Supply chain challenges, price increases, remodeling projects being put on hold, and yet the premium appliance business continues to grow. According to the National Kitchen & Bath Association, the kitchen and bath business grew 19% in 2021 to $167.2 billion! Unfortunately, this growth is not sustainable year after year; so, the question becomes what are you doing today to invest in your business and improve the luxury consumer experience for tomorrow?
By now, most retail business owners have accepted the fact that the customer journey has forever changed. It is said that a customer-centric strategy that addresses key needs throughout the consumer’s journey is the path to success. Let’s simplify this by breaking down some key consumer questions that arise as they research the luxury appliances segment online. If done right, you will drive more consumers into your showroom, to one of your expert sales professionals to create the kitchen of their dreams.
Start by considering some upgrades you can make to your website to improve the luxury consumer experience. Over the last 12 months there have been over 1.9 million unique views to Nationwide Marketing Group Members’ websites by consumers searching for the top brands in the luxury appliance category. This is up 27% vs. the prior year and will continue to grow at a high rate. The good news: There are a number of tactics you can apply to your website today to improve the online consumer experience.
What some retailers started out of necessity during the height of the pandemic, many have kept out of convenience. Appointment scheduling is allowing retailers to offer a high touch/concierge service for consumers. The best thing is that we are receiving reports that Members have a 90% close rate on these appointments.
Chat is typically considered an ecommerce tool, but it’s also a great way to engage with consumers on your website as they are actively researching luxury brands. Use this engagement to establish yourself as the leader in your respective market while convincing them to come into your store and meet with an expert.
This is what Nationwide’s Senior VP of Omnichannel Technology Jennifer Danko says about our propriety chat platform, Chatterbox: “Chatterbox live chat is designed to help retailers transform shoppers into customers using real-time digital conversations. Retailers using Chatterbox can engage with their customers through website chat, SMS and video chat, and they’re also able to seamlessly transition any of these online interactions to a phone call. This flexible approach lets retailers meet their customers wherever they are in the shopper journey and, ultimately, close more sales from online leads.”
Upgraded Brand Pages
Depending on who your website provider is, you may have the opportunity to customize the look and content of key luxury partners like Monogram or Fisher Paykel, leading to an unforgettable consumer experience while researching on your website.
As vendors closed their experience centers during the pandemic, many shifted to a virtual experience center experience, creating virtual tours for customers hosted right on their websites. In partnership with key vendors, we are creating opportunities to embed these virtual experiences directly into your websites. These provide a great way to mirror that in-store experience for your consumers right from the comfort of their own home.
RDC stands for Regional Distribution Center. With inventory being a high consideration factor for consumers when making a purchase (even in the luxury space), sharing inventory status on your website will help drive more transactions, both online and in-store. This becomes increasingly more important for the luxury space, because most retailers do not stock $15k ranges. With the RDC feed from our strategic vendor partners, Members can now use vendors’ regional distribution centers’ inventory as their own, which will update on their website in real-time. So, now when a consumer is online looking at that new $15k range they will see ‘Availability in three weeks’ vs. ‘Not in-stock.’ Real-time inventory status is becoming a game changer for Members who have adopted this strategy.
I encourage everyone that participates in the luxury category to discuss these different upgrades with your website provider. One of the true strengths of the Independent channel is the ability to evolve and adapt quickly to the changing marketplace. Add to that the support from the team here at Nationwide and there is no stopping us!
John O’Halloran is senior merchant of luxury appliances for Nationwide Marketing Group.