6-Develop a Retail Mentality

Develop A Retail Mentality

September 2015

6-Retail mentality



Now that we have brought our merchandise to life and made it the star of the show, is it time for our showroom staff to start writing orders?


That is correct. But remember, it can get even better! Your showroom is a destination! The only reason customers come to your showroom is to purchase a product they already decided they want and that you have to sell.


Inspire impulse sales. Take advantage of the buying mood of your customers by surprising them with unexpected products displayed nearby that may complement their purchases.

bullet20Accessorize your showroom with goods that will enable you to make your margin. Many accessories have higher margins than your standard merchandise.

bullet20Make everything in your showroom available for purchase. The items you use to decorate and accessorize your displays should be available for sale. Help customers with limited design expertise recreate the look they fell in love with in your showroom.

bullet20Offer complementary products for sale. For example, the bathroom section of your showroom can have displays of soaps, salt scrubs, bath brushes, towels, robes, etc. In the kitchen area, create displays of specialty cleaners, cooking utensils and other accoutrements, aprons, coffees. You get the idea.

bullet20Consider how far you can take this retail mentality. Check out what your competitors are doing to expand their showroom offerings. Do they carry lighting, fireplaces, home furnishings? Some have opened stand-alone stores separate from the wholesale portion of their business. These new facilities are located in a retail shopping area or design district to capture walking and impulse traffic.

bullet20Partner with a skilled retailer to handle this traffic if you are brave enough to enter the retail arena with a stand-alone store. Don’t burden your skilled staff with selling “soft goods.”

bullet20Sell gift certificates and specialty gift baskets filled with items on display and available for sale in the showroom. At holiday times, these can function as tremendous “check builders” for showrooms that do it right.

Look for next month’s topic: Helping Your Staff Sell More.

Tantalize The Senses

Tantalize the Senses

June 2015



Okay, so what happens after the customer walks through the door and says, “Wow!” — What comes next?

Next is what I call the “Walt Disney vision.” When Walt Disney created Disneyland, it was his goal to tantalize all five senses for his guests. Your showroom should strive to do the same thing.


Sound: As stated in design principle #1, pipe soft, pleasant music for customers to hear as they approach the outside entrance and then enter the showroom. Let the music continue as they explore the inside of the showroom.


Sight: As mentioned in both design principles #1 and #2, make your parking lot and entrance to the showroom visually appealing to capture the interest of customers as they approach; when they first enter the showroom, wow them with something beautiful.


Taste: Offer palate-pleasing refreshments. These treats do not have to be large, extravagant or expensive. Provide small cookies from a local bakery, or wrapped candies or chocolates. I favor Hershey kisses and plain M&Ms. Who doesn’t like M&Ms? Whatever works for you is fine. Mix it up.


Smell: It is a little-known fact that smell is the strongest and most powerful driver of our senses. Fragrances, scents and odors can trigger a host of emotions and memories, good and bad. Begin with the welcoming smell of coffee, which should be available to guests upon arrival. Other great aromas that are popular and effective in retail environments include cinnamon rolls, baked bread, lavender and vanilla.


Touch: This is my favorite sense for your showroom! The finishes available today on the products you carry are the finest you have seen or touched. Enjoy the smooth, pleasant feeling beneath your hand as you touch the metal finish of faucets and hardware fixtures. Further enhance your customers’ experience by letting them feel the flow of water in working displays. Maintain a warm and pleasant water temperature for maximum positive impact.

This is the third in a series of 12 topics outlining showroom principles.  Look for next month’s topic: Make Your Merchandise The Star Of The Show.

Walk Into Wow 2

 Walk Into Wow

May 2015


What should a showroom focus on for the walk-in customer?


When entering your showroom, the customer’s reaction should be: “Wow! I came to the right place!”

bullet20Inspire this “Wow” by presenting a beautiful element for customers to see as they enter. This may be the attractively designed, well-lit logo/sign for your showroom. Or, it may be your handsomely designed waiting area that includes comfortable seating where customers can “decompress” and enjoy a beverage or snack before embarking on their journey.

bullet20Build anticipation. Don’t overwhelm customers with too much beauty and inspiration all at once. Entice them to move forward and explore the showroom for more fascinating features. Create a sense of excitement for the journey ahead.

bullet20Position a trained greeter to promptly welcome your customers. This greeter is your “vice president of first impressions” and must be a “people person,” engaging, helpful, exuding positive energy. Your greeter treats customers like celebrities, offers them refreshments and above all, shows them how excited and happy you are to have them in your showroom.

bullet20Ask your customers, via your greeter, what brought them to your showroom. Find out what particular products might be of interest to them. Inquire how they heard about your showroom. Was it an Internet search, a friend, a contractor? This information will prove useful to your sales and marketing team when reaching out to future customers.

This is the first in a series of 12 topics outlining showroom principles.  Look for next month’s topic: Walk Into Wow.

First Impressions

 First Impressions

April 2015



Everyone can agree that offering the best products in the most attractive setting is key to generating sales and a quality customer experience, but what are some of the areas that showrooms seem to miss the mark?


Let’s start right from when your customer pulls into the showroom parking lot.  Here is a list of my showroom best practices for first impressions:


Your showroom’s first impression starts before a customer gets out of their car.

bullet20Have a great looking storefront that reads well from the street

bullet20The parking lot should be clean, neat and paved if possible with parking spaces clearly marked.

bullet20A covered entryway provides cover from inclement weather, to and from your patrons cars and defines your entry point.


Provide separate parking space for your wholesale customers.  Large contractor and construction vehicles need their own space.  Showroom parking should be separate wherever possible.

bullet20Seasonal plantings and flowers add a warm and inviting feel to your showroom entry, but if you plant them you MUST maintain them.  Dead plants are far worse than no plants at all.

bullet20Provide pleasant, soft music from the showroom to the outside entry to help reinforce the experience prior to entering.

bullet20Have some illuminated display in your street-side windows, if you have them.  This serves as a cost effective sales tool for your showroom at night.  Colored lighting will catch the eye of passersby.

bullet20You never get a second chance to make a first impression.  Make it the best you possibly can.

This is the first in a series of 12 topics outlining showroom principles.  Look for next month’s topic: Walk Into Wow.