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3 Things Designers Expect When Working with Luxury Appliance Retailers

Written by John O'Halloran

March 5, 2024

If you’re in the luxury appliance business, you understand just how critical – and oftentimes difficult – it can be to establish and maintain strong relationships with the design community. Any customer that walks through your front door is important. But when that person hails from the design industry, they represent just a little bit more.

Especially in the case of higher end projects (and their clients), design professionals play an essential role in influencing myriad decisions – including what appliances help round out that brand new kitchen. So, when one turns to you for help completing that project, you’re then presented with an incredible opportunity to provide an essential service to that designer. This, in turn, can result in future business with that designer and possible referral business if you happened to go above and beyond their expectations.

But what do designers look for in a solid retail partner?

Recently, Nationwide Marketing Group gathered feedback from a cross section of the design community to help address that exact question. Designers jumped at the opportunity to share their insights with Independent retailers, and more specifically luxury appliance showrooms.

The full scope of what designers shared can be found in the new Luxury University program, which was developed in collaboration with renowned motivational and results-oriented strategist Lynne Jensen-Nelson and is available to stream on the Nationwide Learning Academy. Below we’ll dive into three particular things designers told they need from the luxury appliance retail community in order to develop deeper partnerships.

1. A TEAM SALES APPROACH

If a designer is coming to you on behalf of a client of theirs, it’s imperative to recognize that the designer already has an established relationship with that client. As such, it behooves the retailer to not try to circumvent that dynamic by attempting to go directly to the client. Rather, the designer prefers to think of the retail relationship as an extension of their team.

Be there to support the designer as they walk the client through the appliance purchasing process. They’ve approached you as an expert in the appliance world, so you do have the ability and opportunity (and perhaps even the expectation of the designer) to educate the client and the designer. Make the experience a personal one for the customer and ensure that they feel valued and heard.

Going above and beyond here might even involve inviting the designer in on some exclusive learning opportunities ahead of a meeting with their client so that they can appear knowledgeable during any appliance-related conversations as well.

2. COMMUNICATE EFFECTIVELY

This feedback should sound familiar to any retailer. Just like a customer would expect clear and effective communication from you, designers shared a similar sentiment. The Five Cs of Communication matter to this crowd: Customers Crave Confidence, Clarity and Consistency.

With high-end projects and clients in particular, you can never assume that they understand or know what’s going to happen next throughout the appliance purchasing process. That makes it imperative for you, the retailer, to regularly be in touch with and offer simple messaging throughout the entire process to both the client and the designer. Keep everyone in the loop, outline what’s going to happen and make sure everyone involved understands what’s expected of them in order to have a seamless appliance buying experience.

Going above and beyond with effective communication — especially with high-end projects and clients — simply means effectively communicating. This is an area where excellence is simply expected. Any slip up will generally result in the client or the designer feeling like their expectations weren’t met.

3. BE A FIRST RESPONDER

This might be another way of saying that “the client is always right.” In an age where instant gratification has become the norm, speedy service is another one of those things that’s just expected.

Customers, for one, don’t want to wait to hear from you or have their questions answered. Designers, likewise, want to be able to lean on you and get answers fast so that they can take that information back to the client.

Your availability, or that of someone on your team, is also expected when working with the design community. Of the designers surveyed, two-thirds told us that the ability to contact a human is influential to them when deciding who to work with.

Timing is everything with the high-end designer and their clients.

Ultimately, the information shared here really is not groundbreaking. A client- or customer-first approach to doing business is why Independent retailers and luxury appliance dealers in particular have excelled when it comes to developing strong relationships within their communities. Following that same approach when working with designers and paying extra attention to the minor details is really all they’re looking for.

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