One thing you can’t get online
In his refreshingly honest opinion piece in the June issue of KBB Review, Paul Crow wrote about how Ripples’ showrooms have changed to offer an inspirational shopping experience. We would certainly agree that stimulating displays, relaxing facilities and somewhere where you can talk to experts are all essential for capturing today’s discerning homeowner.
People thought for a while that online shopping might undermine the need for showrooms. Certainly, the high street has taken a hammering as consumers change the way they shop. But clicks haven’t replaced the need for bricks – in fact showrooms have become more important than ever. A homeowner looking for a new bathroom will most likely gather inspiration from a variety of places, ask friends’ advice, and then research different options online. But anyone who is about to spend thousands of pounds on a bathroom is going to want to experience how the products look and feel ‘in the flesh’.
Consumers want to check the tangible attributes of a product before committing to buy, including the size, material, and colour (which don’t always render well on screen). There is one other crucial reason too. No matter how good the photography or how compelling the descriptions, there is one thing about a product that’s virtually impossible to convey on a web page: quality. And today’s homeowner places a lot of emphasis on quality. They want to enhance their homes with stylish decor and accessories that look great and will last.
Quality is particularly important when it comes to showers because showering is about so much more than just getting clean – it’s a place to unwind and refresh, a time and space for you, a sanctuary from the world. It’s a holistic experience and every aspect of the environment has to be right. Attention is often drawn to the fixtures and fittings of a shower because the shiny hardware is eye-catching – but it’s the things you don’t immediately notice that make the difference in quality. For example, what is the shower tray like? Does it feel reassuringly solid or does it flex as you get in? Does the door wobble or clang when shut? Quality is a feeling, and it’s a feeling you only get from the whole experience.
A showering space is often made up of mostly glass, so how the glass looks is important. Homeowners may not have noticed that most glass has a greenish tinge to it, which affects the colour of tiles and paint, and how the rest of the bathroom looks through it. However, when they see a low-iron glass like Lakes’ PureVueHD the difference is startling – and being able to see their bathroom in its true colours is another indication of quality.
Equally, the sense of sanctuary and wellbeing of a shower shouldn’t be marred by glass that is scratched or smeared with limescale or soap scum. That’s why Lakes Glass comes with AllClear® as standard – a scratch resistant, stay-clean long-life coating technology that ensures water, limescale and soap scum slide off the glass – a simple wipe with a damp cloth keeps it looking beautiful. The design of our shower doors help with cleaning even further, as they can be unclipped from their runners to allow easy access to the whole space.
Even the simple act of stepping into the shower should exude a sense of luxury. The way a shower feels under foot has a bigger impact than you might expect on how we perceive the whole experience. Lakes’ stone resin shower trays for example are low profile, anti-slip, and anti-bacterial. They feel solid, safe, and look great. They have a natural quality look and feel, adding to the spa-at-home experience customers love.
When you have an appreciation of how important these factors are, it’s important to realise, as Mr Crow has, that the way products are presented can make the difference between making a sale or not. Is the glass and hardware clean? Scratch and damage-free? Are the designers knowledgeable? And do they engage in a two-way conversation so they know exactly what the buyers need?
From walking into the showroom, the setting, lighting and surrounding space, to reaching for the handle and opening the door, stepping onto the shower tray, and looking at or through the glass – the whole experience must feel quality. Do your showering spaces look right in the display space? Are they lit well? Your eyes are drawn to quality hardware and your hands instinctively reach for the handle. If it’s comfortable and solid in their hand with a pleasing shape it says quality. Make sure handles are fitted correctly so they feel sturdy. Check that doors close smoothly and quietly. If anything feels loose or ill-fitting, the customer may not say anything, but they’ll question the quality, whatever the price.
Think about the showering space holistically. Make sure every feature enhances the experience, and you’ll communicate the quality assurance today’s customers demand.
To find out how Lakes can help you make the most of your displays and showrooms and maximise sales, arrange a meeting with one of our Area Sales Managers. Find their details here.