Consumer research, market statistics and Kohler’s own insights all point to a drastic change in the customer purchase cycle and experience. Adoption of new technology and online shopping are both on the rise, as well as customer expectation of brands and services is expanding. Considering these important trends, it is crucial for companies and industry organizations to stay on the leading edge and forecast the needs of customers. Kohler has taken major steps in the overall customer experience to ensure that we continue to provide gracious and efficient service.
The ever-growing desire for integrated technology that makes our lives easier and more efficient is quickly expanding beyond cellphones, cars and entertainment. Recently, our industry had the opportunity to take the lead on the integration of technology into products, with customers eagerly accepting and adopting the developments. Kohler’s launch of the KOHLER Konnect Smart Home platform and suite of products at this year’s Consumer Electronics Show was unparalleled. Opening consumers’ minds to the idea of voice-activation in the bathroom is an impactful move for not only Kohler, but the industry overall. We have taken great strides to ensure that consumers receive the best experience with these new Konnect products, and that trades professionals are adept at installing and servicing them. Utilizing many of our proven systems and technologies, we have developed these products with similar installation processes as our widely specified products, allowing trades professionals to quickly become experts and better serve their consumers’ needs. As consumers and the industry itself adopt technology, opportunities are opened for new revenue streams for ASA members that will help drive business and secure leadership.
We recognize that a great deal of inspiration for the home renovation process begins in the digital space but see that consumers are looking for a blend of digital and in-person experiences within our industry. To that end, we are simultaneously increasing our investment in brick-and-mortar locations. Last year, together with distributor partners, we opened two Kohler Experience Centers here in the United States, and five others globally – each owned and operated by our valued business partners. These flagship locations provide an elevated, unparalleled customer-service experience for everyone that comes into the space. Gracious hospitality is very important to Kohler, so our Kohler Experience Center concept was designed to be a leading-edge retail-centric experience that allows guests to try some of Kohler’s luminary products. It’s the ultimate try-before-you-buy for the home and design space. For the first time ever, we’re providing architects and designers with access to our global product offering, coupled with access to our global product experts who can provide one-on-one guidance. In addition to the KEC locations, we continue to build our U.S. presence through our 23 KOHLER Signature Stores, with plans to open more.
Through our work in both the online and brick-and-mortar purchase process, we believe a coordinated, omnichannel approach provides the customer with a superior shopping experience. Consumers are demanding the flexibility to choose where, when and how they experience brands and products, and we need to ensure that every touchpoint is a gracious and effective experience. By diversifying our services offering and choosing like-minded business partners, together we can be a trusted resource to consumers. Customers have many choices when it comes to in-person services, including consultations at a Kohler Experience Center, Kohler Signature Store or in Kohler, Wisconsin at the Kohler Design Center. We’re also proud to provide online Bathroom Design Services comprised of video and phone communication for consumers who may not have the means or desire for in-person consultation. Affording consumers the ability to customize their experience with our brand and services, and helping to steer their path into the trusted and capable hands of our distribution partners ensures a greater potential for industry growth.
Partnering for prosperity
Partnering with ASA and supplier members further help us to remain competitive and advance the industry as a whole. ASA is an important resource for us to stay on the pulse of economic, social and political developments impacting our business. Networking, educational programs, seminars and many more tools provided by ASA further help us to remain competitive. It is significant for Kohler and other companies in
our industry to have ASA as a
partner in dealing with industry issues such as codes, standards and new technologies, and serving as a conduit in bringing suppliers and manufacturers together to set a course for a more prosperous future.