Graham Jackson

Lifestyle retailing ‘all the rage’

Retailers need to sell a lifestyle to attract customers, a leading kitchen retailer has claimed.

Speaking at the kbbreview Retail and Design Conference at kbb Birmingham, Graham Jackson (pictured), managing director of Bell Northampton, argued that lifestyle retailing was all about giving customers a reason to come into your store by tapping into feelings and emotions to create a place that people will want to visit.

“Simply selling kitchens and bathrooms well is no longer enough,” he explained. “To truly engage with today’s consumer, retailers need to offer much more.”

He added that the consumer journey had changed and that how people shop today affected all retail markets.

“No customer arrives in-store now without having thoroughly researched products, prices and compared different retailers,” Jackson said. “All customers are using social media to pass comment and appraise the things they like, do or see.

“To survive in this modern, chaotic market, shops have to change too. Simply unlocking your store and waiting for a customer is not enough – your store has to be a place people choose to visit.”

This is where ‘lifestyle retailing’ comes in, with one of the buzzwords of the moment being ‘hygge’, which is roughly defined as feeling happy, comfortable, special or content. This can be applied to simple things that are made special, he explained.

With retail also becoming a volatile market and with Brexit likely to add more uncertainty, Jackson urged dealers not to rest on their laurels or play it safe.

Dealers can implement some key strategies in their showroom to capture more consumers. Firstly, they need to have a clear vision for the business and who they are looking to attract.

Showrooms also need to be on-trend and exciting by showcasing new ideas, products, trends and complete projects. Displays also need to be changed frequently to create interest.

Everything on display should be for sale, he stated, and suggested looking at new products and offers that are empathetic to your core product offering.

Engage with customer on social media and bring your store to life through regular events and demonstrations, he added.

“Look again at your showroom, consider fresh approaches to the way you merchandise, additional products you can stock, the routes you take to market and the media you are using,” he concluded. “If you don’t, your competitors will.”

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