Four Essentials of Good Showroom Design
That's where your expertise comes in. You are the expert! Show them what you know. Show as many styles as possible without overwhelming them. But most of all, show them ideas!
Your ultimate goal should be to allow customers to discover any flaws in their plans before it's too late to change them. Sometimes, a picture or even a display looks perfect, but it won't work for the customer. If your displays are well designed and creative, you stand a better chance of having the project turn out well in the end. By showing as many different ideas as possible, you offer an invaluable service - namely, providing solutions to your customers' problems.
Using the space wiselyPlan your display area to be as extensive as possible. Make sure that, when the customer opens the front door, her first impression is that there's a lot to see in your store. Use 100% of the space you have! That includes offices, restrooms, kitchen space and even areas outside. If you calculate the cost of your showroom on the basis of space, you know you have to make every square foot count.
Whenever possible, create working models within your display vignettes. Even if you don't sell plumbing fixtures, I think customers are really impressed to see displays with water in tubs and sinks. If you're in the ceramic tile business, bathtub enclosures and sink backsplashes should be clad with tile. Little touches like that really make an impact on consumers when you discuss these types of custom installation with them. (Perhaps your customer is having problems finding a tub that fits her bathroom. Your display may just provide a solution to her dilemma and secure a sale for you!)
It's also important to show actual-size products in your displays. Actual size = actual visualization! When a tub or sink is actual size, you can show the customer how a 4-inch-square tile compares to a 12" x 12" and thus give her a representative visual of how either would look in her own home. A miniature model doesn't cut it! It can confuse the customer, which may lead to misunderstandings at the time of installation.
Show upgrades and solutionsYour ability to sell improves dramatically when you let clients see product upgrades and variations. If a customer is looking for something, and you suggest a particular upgrade, his response is likely to be, "What does that look like?" Displaying a range of options allows you to promptly answer, "Like this!"
Research has shown that a consumer will usually buy an upgrade if he is convinced that it will offer a solution to a problem, or provide an amenity that will improve his lifestyle. Don't let the opportunity for that upgrade sale slip through your fingers. Remember: seeing is believing.
Display your ability to innovateSet out to create displays that are exciting and innovative. Try to show concepts of products, rather than just massing them together and showing everything a particular manufacturer offers. Show products in a new and unusual way. Combine colors in ways that are innovative and fresh. Push the envelope and dare to be different! Your customer could have stayed home if all he wanted to do was buy the bread-and-butter items.
Don't be afraid to show intricate details, even if this requires you to pay a higher installation cost. Those details are what sets you apart from your competition. In effect, those special touches say to the consumer, "We're the professionals in design and execution of your project."
Simply put, if you follow the following four essentials, you'll always be headed in the right direction.
First, exceed your customers' expectations for quality. Inexpensive products may attract attention and make for an easy sale, but the bloom may be off the rose before the floor's factory-new smell has dissipated from the customer's home. Sell only quality products, and leverage that selection with quality service and delivery.
Second, support a winning business strategy. It's important to develop a business strategy that takes into account your store's strengths and weaknesses, the opportunities that exist in the market you serve, who your competitors are, and how your company can fulfill the needs of a specific client niche better than your competitors can.
Third, differ from the competition. Are you carrying products that are similar to the competition, and so closely priced, that it is impossible for the customer to make a buying decision based on comparisons of quality and value? Does that help or confuse the customer? How profitable is duplication compared to product differentiation?
If customers regularly leave your store saying, "I have to think about it," you've probably confused some people who were ready to buy! Differentiate your company through product, price, location, promotional themes, or customer service capabilities. Drive home that message to clients and prospects.
And finally, deliver an experience that is worth customers' time and money. Time is valuable to everyone - you, the customer, and the next customer. Opportunity lies in developing alternative vehicles that give shoppers the luxury of wider selection, more information and novelty. Today's consumers are quite savvy and very demanding. They want and expect from you a higher level of help and professionalism - not just order-taking. Your product knowledge translates to consumer trust, and that trust translates to sales.
In my next article, I'll discuss product choice. The first thing that you need to consider is the customer's perspective, and whether your product selection is worth that customer's trip to get to your showroom. Is your store worth the trip?