Kitchen & Bath Design News

FEB 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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LIKE MANY KITCHEN and bath firms, you may have recently renovated your show- room, or at least made significant updates. Now how can you get homeowners to see for them- selves how your new and improved showroom can help elevate their shopping experience? Easy – make an event of it! Plan to stage informative and inspiring events in your show- room, and invite your area's remodeling-mind- ed homeowners to come and take part. With events marketing, your strategy is to di- rectly engage homeowners and encourage them to personally experience what makes your store a better place to shop. Need evidence that show- room events can help you sell? According to the Event Marketing Institute (eventmarketer.com): • 96% of consumers are more likely to make a purchase after attending an in-store event. • 74% have a more positive impression of a store after attending a showroom event. • 59% plan to tell family and friends about their experience at an in-store event. Now don't let the word "event" scare you off. I've found that some business owners, when they hear "event," will immediately think "big, complicated and expensive." No need to. You can test showroom events by starting simple. Here are ideas for fast and easy events known to work well for kitchen and bath design businesses: 1. Offer a showroom tour. Pick an early eve- ning, late in the work week, and invite local homeowners to experience your showroom's difference. Invite builders and remodelers, too. Sweeten the offer with the promise of free treats from favorite local food makers. Make sure you have something to discuss, show and share during this captive time. 2. Latch on to other events. Your communi- ty's Chamber of Commerce or Downtown Merchants Association may offer their own festive events to help boost shopping in your business district. Join in! It shouldn't take a lot of time, effort or expense to jump onto a promotional bandwagon like that. 3. Host meet-ups for home professionals. Have a "realtors only" event. Then host events just for architects, contractors and remodelers. Think referrals by making connections with those who can and will refer you and your business. Focus on the professionals who can strongly influence a homeowner's choice of kitchen and bath design services. By keeping things simple, you'll find it easi- er to hold many events in your showroom – not just one. Look again at those statistics. Instead of thinking "one and done," I urge you to view showroom events as an ongoing investment in engaging with potential buyers. If one event's theme or special offer doesn't appeal to a cer- tain homeowner, another event likely will. Remember, too: What's most important is for your showroom events to create new and stronger connections with your homeown- ers. They're not simply for hype and hoopla. Though when the time is right, you can certain- ly feel free to reach higher with your showroom get-togethers. Here are three proven concepts for a somewhat larger-scale, in-store event: 1. Open House: Open your doors for a festive celebration – all day or all evening, with treats, prizes and other enticements. An open house's flexible hours are best for working homeowners who will need to fit your event into their busy schedule. 2. Grand Opening: If you've done a top-to-bot- tom showroom remodel, consider having a Grand Opening. Your business contacts of all kinds – not just homeowners, but contractors, remodelers, realtors and more – will be naturally drawn to "new." Kick it up a notch with a fun promotion such as an Ugliest Kitchen Contest. The homeown- er who can prove with photos to have the biggest remodeling need wins a free design consultation or savings off their purchase. 3. Design Seminar: How about offering a free or nominal cost hands-on learning session covering the fine points of kitchen and bath design? Homeowners should appreciate getting your designers' expert insights, and you'll build your image as your area's pre- mier kitchen and bath design professionals. Don't hesitate to get more creative with your event themes. We are, after all, in a creative business. Here are three creative event concepts as thought starters only: 1. A Night of Fine Cuisines and Kitchens: Where better to stage a scrumptious foodie event than in one of your showroom's beau- tiful model kitchens? Recruit the chef from a favorite area restaurant for an evening of fine food preparation – with free tastings, of course. Consider holding a series of culinary events to spotlight a range of chefs and cuisines. The chefs will appreciate the exposure – and your homeowners will enjoy the treats. Plan in a key product presenta- tion to show what's possible when cooking in a new kitchen. 2. Your New Kitchen for the Holidays: Promote the idea – especially to high-income house- holds – of giving a new kitchen or bath as a holiday gift. Think, for example, of empty nesters at a time of life when they can at last reward themselves with a major home im- provement. Summer to mid-autumn should be good timing, just as the holiday season is kicking into gear. Deck out your showroom in holiday regalia, and serve holiday-themed treats over a soundtrack of classic holiday tunes. You'll be giving homeowners a head start on a favorite time of year. 3. A Charity Drive: Having your event to ben- efit a worthy cause is not only a good thing to do, it can create good feelings for your business. Consider teaming up with a local source. Invite homeowners to participate in some related way as you provide the space, as well as treats to facilitate conversations and recognition as the place/people to buy a kitchen from when time is right. This "softer sell" is more of an investment for over time. Holding a successful showroom event requires planning. Put tasks on a calendar for best practice execution. I also recommend as- signing a leader who "owns" the event overall to ensure all the parts and pieces, including spend and communication, stay connected to best drive future business. Begin anywhere from four to six months ahead so you have time to think through all the details and lock in the best you can offer for the budget: • Select your event team and assign responsibilities. " Now don't let the word 'event' scare you. Some business owners, when they hear 'event,' think 'big, complicated and expensive.' No need to. You can test showroom events by starting simple." Your Showroom Event Made Easy SARAH REEP, ASID, IIDA, CMKBD, CMG, CAPS 24 Kitchen & Bath Design News • February 2019 INSIDE TODAY'S SHOWROOM

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