Kitchen & Bath Design News

JAN 2019

Kitchen & Bath Design News is the industry's leading business, design and product resource for the kitchen and bath trade.

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IGTV, live video and Stories enhancements. That means we may be well served to use video in our Instagram strategies, as the platform may reward this kind of content with better or- ganic reach." She is seeing more of these types of expansions than new competitive platforms. Williams advises clients to consider "mi- cro-influencing." She notes, "We're entering an era in which those with smaller, yet strongly targeted, followings are proving to have great influence and value to brands. This ties into my long-standing idea that I'd rather have 50 peo- ple interested in buying what I'm selling than 500 passers-by who would never purchase." Additionally, the marketer notes, "Everyone needs to be savvy about the mobile-first era we now work and live in. More web searches start on mobile devices now, and that's why Google is serving up sites that load and look great on mobile first in search results. Everyone in the business world – kitchen and bath and beyond – needs to be sure their sites are polished and ready for viewing on mobile devices." Are yours? An important related trend is voice search, she adds. "Voice search is basically the queries we make to voice assistants through our Alexa hubs, Google Home and Siri," Williams explains. "We need to be sure the information about our businesses that's populated online is friendly and ready to be discovered via voice search. Many of the same approaches we use to be sure our businesses are found in Google search re- sults will apply here, but this is a new frontier." BUSINESS MANAGEMENT How you manage your business, especially if you're a sole practitioner or small business owner, has new frontiers of its own. "Our economy is do- ing well, but with new tariffs on products, design- ers will need to change their pricing going into 2019 to accommodate that," IDC founder Laizure notes. [It's possible that a new trade agreement will be reached before press time.] "Know where your products are made!" she urges. "The pricing difference could be as much as 20 to 30 percent, and you will need to communicate that with your clients as you proceed through projects." Pricing has become a challenge in other ways, as well. Clients are constantly seeking new ways to save money on their projects, often at the designer's or project's expense. "A designer may have a line of products they like to work with and a reliable source for those products, and a client may want to see if they can find cheaper prices online," Laizure says. (I'm betting most designer readers are nodding their heads right now.) "Many designers have figured a way around this and have procure- ment as a separate line item in their contracts, or have it clearly marked that they are not liable if the client buys inferior products." Staffing is another challenge faced by many companies, large and small. "The candidate pool has tightened because everyone who wants to work is working. Very few are seeking new op- portunities, unless they are looking to relocate," shares recruiter Kirchgatter. "For example, we have spoken to candidates who want to move from Los Angeles to Denver, or Phoenix to Boston, or Orlando to Idaho. And companies who hesitate to hire (because their hiring process is too long) will lose a candidate," she confides. "Millennials are the biggest challenge," Kirchgatter comments. "They are concerned about company culture and fit, compensation, benefits, perks, flexibility in work schedule and more of a work/life balance than ever before." Given that they're the largest demographic now, some hiring trends are worth noting. "Working remotely or from home one day a week is a plus," the recruiter advises. "Advertising/re- cruiting in a way that tells the candidates 'what is in it for them' is the best approach. Simply posting a job description will often times be ignored." Even if you find the right candidates, you may not b e able to hire them, she says. "There are some troubling trends we are hearing across the manufacturing world. Employers who use pre-employment drug testing are having a dif- ficult time hiring b ecause a high percentage of candidates cannot pass a drug test." With more states legalizing recreational marijuana in each election cycle (there are 10 as of the midterms), that's an issue many employers will need to be looking at for their firms. LAST WORDS There are many more trends in design, tech- nology and practice management than could fit into one Trend Spotting, but these will hopeful- ly help inform your new business year. Many more will be shared next month at the Kitchen & Bath Industry Show in Las Vegas. Many KBDN contributors and editors will be attend- ing. Hope to see you there! ▪ Jamie Gold, CKD, CAPS is an independent designer in San Diego, the author of New Kitchen Ideas That Work and the New Bathroom Idea Book (Taunton Press), and a design journalist, NKBA Chapter Presenter and industry consultant. Her website is jgkitchens.com. She was named one of Kitchen & Bath Design News' 50 top innovators for 2017. While augmented and virtual reality offerings are starting to show up online, clients still love great pictures. Optimizing for mobile is essential for digital advertising. Builders know their first impression is often made online. Photo: Courtesy of Msg2Mkt Photo: Courtesy of Vogel Builder. Photos by Newhomesource.com Photo: Courtesy of Hill Country Artisan. Photography by The BDX (Builders Digital Experience) 36 Kitchen & Bath Design News • January 2019 TREND SPOTTING

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