and a successful summer ahead.