Design your showroom like it’s your own home, says top retailer

Gary Parker, Showroom Manager, TBK Design

Showrooms need to ensure that every display is perfect and designed as if it were in your own home.

That’s the advice of Gary Parker, showroom manager at TBK Design London, speaking on the latest kbbreview podcast on the subject of showroom design and creating the experience perfect retail. And he says that’s as true for small studios as it is for TBK Design’s 30,000 square feet.

TBK Design was our Bathroom Retailer of the Year for 2021.

“The most important thing in any showroom,” Parker advised, “is that you take each individual display, no matter how big or small, and design it as if it were from your own home, because what you do for people is very personal.

“If you have a small showroom and you can create three or four displays, make sure those displays are perfect and that everything comes together in those displays. Make sure they are not cluttered. make sure that everything about them speaks to itself, and you will be surprised at how people will talk about it and you will reap the rewards of that time and effort you have put into it.

Parker added: “When you’re creating something, whether it’s a very small shower room or a large luxury bathroom, make sure you do everything you can to make that display [the best it can be] so the customer can see. They buy your knowledge and expertise because that’s what you specialize in.

Three or four years ago TBK Design had the opportunity to create a new showroom from scratch and parker and owner Steve Joel and they knew they wanted to create a showroom that offered real experience to customers.

One of the displays in the TBK Design showroom

Parker explained, “I’ve noticed while traveling to luxury showrooms and exhibits that if the showroom has soft music on, you feel relaxed. If there is a good smell, it makes you want to walk around the showroom. And if there is music playing in the background, the customer feels relaxed and at home. It also helps them spend money.

And that sensory appeal must extend to the smell of the store.

Parker explained, “Walking into local malls, you get this very ambient smell that encourages you to come in. We found a company that produces an industrial scenting machine and created our own blend especially for the showroom. And when customers come in, they love the smell and it helps them relax. Some even asked me for a bottle.

Organizing the showroom and making sure the walk through it didn’t disrupt the customer was also important to Parker.

“We felt we had to meet all market needs,” Parker said. “So we had to split the showroom into three, to meet the needs of the economy market, the mid-range and the high-end bespoke. Customers can browse and see the different levels of products and choose the one they want. “People often jump between tiers and buy things from each to make sure they get what they want within their budget. And that’s helped tremendously.”

A key part of the design was that the screens had to be large.

“We have found [from visiting] high-end luxury showrooms across Europe that we could make much bigger displays of sinks and furniture if we put all the toilets and baths in one place. The idea is to push the boundaries so customers can visualize exactly what their bathroom will look like.

TBK Design also brought in a design agency to help with the new layout. Parker says it worked well for them.

“If you use a design agency, you have to listen to what they have to say,” Parker warned. “Otherwise, there’s no point in doing it. We wanted to see it from another angle. We were able to get everything we wanted, listen to and respect everything they wanted, and create a showroom between the two of us that would be near perfect.

And his final coup de grace isn’t cluttering everything up with brochures and sample boards.

“The showroom is our sales tool and it should be as aesthetically pleasing as possible,” Parker concluded. “For me, this is my home and it has to be perfect every day of the week.”

• To listen to the full podcast, click on the link below.

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