A Showroom's Competitive Advantage

A Showroom's Competitive Advantage

50 percent of customers are interested in purchasing custom products and 48% of those customers are willing to wait for a product that they can call "all their own," found a 2016 Deloitte consumer survey. Those findings certainly spell good news for BKBG member showrooms. The ability to produce unique products whether they are split finishes, unique combinations of handles and spouts on faucets, custom system showers or individualized pieces of cabinet and door hardware for kitchens provide showrooms with competitive advantages that can't be replicated by online retailers, big box national chains or order takers down the street.

The customization of kitchen cabinets, backsplashes, floor and wall coverings, countertops and other kitchen elements enables showrooms to deliver compelling customer experiences and are in keeping with retail trends in other industries, especially fashion. For example, Frilly provides women with customizable, made-to-order clothing in bohemian, preppy, minimalist and edgy styles. The technology platform enables customers to select fabric, sleeve and bodice options. The company expects to introduce a made-to-measure service within a year.

Nike started customizing sneakers in 2012 with the launch of NikeID. Adidas was not far behind with the opening of its Speedfactory, a robotic facility that allows customers to participate in the creation process.

Amazon isn’t going to be left behind in the ability to provide customization opportunities. Last April, Amazon was awarded a patent for an on-demand apparel manufacturing process that will enable customers to receive custom dresses, shirts and other apparel in five days.

Men's clothier Indochino plans to open 150 new showrooms in the next three years, primarily in high-end malls, to offer custom-made suits that are delivered within three weeks. Its go-to-market strategy is that its custom suits offer a better product choice at that same price as an off-the-rack offering. Indochino is not alone. Ministry of Supply uses 3D robotic knitting machines to produce custom blazers within an hour and half. Even though the Deloitte study found that most customers said they have the patience to wait for a one-of-a-kind product, patience is not expected to last for a long time, especially when Amazon starts in the customization arena. 

As 3D printing becomes more cost-effective and more frequently used, customization of all products, including kitchens is expected to skyrocket. What can you do to take advantage today and in the future of your ability to deliver custom products to your customers? Brainstorm with your team to identify the BKBG partners you currently specify to identify opportunities and develop a consumer education and marketing effort to promote your customization capabilities.


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