KBB News – We need more support from suppliers


Kenneth Thom of Create says showrooms need free displays, point of sale and training

Some of our bathrooms

It was clear to see at KBB the manufacturers and suppliers had all invested heavily in promoting their wares, (I appreciate that the cost of purchasing space at KBB is a considerable expense in itself), but I did wonder if they could do a bit more to assist the retailers they are hoping to entice?

Since the recession, increasingly referred to as the Great Recession, I have noticed less willingness to assist with free of charge displays, new point of sale goods and less staff training coming from our distributors. Likewise, margins have commonly lessened and sales exclusivity is virtually a thing of the past. I do not believe I am alone in being unable to sell the majority of our goods at the list price, but can recall a time when we were able to do so.

Obviously times move on and the internet has squeezed all our margins to an ever-increasingly lower amount. But, just as we have continued to develop and improve our service to our customers in order to gain more business, I believe our suppliers need to do more for theirs.

Why do we need to purchase products which we are to display in our showrooms? Can we not be loaned these items and have them automatically replaced by the supplier when they have reached the peak of their lifespan? (I actually question why we don’t charge rent for the floor space our suppliers’ products are taking up in our studios, but perhaps that is an argument for another day.)

Why do we have to request links to manufacturer’s websites or ask for point of sale information rather than these being monitored by our sales representatives? Why do our suppliers never seem to advertise locally, detailing us as the areas stockists, but instead leave the cost of local marketing to us?

I firmly believe greater collaboration is required between the majority of suppliers and their showroom customers in order to mutually benefit. Or perhaps I am just dealing with the wrong manufacturers? So I would ask bathroom and kitchen suppliers and distributors, out there, what can you do to help and encourage me to sell your wares which I enjoyed seeing so much at KBB? Or do you feel that the burden of responsibility is not being equally taken up by the independent showrooms out there and it is in fact the retail side which is letting you down? We need each other so let’s have honest open debate in how we can grow together.