Odina Kitchens from Homebase are rebranded Nobilia German made kitchens but one trend that is creeping into the home interiors trade from the big chains, is their increasing tendency to want to sell anything and everything.
Tesco is perhaps the biggest culprit of this as not only can you buy Tesco kitchens, you can buy Tesco Fitness (another word for ‘fat’ or ’boot’) Camps, and a whole host of non Food products and services which begs the phrase, ‘jack or all trades, master of none’.
Convenience is one thing when shopping and it may be just me but when I’ve been browsing the DVD’s, fresh produce or cooking sauces at my local supermarket I’ve tended not to go, “this place could do with selling cars, kitchens and spa treatments”.
Well, as with any retailer other than say John Lewis, were customer service and product knowledge are industry leading levels, Homebase are recruiting for ‘showroom consultants’ with a basic of £14,000 – £18,000 and no prior design or kitchen experience necessary? It seems the basis for the role is this following statement
“You will have a proven track record for achieving targets and maximising all sales opportunities through your consultative selling style.” – Source TotalJObs 24/02/13 18:04
The emphasis is on having sales experience and not design experience which begs the question, given that the kitchen is one of the most important rooms and focal points of your home, do you want to be ‘sold’ a kitchen, or to have one ‘created’ for you?
And whilst ‘consultative’ based sales is mentioned in the job description, ‘consultative’ likely means so long as the products are on sale from Homebase. Just as much as an HSBC employee can’t and wouldn’t recommend a Lloyds financial product to you, even if it is better than the HSBC one, tied sales people to big chains are restricted by the range of products they sell. Independents however, will design a modern kitchen using (in most circumstances) some key suppliers, but if the customer wants something specific, they can generally have it.
Lack of Passion from Chains
It stands to reason that someone who enters into business for themselves as an independent kitchen designer/retailer is far more passionate about the industry, the products, and customer care then a ‘kitchen consultant’ from Homebase, or Tesco Kitchens for that matter. No disrespect to that role as in today’s economy there are many without jobs but this is a kitchen website with views on the industry and the simple question of whether big chains or small independents are better at delivering the same brand in Nobilia, albeit with different customer designs, customer service and pricing etc.
I am not singling out Homebase as being the big bad wolf here, but what I am saying is that as with most corporate businesses, it’s less about customer satisfaction and more about shareholder satisfaction. More about sales targets than passion for the product and as a consumer who are you going to be better served by?
Granted, there are independent kitchen companies out there that are fly by night but the German brands of Nobilia and Hacker are very picky about the people they work with, hence many smaller independents sell ‘German-ish kitchens’, made in China and sold on the internet for £1200 for a complete kitchen, if indeed one ever arrives as many consumer review websites say they have paid deposits or full balances for these ridiculous ‘too good to be true’ deals and surprise surprise, the money gets taken and after months of complaining nothing happens until the website gets taken down and with it, any chance of getting their money back.
Consultative Sales versus Consultative Design
Like I say, not having a go at Homebase directly here but consultative sales to get upsells and a bigger order size is not the same as consultative design where the perfect kitchen is created not via a drop down menu / box ticking exercise on the computer, but via a designer with years of experience, and passion for creativity, who in turn embodies that passion in the kitchen designers he/she creates bespoke for each customer.
I know where I would get my Nobilia kitchen!