Annually, the National Kitchen & Bath Association publishes an industry outlook. Like most everything else that has occurred in 2020, the optimistic prediction at the start of the year took a dramatic about-face when stay-at-home orders were issued in the middle of March. Recently, NKBA has updated its outlook to account for the impact of COVID-19. The updated study found the following according to a recent article in Kitchen & Bath Business.
There is no doubt that COVID-19 has already changed how consumers act and behave, and that requires showrooms to evaluate how they will connect with customers and prospects moving forward. COVID-19 has impacted how consumers obtain information and how and why they purchase.
Your showroom's brand is not what you say, advertise or feature on your website and social media outlets. It's what your customers experience in every interaction from an initial visit to your website to the completion of the post-construction punch list. In a world defined by 280 characters, trying to reign in the story you tell through a carefully crafted narrative misses the point and the opportunity.
The ability to inspire change is one of the hardest skills that showroom owners and managers need to master. It's not easy to get team members, suppliers and customers that you depend to change bad behavior. Team members who seem stuck in their ways present obstacles to achieving individual and corporate goals.
Morgan Housel, a venture capitalist and blogger, recently penned a new book to be published next month, The Psychology of Money. In it, he notes, "Money isn't primarily a store of value. Money is a conduit of emotion and ego, carrying hopes and fears, dreams and heartbreak, confidence and surprise, envy and regret.”
When your team is working remotely, there is no daily interaction and no opportunities for the exchanges and chance meetings that typically occur in an office. Keeping your team challenged, motivated and energized becomes more difficult when you are unable to meet face-to-face. One technique savvy managers use is to remind remote team members of the importance of their work. You and your team are responsible for making your enhancing clients' homes and making their lives more enjoyable. That is an awesome responsibility and one that should not be overlooked.
All search is local. In both the real and online world, consumers visit the central places that provide goods and services that they need and they make these decisions to minimize travel distance and that includes selecting a showroom to design and install their new kitchens and baths.
Whatever your situation might be, it’s not what you would have expected at the start of 2020. Covid-19, stay-at-home orders, shuttering and reopening your showroom and making tough decisions for your business have all been part of the new normal. Having to worry about family, whether or not schools will open in the fall, the threat of contracting COVID-19, the prospects of a long recovery from the recession and isolation from friends, family and regular routines can be stressful.
The jury remains out if team members are more productive working from home. We have learned during the pandemic that working from home creates new challenges that can significantly inhibit productivity. Staying at home with limited access to entertainment, dining and other venues that provide variety is exhausting. Recognize that your fellow team members may be experiencing significantly more emotional and cognitive fatigue than normal, write Rebecca Zucker in a recent HBR blog.
The picture is not pretty. Coresight Research expects 20,000 to 25,000 brick and mortar retailers to shutter in 2020, increasing more than 100% from 2019. The company also expects 55 to 60% of mall-based stores to close their doors. That estimate is in line with a Green Street Advisors prediction as well.