Now that you’ve got a pretty solid understanding of the business conditions and economics being forecast for 2019, how do you put your showroom in the best position for growth?
Pam Danziger of Unity Marketing, a recognized expert on doing business in the luxury market, shares her perspective on some strategies that lighting showrooms can use to gain market share in the coming year.
Here are a few takeaways from our discussion with Danziger on things that lighting showrooms may want to consider when strategizing for 2019:
For businesses such as lighting showrooms, the true age-defined generations are more similar than different. Understanding and capturing the financial demographic groups, however, is what will set your showroom on the right path for growth.
One of the most-talked-about demographics in the luxury-buying world are the HENRYs (High Earners, Not Rich Yet), who rank among the 65 to 75 percentile group of income earners. They’re just one step below ultra-luxury buyers, so it’s critical that lighting showrooms know how to draw them in the door, and then keep them.
The prime home-buying period for most people is in their mid-40s. Earlier than that, they’re in the process of building their careers, and after that they’re starting to downsize. That makes the HENRYs a very valuable group for lighting showrooms to target.
Everyone who reaches the level of an ultra-luxury buyer earns their stripes first as a HENRY. Showrooms that are able to build relationships with HENRYs at this stage of their lives will likely benefit from their increasing purchasing power in the years to come.
There is no one-size-fits-all marketing method that will work for all showrooms. First, retailers need to truly look inside themselves and analyze who is making the sales and who is making the most profit margin. Everyone on your staff brings different talents and techniques to the sales process. Make sure that customers are matched with the right type of salespeople for their personalities and expectations.
For example, serving and selling to a designer requires a very different touch than working directly with a consumer. If someone isn’t performing or is regularly not able to finalize the sale with their customers, he or she may not be the best fit for that position.
More product on display does not equate to more sales. In fact, it often does the opposite; it overwhelms consumers. Showrooms do a huge disservice to themselves when they fill every inch of their space with product. The younger HENRYs don’t have the same level of patience as Boomers do when making purchases. Too much product = overwhelming customers = customers walking away = lost sales.
You’ve got to have a recognized social media presence in today’s online world — but it’s not the only answer to successful marketing. You also need a way to set yourself apart from your competitors. You must be memorable.
To accomplish this, think about a “Back to the Future” approach like direct mail to grab consumers’ attention. I know, I know. Most direct mail pieces find their way into the garbage without even being looked at, which is why nearly everyone stopped sending them — but this type of direct mailer would have a completely different look and feel. Hardly anything arrives in the mail anymore. Not even bills! Think about how nice it feels when something special or lovely arrives in your mailbox to open.
Create these new mailings with the look and feel of classic style and elegance. A professionally crafted, appealing design will often end up adorning homeowners’ counters or desks and keep you fresh in their minds. Keep it interesting, don’t stop after one, and make a compelling message so consumers want to find out more.
Consider hosting an “Open House” event. Choose your target audience and create an invitation, theme, and event that they will really want to attend and that will tell your story.
Consumers may enjoy spending an evening at your showroom with local designers who could share some secrets with them on selecting the right lighting fixtures to create the style or mood in a room.
Cooking shows continue to be extremely popular, so perhaps host a Top Chef-type of competition between some locally known chefs. Or maybe an event that demonstrates how to create a spa-like environment within the home and the important emotional, intellectual, and physical benefits it would have.
Up the glamour factor for your event. Most things are so casual that the gorgeous wardrobe pieces people have collected over the years are now hanging in the back of their closets in dry cleaners’ protective wraps. Give them a reason to pull one of those beauties out and feel almost magical at your event. Wow them by having some hand-served, exceptional yet easy-to-eat finger foods and a few selected beverages served in glassware.
Tried-and-true old-fashioned retail shopkeeping can make or break a showroom. The truth is that good retailing never goes out of style. Sometimes showrooms get caught up believing they’re not really a retail store…but they are. The only difference is the product being carried out the door.
Be extremely aware of the appearance of your facilities from the street. Every person who drives or walks by is a potential customer. Don’t create a negative impression with a littered parking lot, a weed-filled landscape, or dark windows. Instead, catch their eyes with a well-tended exterior appearance and attention-grabbing window displays that make them want to take a second look.
Be involved in your community. By supporting various groups and charities, you’ll not only help improve your city, but also keep your showroom’s name in front of local residents.
While some homeowners view the product selection process with anxiety, your expertise and calming nature can actually have the exact opposite effect. The way you work with customers will turn the anticipation and planning stages into the most pleasurable part of their entire project experience.