This is the third and last article on showroom merchandising. While doing research on this topic I have discovered how much I did not know - and it has become apparent that among both wholesalers and independent showroom operators, many do not understand this concept either.
Other than sharing what I have learned, all I can do is encourage you to do your own homework to become stronger in this area. Really good merchandising of your showrooms will not only help you earn a greater return on your investment, but will help ensure your future in this increasingly competitive business.
Visual merchandising can be defined as everything the customer sees, both interior and exterior, that creates a positive image of the business and results in attention, interest, desire and reaction of the consumer. It communicates to the customer what the showroom is all about. It includes the presentation of products and other subtle features that create the showroom’s atmosphere.
Here are some important elements of successful showroom merchandising.
Facility ExteriorThe building should be located in a customer-friendly area, not necessarily where the wholesale business is operated. Make sure that both the building and landscaping are attractive and well-maintained. Provide the showroom with its own front entrance, convenient to parking and well marked.
Some wholesalers have given their showrooms a different, more descriptive name. Instead of “ABC Wholesale” the showroom might be called “Creative Bath & Kitchen.” Use signage that is tastefully done and highly visible. The name, colors and logo are a big piece of your brand.
Below are other features of a well-merchandised showroom:
LightingThis is one of the most important merchandising tools and may require professional help. Three types of lighting are used in a showroom:
SignageVery few decorative plumbing showrooms that I’ve visited utilize professional, well-done signage. On the contrary, they show manufacturer names above the displays, on faucet boxes and boards and on other manufacturer-supplied signage. They use a potpourri of signage for sale items, features and benefits. Make your signage consistent throughout the store. My suggestion is to have no manufacturer names on anything and have all signage professionally done. You are using signage as a silent, never absent, always accurate salesperson!
ColorThe colors used for walls, flooring and ceiling are important elements in creating a warm, enticing showroom. Color can influence our emotions, actions and responses to people, things and ideas. Also, they are easy to change.
DisplaysAdd a dramatic touch with a few working displays, such as one whirlpool tub with all the bells and whistles, a working showerhead, personal shower, body sprays and a working washlet seat.
Create one or two “Wow” displays - complete vignettes that show a great-looking bathroom or kitchen.
AccessoriesAccessorize your showroom to give your displays a home-like look. This will take your displays from boring to beautiful and create a welcoming environment.
Don't Forget These!Here are a few more merchandising tips to remember:
Once again, I’ve run out of space - there was more I wanted to cover, but three consecutive articles on this topic should be enough for now. Merchandising is an essential ingredient to the success of your showroom. I challenge you to start incorporating some of these ideas I’ve shared with you - now. Please feel free to call or e-mail if you have any questions or would like more information.