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I have recently joined Electric Design after 20 years of helping businesses market themselves in many different sectors, but the Kitchens, Bedrooms and Bathrooms market is new to me.
Because Brian Kennedy and the team at Electric have such in-depth knowledge of this sector with over 25 years experience working with such industry leaders as Moores, JP Distribution, Sensio and many others, I thought I would visit the KBB show at the NEC, immerse myself in the market for a day and try to learn as much as possible. So what did I learn?
The first thing I noticed was how busy the show was. The event covered four halls (17 – 20) and was absolutely packed all day. The official figures say that over 15,500 industry professionals attended, of whom around 40% were from the retail audience, 10% architects, 20% interior designers and 9% International. This is a very successful and buoyant industry.
The second lesson was that the quality of innovation, manufacture and display in the KBB market keeps industry standards high and this in turn creates a demand from consumers for the latest designs, because who wants to be left behind with an old fashioned kitchen, bedroom or bathroom?
This industry really understands how to sell high quality products and service to a willing public by creating a demand for the latest and best.
The third lesson was that this is an industry full of energetic, driven people. Everywhere I looked there were meetings, demonstrations, negotiations and deals being done.
I was privileged to attend the keynote interview with Paul O’Brien and Gerry Watson from leading Scottish Kitchen retailers Kitchens International, and if their example is anything to go by, the industry is in great health.
Kitchens International has based its success on the directors’ core values of belief, integrity and bravery and an idea that they should stop selling to customers and start helping. This was an interesting and entertaining interview and there was one thing that Paul O’Brien said that stayed with me. Asked about competing on price with online retailers he said that they were about adding value rather than dropping prices, “We do what we say we will and a little bit more.”
I thought this comment spoke for the whole show. The KBB Showguide says that it is the best place for the industry to source the best products from across the globe, share ideas and celebrate the latest innovations. It seems to me that it does that and a little bit more and I look forward to visiting again in two years time.
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