It is an exciting time for kitchen retailers : DIY enthusiasts are moving over into designing their living spaces.
The home improvement market is worth over $680 billion, and is set to top $1,120 billion by 2025 according to a GMI Insight report.
At the same time, shopper behavior is changing across the board and the retail industry is suffering from drops in foot traffic. As a result, retailers are seeking to boost in-store sales with exciting initiatives including experiential retail, pop ups and personal services that offer customers added value. For kitchen and home retailers in particular, the main challenge is addressing changing customer preferences and patterns throughout the buying process, providing a seamless omnichannel customer experience.
What are the key trends that are reshaping the way that consumers engage with kitchen retailers? How can retailers adapt their businesses to match the changing needs of existing and potential new customers, achieving the best return on investment? This post explores these topics.
Social media has entered the kitchen and consumers of all demographics are cooking numerous dishes at home, following advice and recipes on social media.
Social media has also changed the way that consumers research before purchasing new kitchen, with applications such as Houzz, Pinterest or Instagram being widely used for inspiration. Through ‘social shopping’ consumers can receive inspiration as well as validation from peers: they are increasingly sharing and receiving feedback on their design ideas and reading reviews to further build their own opinions before engaging with the store to enter into the purchase process.
This new social stage is redefining the purchase process, as prospective customers visit stores having planned out their vision, leaving customer advisors to focus on providing added expertise and translating those requirements into a reality. While this trend can be disruptive, it is positive: it optimizes the sales cycle and lowers the time and cost involved to guide a customer through to purchase. Retailers who can tap into or partner with social sharing platforms to help consumers envision their dream kitchen will have a significant competitive advantage.
Today, 55% of the world’s population lives in cities and this number is projected to increase to 68% by 20502. As a result, efficient and compact housing is in greater and greater demand. And in turn, kitchen retailers have the unique opportunity to tap into this growth area by offering compact and cleverly planned kitchen solutions that can fit into any floor plan.
In typically smaller and more affordable new builds, the overarching challenge is to create as much space as possible and therefore every element of a room must serve a purpose. In order to achieve this, at the design stage it will be critical to map out an accurate picture of an entire room, with precise measurements for ultimate accuracy. For kitchen retailers seeking to engage with property developers, scalability is key, as they will be looking to replicate effective designs across multiple properties or developments.
In the wake of increasing concern for the environment around the globe, consumers are adopting a more mindful approach and investing in evergreen, ethically sourced items that transcend fads and stand the test of time.
This mindset is also leading consumers to look for modular furniture that can added on to existing kitchens, reducing the carbon footprint of old units often being pulled out and thrown away into landfill. Therefore, they can easily update the appearance or functionality of their kitchens without needing to refit entirely, saving on time, cost and materials.
Additionally, buyers from demographics such as lower income households or those furnishing their first home are increasingly seeking one-off items such as new worktop surfaces or cabinets to build upon existing foundations. Kitchen design solutions must be flexible enough to work with both an entire refitted kitchen and slot in to existing layouts, allowing buyers to identify whitespaces or potential for modification.
Kitchen retailers seeking to tap into this trend should consider offering ethically sourced options for consumers and emphasize flexible options to attract buyers interested in one off purchases as well as kitchens built to last.
In a world moving towards personalized and unique experiences and products, consumers are designing ‘for me, by me’. Consumers now want full control over all aspects of their kitchens for a room that truly reflects their personalities and lifestyles. They are moving away from ‘off the shelf’ solutions and are no longer prepared to compromise on appearance or functionality.
This also translates to online experiences, where consumers expect to see recommendations based on their preferences and data they have previously provided. By offering a range of design options as well as personalized recommendations tailored to each consumer’s previous choices, retailers can create a more tailored offer and significantly improve engagement and conversion.
Smart homes are the latest trend in home design with connected appliances beginning to change the way that consumers interact with their white goods. This ‘technology first’ mindset is already fundamental to the kitchen design process. Smart, tech-savvy consumers are minimizing risk in the purchase process through ‘try before you buy techniques’ that harness the power of technology.
Convenient, easy-to-use 3D planning solutions will allow kitchen retailers to tap into this trend by enabling consumers to design their dream kitchens in detail and obtain a clear visual idea of how that would translate into their homes. With 3 million projects created to date by users on the HomeByMe consumer facing platform, the scope of opportunity for kitchen retailers to tap into a visually searchable platform to access this ready to buy customer base is significant.
It is clear that the kitchen retail industry is undergoing transformative change, with customers’ priorities and purchase behaviors changing with the times. However, with this change comes great opportunity. HomeByMe Kitchen Planner is a simple yet effective solution that places kitchen retailers at the forefront of industry trends and innovation, allowing them to resonate with an engaged and inspired homebuyer. Our innovative 3D planning technology allows customers to plan, personalize and visualize kitchen projects, putting all the resources and information needed to make a purchase at their fingertips. Thereby creating more meaningful interactions in-store and an accelerated sales process.
For further information on how you can transform the customer experience through an effective omni-channel approach, visit our website built specifically to serve kitchen retailers where you can organize a demonstration of the platform with a member of our team of experts.