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Why online and bricks-and-mortar are equally important

 

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In his address to attendees at the recent opening of the Winning Appliances Kingston showroom, CEO John Winning said, “I am passionate about experiences, and yes I started Appliances Online 11 years ago and I am very proud of that. But I am no more proud of that than I am of this showroom we are standing in today.”

Winning was responding to an unnamed supplier who asked him, “How do you feel being an online and digital disrupter in the retail market, and opening a store like this?” But Winning made it clear that a website and showroom cater to different customers and different products.

“When a customer is undertaking a renovation, maybe they have just married, put some money together and they really want to build their dream home. They don’t want to visit a computer screen, they want to come into a store like this, they want to talk to someone who has been in the market for decades and has so much knowledge, and not just about the brand and product in front of them but the rich history of the brands,” Winning explained.

“They all have such a great story and design element. The customer wants to talk to someone who knows the differences between all of the brands and understands their needs as a customer and will tailor a kitchen or a laundry that suits their lifestyle,” he added.

“I think that online will continue to grow, and that customers will continue to transact online but the role of a showroom or a store will be to touch and feel the product. It’s going to have to become much more around experience and selling the dream of brands and products versus stack ’em high, let ’em fly.

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“We try to do the best possible job at both a store and online level. At Appliances Online, it is generally a replacement purchase so we want a site with products that are easy to find with a clear idea of specs and features, customer reviews, great imagery and 24/7 customer support if the customer needs help making a decision or to get a product as quickly as possible.

“For Winning Appliances, it is very different. It is a much longer transaction process so we want to make sure that over the renovation period of three, six, nine months, or maybe longer, the customer is getting what they need from our website.

“We make sure it gives them everything from helping them find products, contact our stores if they want to talk to an expert and get some advice or inspiration, by showing what other people have done with the products that we sell in their own kitchens,” he said.

This story originally appeared on Appliance Retailer.

 

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