So you own an independent showroom and you are setting your 2022 targets.
What are your bumper months ?
Are you having a sale ?
Or are you running with everyday low prices ?
When I started in sales with MFI in the mid nineties, it was simple.
January Sale, extended into February, offers in March.
April Sale, extended into May, offers in June, and so on.
You knew at the start of the year where the big months were going to be, and you budgeted accordingly.
But the world has changed.
People are a lot more informed these days and there is a definite mistrust of “Sales” in the home improvement market. (The never ending DFS sale is a regular topic of discussion when I tell people I work as a Consultant in the Home Improvement market. )
And what about the legalities ?
I remember branch management being paranoid about a visit from the local Trading Standards office who were threatening fines of £1000 per ticket for every incorrect piece of point of sale in the showroom.
But now, I see trade companies advertising a sale as standard in October with no price establishment periods being set. Or even if they are, they are very difficult to prove or disprove. Especially without a price list being available to customers.
And what does the customer want ?
Transparency is probably the number one answer when I speak to retail customers.
Like some of you, I spend some of my free time reading the comments of social media sites where people are sharing their shopping experiences at various outlets, and comparing the service, and more importantly, the price they received.
‘Smoke and Mirrors” is a phrase I see used a lot when sales tactics are discussed in the home improvement industry.
So how do you run an effective sale month ?
Firstly, where possible, everything should be individually priced. It doesn’t have to be a ticket on every door, but it could be a sheet on the display showing how the main price is made up.
When I walk into a supermarket and I see displays of bottles of water with a sign underneath saying “Evian Water - Was £2, now £1 - 50% OFF”, I know exactly what the price was, what it is now, and what my saving is.
If I walked into a car dealership with signs everywhere saying 50% off, but no prices on the vehicles, I may be a tad suspicious.
And it is no different in the KBB world.
It’s no good telling me 50% OFF unless I know which products it’s off, what the price was, and what I am saving.
But if I am looking at a NEFF oven and see that it should be £999, but is now £499, because there is 50% off, I may feel a bit better about the situation.
Now I understand the dangers of itemised pricing and that less and less home improvement companies seem to be handing out line by line quotations for fear of being undercut by a competitor, but can we really then be surprised when the customers calls our ethics into question.
But if there is enough work done in the showroom, then I still think a customer will not ask to see a fully exhaustive list of products. Does Mr and Mrs X really want to know how much a sink waste is ?
But they do want to know that the sale is genuine and that they aren’t being tricked.
So what advice would I give ?
Make sure your best deals are highlighted to the customer in the showroom. This could mean feature posters in the window, stands inside the door and point of sale around the displays.
But be specific.
This is what the price was, this is what it is now, and this is how much you are saving.
Personally, I would always use the colour red to highlight sale items.
Now, recently I did some work that indicated that a lot of retailers are moving away from red to more autumnal or corporate colours, but red to me shouts SALE
Having spoken to a number of people about this, a lot of people have said that it may look like a closing down sale and send out the wrong signals, but delivered correctly, I think red catches the eye and has done for decades !
But 50% isn’t the only phrase that catches the eye. FREE also works very well.
FREE dishwasher, FREE tap, FREE cutlery tray, FREE for all ! All work well in a showroom window.
And by giving away a product for free rather than taking 50% off the whole deal, it normally works a lot better for the bottom line too !
The customer wants transparency and trust, so let’s make sure they get it !