- 84 percent of professional designers start their sourcing online.
- 81 percent of designers buy high-end items after first viewing them online.
- 47 percent of all products in a typical design project are purchased online.
After sharing the data, Ms. Brokway reflected. “Considering that furnishings are the third-largest spend after the household itself and cars, the shift to online should come as no surprise.” I would venture that any significant purchase somehow involves the Internet.
Before you start looking for a buyer for your showroom let’s dig in a bit. These statistics do not say where the designers spend a majority of their time shopping nor what type of website the purchases were made. Were they purchased from internet only sites or the internet site of their preferred showrooms? We continually hear that customers want to buy when and where they want. In a designer showroom, on the phone, by email or online. Your showrooms must be where your customers are. Your showroom and team is the most knowledgeable in your market and it is time to investigate a digital expansion. I think it is time for designer showrooms to better understand their target customers and what they expect.
I suggest meeting them individually, starting with the key interior designers in your market. Please do not only select designers by dollar sales. Quite a few designers use a DPH showroom to make or confirm their specifications and then send the specification list to the homeowner or the build or the plumber. You know who I am talking about.
Here are some helpful questions to get what you both need to work together effectively:
- How can we improve our bricks and mortar showroom to make it easier for you to work with and without your clients?
- How can we improve our website to make easier for you to work with and without your clients?
- Many “A” designers ask their clients to visit specific websites and note what they like. It is a big time saver.
- Do you want access to your quotes online? If so, what information do you need?
- What information would you like us to send you in a monthly product DPH update? New Products? Best projects finished? Top sales people selections and comments…
Take all that glorious information (data) and save it.
Then repeat the process with the builders that build what your top designers specify and might be purchasing. This is not about only your good builder accounts. Talk with those that are in your target market even if they do not buy from you. You will learn a lot.
Now you have a lot of data that you need to work through and decide what your next steps will be.
This is not the simple path but, I strongly feel, an important opportunity to grow your business. It would be a shame to let this business go to another just because your bricks and mortar business is so strong but missing business that you can capture on the Internet. The Internet is not going away and it will continue to gain market share.
A version of this article was published to DPHA’s Connections 10/18, 2019, https://dpha-sales-thoughts.blogspot.com/2019/10/welcomed-thoughts-from-fellow-jeff_16.html