The Bathroom Store: How it has Embraced the Online Revolution - Home - Home Repair

Through my experiences in the bathroom trade, I have seen a steady decline in the popularity of bathroom showrooms. Though they were once an essential element of any bathroom store, they are now becoming increasingly thin on the ground. The reason for this decline is simple - the internet is a more efficient, more accessible and altogether less demanding way to shop for bathrooms.

Some may worry about the showroom slump, but the fact remains that for most consumers and businesses, the internet has revolutionised the way they buy and sell goods. Even the smallest bathroom store has had to embrace the internet as a primary means of conducting business and communicating with customers. The hands-on approach of a bathroom showroom just can't compete with the user-focused world of the online bathroom store. With search engines at their command, customers can now easily compare prices from one bathroom store to another. The ball is in the hands of the consumer and, for the bargain-hunting internet user, this can only be a good thing.

Businesses may argue that this makes the online marketplace increasingly competitive, and it is true that smaller bathroom outlets may struggle to compete with the market leaders. However, this levelling of the playing field also encourages exceptional service - for a bathroom store to offer a truly attractive deal when their competitors can offer better prices, they have to make customer service and good communication paramount. An industry with good service is a trusted industry, and a trusted industry attracts more custom in the long term.

There are other benefits for a bathroom store which embraces online business. Customers who have already extensively researched a product on the internet often already know exactly what they want to purchase by the time they've reached a business' webpage. This potentially makes for a higher volume of customers and less time spent answering customer queries. An efficiently-managed bathroom store can still operate from relatively small premises whilst employing fewer members of staff and still offering excellent choice by creating warehouse space where there once may have been a large showroom. It's a simple equation. Less outgoings, more business - a win/win situation.

It's not all good news, however. Although an online bathroom store may provide excellent high-resolution images, detailed product information and several easy ways to make enquiries, there's nothing like seeing a product with your own eyes. What may look great in photographs could end up being a disappointment in reality. On the other hand, the least photogenic taps, baths and showers could become objects of beauty amongst the considered decor of a bathroom showroom. For the bathroom businesses that still use showrooms, this can lead to disappointment, as customers visit their showrooms with the intention of looking at a product and purchasing it online at home.

Many customers and businesses mourn the loss of the hands-on approach that came with showroom selling. Spending time with a product, having the opportunity to ask questions, sealing a deal with a friendly handshake and a smile - all of these things are lost if a bathroom store decides to embrace online commerce entirely and get rid of its showroom. Perhaps in time the trend will reverse and the showroom will be revived. For now, though, the increased efficiency for the consumer and the bathroom store alike means that online shopping for bathroom goods is here to stay.

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