With all of the goings on over the last two years, many of us have lost sight of our customer base undergoing a significant change. Baby Boomers have moved into the background as Millennials are entering their prime earning time and make up a significant portion of decorative plumbing showrooms' professional and homeowner customers.
“The [Millennial} generation has unique attributes such as being web-savvy, curious, independent, and tolerant. The millennials grew up in an electronic and online environment that created their eagerness to acquire new skills. They are adept at using their smartphones, laptops, and other technological gadgets to help to better perform their jobs. This generation has placed such a priority on the internet and cell phone that they can’t imagine a world without these devices.” From Marguerita Cheng’s Forbes article, 8 Characteristics Of Millennials That Support Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs), June 2019.
Not only are they tech-savvy, they are the first generation that have always had access to decorative plumbing showrooms. That may sound trivial in the greater sense but it is very important to those managing, working in and promoting elegant bathroom fixtures. No longer does a salesperson have to justify the price difference between a stylish hand finished faucet versus whatever is on the home center’s wall of chrome. Yes, prices important but it is the pricing relative to other decorative products not versus a track faucet. That annoying part of the job has slowly slipped into oblivion.
Now, what can today’s progressive decorative showroom do to warmly welcome this generation that is a large segment of our targeted customer base for the next three decades? Simple, give them what they want.
And that is?
There have been thousands of pages written discussing the traits of our Millennial generation and as interesting as all that information might be, our showrooms have a lot going on and little time to cater all of their “observed” desires. So let’s keep it simple and talk about two simple additions to your brand’s showroom websites that will help move the Millennial needle in your direction.
We all know about this generation’s comfort, knowledge and reliance on tech and let’s not forget, they also demand honesty in their relationships. With this, these traits in mind here are two recommended website enhancements.
The true face of a leading decorative plumbing showroom is its people. A showroom may be as elegant as a Tiffany showcase. It can be overflowing with new products and applications but if its people are not top-of-the-genre knowledgeable, attentive sporting a bit of confident self-style, that showroom is DOA. So, let’s comfort our millennial customers by insuring them that our people are best in class.
I suggest expanding your about section and add images and stories of every player in your showroom, especially the showroom managers and consultants. There are a few showroom websites that share images and short profile on their teams but most seem like window dressing. Today’s customers, be they Millennial, Gen X, Baby Boomer or a Zoomer, what to know who your business is. They do not need a LinkedIn profile but are looking for more than an image of a person standing uncomfortably in front of a camera next to a bio that simply lists what they did back when. I suggest creating a plumbing passion statement on why they enjoy working with decorative plumbing products and what they look forward to creating. Their history is nice but it does not communicate any passion in assisting the design and building professional to get it best and helping the homeowner create a special kitchen and bath spaces.
On your websites, I suggest expanding your about section and add images and stories of every player in your showroom, especially the showroom mangers and consultants.
Then add a few specific notes. Such as their go-to kitchen faucet for the culinary addict, an emerging trend, the most interesting new display or how they saved the day. Each team member should have a least two incident/product/style comments to complement their passion statement.
Finally, spend the money and hire a talented portrait photographer. These portraits are more important than all the content. A well-photographed person radiating confidence and approachability speaks volumes on any Internet page. Remember, the image they see on your website is the image they will recall when they enter your showroom. That image will be in their mind when they physically meet that person. In fact, that image and its adjacent content are actually your customers’ first impression of your employee. Do it right and make the best digital first impression possible.
The second ad is even simpler and will be a big help to all involved in our showroom.
Many forward-thinking decorative plumbing websites offer a large selection of products that the showroom can sell their customers. Most of these sites are powered by one of the showroom data companies that accumulates many decorative brands product data. The showrooms gain access to this data and a boilerplate website allowing the individual showroom to build out at-home and Adam pages, filter the product offering and create the product page presentation as they think best. These showroom sites present more than 100 brands and countless products but nowhere do these sites have a simple filter or notation informing its visitors which of these thousands of products are actually on display.
While watching HGTV, a 38-year-old HENRY, High Earners, Not Rich Yet, notices a kitchen faucet and decides it is time that they add a cool, 21st-century, elegant pull-down kitchen faucet to their home. They open Google and discover your web site. They dive into the kitchen faucet section and select their faucet. The next day they cruise over to your showroom and are told that the $900 faucet they discovered on your website is not on display. At this point, your customer has lost a bit of faith in your brand and is a bit upset. Then your good showroom consultant works to bring them back while trying to show them something comparable that is on display. This path goes one go two ways, one very good, the other might kill the relationship and end with a negative comment on Yelp.
This can also happen in reverse. Another motivated person has found just the right powder room faucet on your site but there is no mention of it being on display. So they copy the faucet information click over to www.AMillionFaucets.com and order the product knowing they can return it. But, if there was a note on that product page saying that it is on display in XX finish or not on display but we do show XX kitchen faucets on display. With that information, they might well drive to your showroom to see and sample your selection of faucets vs. ordering one online.
Many say that most people need to actually see and touch a faucet for their home. Those people do exist but they still research on the world wide web and if your site does not have the answer to their question they have many other alternatives ways to see company and ask them the best way to note which products on your site are on display and how can you add a note to educate your visitors that a particular faucet is not on display but we do show XXX faucets on our showroom. Now they have an answer to their question.
The ever-expanding internet is not going to go away and will continue to add more applications that make our lives a bit easier. These two simple digital additions will help your targeted professional and design motivated Millennials Millennial more confidence and comfort with your brand. Your customers expect your website to be full of the best current product information and supported by the industry’s best people. After all, people-to-people interactions will never go away no matter how amazing the work wide web becomes.
If you would like to discuss this in more depth, please reach out to me on LinkedIn, https://www.linkedin.com/in/jeffreyvalles/
I wish you all a successful and rich 2023.
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