I was delighted to be asked by the KBB Review to write a regular column, breaking down the setting up of a new kitchen showroom, and everything that needs to be considered before you start.
Over the next twelve issues, I will be choosing a different area every week to explore in more detail.
I have lost count of the amount of new showrooms I have opened over the years, and here are a few things I had to consider when I was opening each one.
To make things simpler, I always work on a Ten S strategy.
In everything you do, safety should come first. People should be going home in the same, if not better condition than they arrived in.
Of course, all of the usual compulsory items need to be covered, such as fire, risk, PPE and general health and safety.
But people are still very nervous of viruses and need protection.
This can include screens, hand wash stations and social distancing.
Also, mental health is vital to be monitored and people should be regularly checked in on.
Firstly, you need to decide the setup of the showroom. Do you need a Showroom Manager, or are you going with all Kitchen Designers ?
If no manager, who is responsible, and how are they recognised ?
And how are you going to recruit your staff, and from where ? Do you choose an experienced designer with a track record, or recruit somebody from outside the industry who will come in with a different slant ?
And what about basic and commission ? High low or low high ?
There are three main systems you need to consider when setting up the showroom.
CAD system, quoting system, and CRM system.
In my mind, the CRM is the most important system of all three.
It doesn’t matter whether it’s an IT system, or a pen and diary system, but keeping track of all outstanding business is vital.
I have been unlucky enough to have had several break-ins when I have been working for different companies.
We always tried our best to make sure the damage was minimal if anyone got in.
I would generally leave the safe door open overnight and hide the £50 float somewhere in the stock room. This was done after me having to replace a £300 safe that had been drilled out to steal £15 in cash !
Website, LinkedIn, Facebook, Instagram, Twitter, TikTok and many many more !
If you are planning to have somebody external manage your social media, they will still need regular content. Videos, photographs and print.
If someone internally is able to do it, it will save costs, time and give you more control over what and where you post.
What are you displaying ?
You get better discounts from suppliers when you display their product, but it is very easy to display too much and lose some products in the showroom.
You need to display the best products that give you the best returns.
This can include negotiating with suppliers and seeing what you can get from them.
Are you going with one big display, or several smaller displays ?
The showroom is one of the best selling tools you will have, and the customers first impression will be based on the layout, look and cleanliness of the showroom !
Where will you present to the customer and how will you make sure that they have a first class customer experience that they will be sharing with all of their friends ?
Trustpilot and Google Reviews can be left in the blink of an eye.
Feedback is instant these days and you need to be going the extra mile to make sure the customer has no complaints at the end of the project.
How often will you be calling the customer while the project is ongoing ? And how are you going to make sure that when their dream kitchen is installed, the referrals flood in !
Stock is a very important consideration when setting up a kitchen showroom.
You need to have several essential items in, for when things occasionally go wrong. But at the same time, you don’t want all your money tied up in stock.
And also if you have to have stock back from the customer, where are you putting it, and what Service Level Agreement do you have in place with your supplier for returns ?
The most important thing to work out when you are starting a kitchen showroom is …. How much are you going to sell ?
Everything on your profit and loss sheets are based on your sales and margin.
Targets and forecasting need the most consideration of any area when you are planning your new venture.
Know your numbers !!!