Merchandising & sales expert Denis Caldora reveals strategies for improving your kitchen and bath lighting sales immediately.
A wall of vanity strip lights is so last century
Take a look at what’s happening in the home décor industry today and see what non-lighting retailers are doing with our category. They are bringing lighting into their bath product sections. We have to turn our vanity lighting section into a bathroom showcase area. Why not carry a few faucets, sinks, soaps, and fragrances?
Instead of wall upon wall of strip lights, put the lighting in lifestyle settings. Narrow down your selection to three or four “looks” in Traditional, Transitional, and Contemporary. Right now, many of you are showing every size and finish you offer. Instead, show the two most popular – that’s it. Put an index card or small sign that reads: “Other sizes and finishes in stock” nearby.
Cover up the typical slotted wall with a paintable panel that’s fastened on top of the slotted wall. Paint it in a color that you’d see in a bathroom. Bring in a vanity with a mirror and some accessories such as towel rings, towels, toilet paper holders, etc. This will help your customers visualize the fixtures in their homes. It’s important to give your customers the whole story. Times have changed and we now have to sell the whole package as a lifestyle; we have to diversify.
At the Bare Minimum
If you absolutely cannot have a vignette in your showroom, at least put some lifestyle photos on the wall near each style of vanity lights. I rip lifestyle photos right out of catalogs that come to my house, or even from The Home Depot! Let the customer see what the setting is for the type of lighting that you have on display.
You must create a kitchen area
For the same reason that I just mentioned about the vanity strips, you need to do something to represent a kitchen properly. Ideally, you should make room to put in an island, a wall cabinet, and a countertop. It doesn’t have to be a functioning kitchen, but it’s necessary to show lifestyles.
If you can, put a glass door on the cabinet so that you can show interior lighting. You’ll also want to show soffit lighting on the top of that cabinet plus demonstrate the variety of undercabinet lights available. If possible, add accent lighting in the toekick of the base cabinet. Hang a selection of pendants right over the island. A kitchen vignette is also a good place to show recessed lighting options; no one has that fluorescent square in the middle of the kitchen anymore.
Since there’s not enough room to show three different styles of kitchens, pick the most popular one for your area. If you don’t know which that would be, either ask at a local kitchen cabinet shop or choose to make it traditional or transitional.
Kitchens are a major investment in a home and there are more choices out there than ever before. Make sure you are showing three layers of lighting: ambient, task, and accent. If you absolutely cannot squeeze in a kitchen setting, then create look books for your customers to page through featuring lifestyle settings you’ve found in other catalogs.