Remember when you traveled to shop at your local shoe store? The salesperson guided you around the showroom and helped you select the shoes that were just the right look and then carefully measured your shoe size. Into the back they would go and return with a few boxes for you to try on to make sure both the look and fit were just right. When was the last time you did that?

Today, many of us shop for and purchase our shoes online. We do not need to have our shoe size confirmed nor touch the sneakers at a brick-and-mortar store. If we see what we like, we check the size box and fearlessly checkout. Even though there are few things more annoying than wearing an ugly or uncomfortable shoe, we aren’t concerned. When they arrive, we open the box and slip them on in the comfort and convenience of our living room. If they don’t fit, back to the store they go.

“By radically cutting back on its (Nike) wholesale distribution and raising the bar for brand experience with the third-party partners that remained; expanding its focus on content, community and customization to keep customers close; investing in its data analytics and logistics capabilities; and rethinking the role of the store as a brand stage, Nike drove a veritable direct-to-consumer revolution.”  

Fortified by excellent target market storytelling, this strategy propelled Nike to new heights prior the pandemic, and now they are on fire.  

Another poster brand for this strategy is Warby Parker. When they started to gain traction, they only offered eyewear’s basic looks, yet the company’s pricing and versatile purchasing options propelled them to multi-billion dollars in sales and company value.   

Customers do not need to see it all — that takes too much time. They just need to know they are seeing stylish, quality products within their price point and that if it is not right, it can be easily returned.    

If this is true, why are designers, builders, plumbers and design enthusiast homeowners not moving their purchases to the internet? Some internet sites are offering ridiculous pricing and will take everything back for full credit. Why haven’t the Waverlys of the e-world not fatally damaged the decorative showroom model? It’s complicated…

Your showroom's edge

Putting together a single kitchen or bathroom takes a lot of unique products which are designed and manufactured by different vendors. All the products must fit together, look sharp while working smoothly within the home or commercial application. That is no easy feat. In reality, it takes three trades people to put one together: The plumber, the electrician and the cabinet maker. Then add in the builder and interior designer, and you have five distinct disciplines to build a kitchen or bathroom. With all this going on, a remodel or new build is not a simple one-click proposition. To orchestrate such a project takes talent, industry knowledge and resources.  For this, I tip my hat to the gutsy showroom salespeople. They know how the products work and how to work all sides of what can be a very soap opera-like journey. This is why showrooms have a strong edge on their e-commerce competitors.  

Your showroom’s marketing strength is its hard won position as the showroom to work with if a customer wants a job correctly and smoothly. Any remodel or new build job will endure its own unique problems and your showroom will be there to support the design and building team, as well as console the homeowner. That type of deep service is not available on the internet.

Your knowledgeable team quickly answers questions via text, call or email. You are prepared with product on the shelf to cover any vendor, purchasing, specification or installation error. Something as simple as a replacement faucet for the client to use as the ordered product is late, defective or was damaged on site. The big boxes and the unicorn e-commerce sites have no system to diagnose and produce quick solutions for most of the long list of problems that appear on a job. Buying from an e-commerce only site is simply a purchase. There is no on-the-job customer service. All of the responsibility falls on the purchaser.

Show off your team

It is so very important to show and celebrate your team’s work. Your primary marketing story should be to show off all of the bathrooms and kitchens your team has helped create. Don’t worry about the job’s style, the budget or brands involved. Shout out to your market what your team does and how easy you are to work with. A presentation of images complimented with well targeted captions will motivate professionals and homeowners to realize your team has experienced it all and your breadth of work will tell them your brand is the team to partner with.

Often times people do not remodel or build their dream home out of fear. Every episode of the thousands of hours of remodel and build television always include at least one unknown and costly issue. Building is stressful for all involved and not entered into lightly. That is why designers, plumbers, builders and homeowners need to partner with the smartest showroom in the market.