Owing to the many years Bill, my brother, co-owner and fount of all knowledge about kitchens, has spent working in the kitchen industry, he’s developed many contacts with suppliers who look to him for information and analysis about what customer trends are happening and how they can grow their own businesess in line with the speed ours is currently.
Which led him to send me to what turned out to be an interesting meeting with one of our suppliers yesterday.
As I’ve said in previous blogs, including invisible cogs in delivering our promises and jumping on a slow boat from china/ we recognise and truly value all our suppliers – whether they’re our kitchen fitters, worktop suppliers or any other of the numerous providers we use – because without them we have no business.
But this supplier is looking to trial a new approach with a small number of kitchen retailers in different areas of the country. It’s not uncommon in the industry for suppliers to provide ‘display rates’ to help kitchen retailers fit out or update their showrooms in return for a commitment to sourcing a minimum amount of orders from them in return. And providing all other elements of the relationship work well (e.g. the quality is to our standard at a price that’s fair and competitive and means we can offer our customers the right products for their needs), this works well for both parties. The retailer is keeping their showroom contemporary whilst the supplier is getting their products displayed directly to potential customers.
This supplier, in return for a greater commitment from us to source supplies from them, are looking to undertake joint marketing activity with potential customers and recommending us as their ‘premier supplier’ in our trading areas. As regular readers of my blogs will know, we spend significant time, money and effort engaging in a wide range of marketing activities in order to persuade potential customers to visit our showroom, pick up the telephone or email us to book an appointment.
But it’s always been about us – Nicholas Hythe Kitchen Design Studio – not us and a supplier partner.
What’s interesting about their proposal is that this is the first time (that we’re aware of anyway) that any kitchen component supplier has sought to go above and beyond the industry norms. We see their approach as recognition of us and our operation and, more widely, the need for retailers and suppliers with common aims, customers and business values to work closer together for mutually beneficial reward of higher sales. Assuming the plans get off the ground in the coming weeks it’ll also be interesting to see how and whether other suppliers respond.
Whilst ‘i’s’ are still to be dotted and ‘t’s’ crossed before taking the idea forward, I find it refreshing that a supplier has sought to find an innovative way of trying to co-create growth in an economy where customers are reining in discretionary spending on ‘big ticket’ items such as new fitted kitchens, that working together is far more likely to bring about the required outcome rather than the traditional ‘them and us’ approach.
And even more pleased they want to do so with us!
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