Skimping on your showroom will lose you sales, warns KBSA boss

Richard Hibbert’s showroom at KSL Sudbury

Don’t be tempted to save money on showroom displays – “they’re a powerful tool to help close sales”, says Richard Hibbert, national chair of KBB retailers association the KBSA.

“The showroom is at the heart of every independent KBB retailer’s business,” said Hibbert. “Not only does a showroom provide the opportunity for consumers to be inspired and to see, feel and touch the products, but it also provides a welcoming space to meet and build relationships.”

Hibbert knows only too well as a retailer himself that overheads are rising and retailers need to cut costs where they can. But he warns that skimping on the showroom itself is a recipe for losing sales.

 “A showroom is a major investment and can be a powerful tool in helping to close sales,” said Hibbert, “but it is necessary to continually update and invest to get the best return on investment.”

He added: “With overheads on the rise, it can be tempting to try and save on displays,” said Hibbert, “maybe taking the best special offer around at the moment or that irresistible free deal. However, like any decision, the cheapest option may not always be the best solution.”

Hibbert also advised that retailers should make use of their in-house designs skills to create the best displays. “Manufacturers can be persuasive when offering display deals to retailers,” he said, “and when a business is short on time it can be tempting to take what is offered. However, it can pay dividends to use your own in-house design skills to create individual displays that reflect the local needs, and showcase the products in the best way possible.” 

Richard Hibbert, national chair, KBSA

Hibbert advises making the showroom experience as good as it can be.

“As well as considering what will make an impact and what will sell well, a showroom should be a space where experience and inspiration are key. Customers must be able to see, feel, experience, receive professional advice and get inspired.”

He also suggests finding ways to inspire customers with something out of the ordinary. “Commercial decisions come from considering many factors,” said Hibbert. “Often it pays to incorporate something wacky or eye catching, this may never be a top seller but will create a talking point or bring people into the showroom.”

The KBSA national chair concludes that when times get tough, your showroom needs to be at its best. “Investing in the showroom is something that must be continually reviewed and not put on hold when it looks like more challenging times are ahead,” said Hibbert.

“When the market slows, it becomes harder to secure business, your showroom needs to stand out, and create an impression to secure sales in a limited market.”

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