Your showroom must sell the dream, says retail expert

KBB retailers need to understand what makes their customers tick and how to create a showroom experience that makes them want to buy, says one retail expert.

Speaking on the award-winning kbbreview podcast, retail consultant Phillip Adcock warned retailers that familiarity can often make them blind to how good a job their showroom is doing. He said: “You see all the wrong things because you’re not a shopper. Go and look at another retailer in a category that’s comparable. Look at other areas where people are spending big money on stuff that’s emotional to them.”

He added: “If a showroom is cluttered, scruffy, untidy and dirty, it gives an instant perception of that retailer and their values. Big retailers spend a fortune making sure they are all spotlessly clean.”

Adcock had some top tips for ways in which retailers could create a showroom that was aspirational and help lead customers on their journey through the store.

His first tip was not to put them off at the store entrance with signs saying “no pets, no sandwiches, no thieves”, which he said sends out a “don’t buy anything” message. “Try to make the entrance positive. Ninety per cent of people are right-handed, so the right-hand door should open inwards. All the things in your store will have an influence on shoppers.”

He also advised against certain types of in-store signage, saying: “Peripheral vision is only black and white and blurred, so if you’ve got hanging signs, frankly they don’t do any good. It’s the same with floor grabbers with words on – they don’t work. Use the hanging area and the floor area to create the emotional scene that starts off the see-appeal-engage-buy model, then you can focus on specific aspects to sell them a kitchen.”

And he pointed out that KBB retailers are selling aspirational, lifestyle products and that their stores must reflect that. “You are dealing with human beings,” he said. “You are selling kitchens, not just units and cornices and pelmets. You are selling the heart of the home and that’s emotional. [It’s no good] having a cold, unpropped and dirty display. They need to be able to imagine the kitchen or bathroom in their own home. You need to bring it to life.”

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Propping is a key area but Adcock advised striking a balance. He said: “If you prop your kitchens, some of the props will be stolen, it’s a fact. If you make it so nothing can be stolen, nothing will be bought. I strongly advise not using cheap, tacky props, as what you are then saying to shoppers is that this is a cheap and tacky kitchen. Use expensive props. It’s going to cost more and people are going to steal them, but you will sell more kitchens that way. One retailer I worked with put in false windows with country views and when the windows were there, sales went up.”

Lighting too was an area Adcock considered important. He said: “Ask yourself, how is a kitchen lit in the home, and it’s probably nothing like a car showroom. The sets need to look like they would in the home. You also need the kind of lighting that will let people judge colours and textures.”

Acknowledging that human beings had five senses, Adcock also advised retailers to consider sound, smell and touch. He pointed to one retailer who increases sales when they piped the smell of chocolate into the store, and one increased sales and dwell time when they played music 5% slower than normal.

Adcock also advised against any physical barriers, such as lines on the floor or a change in flooring, that may stop people from entering a room set. He also advised that mirrors and pictures of people on the walls can also “stop people in their tracks”.

He also suggested that KBB retailers could learn lessons from a certain Swedish retailer about how they guide customers on their journey through the store. “They have arrows on the floor and people follow the arrows,” he explained. “I have done tests myself in an electrical store where we had grey carpets with small arrows and 56% of people followed the arrows off the main isle.”

Listen to the full podcast below.

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