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There’s no loyalty anymore, just sales targets set by naive manufacturers

As a group of home interiors and kitchen creative’s, the Kitchens Kitchens team love all things design and home interiors led and we like to report news, and views and as such we like to share others views from the KBB sector, so here is a blog post from kbbreview, the kbb trade body, which is from an independent on the lack of loyalty amongst manufacturers, which is a hot topic in the industry at present.

"There’s no loyalty anymore, just sales targets set by naive manufacturers. Are we all now reduced to being numbers on a rep’s sales sheet?

Have they opened up enough new accounts to satisfy their bosses? Have they managed to squeeze another display order from us? Have we met the correct display criteria,and,if not,will they threaten to open up other accounts nearby?

Surely we as shopkeepers can do something about this?

What’s that you say? Oh, I see. You’re the new rep in the area and you don’t care about the time and effort we’ve put in to display your products and sell them on your behalf. You didn’t know we had an exclusive agreement based on long-term growth and display criteria.

Oh... You’re the sales agent working independently from the manufacturers and can open whatever accounts you like regardless of existing accounts in the area, and then blame the manufacturer for opening them without your knowledge. Sorry, I should have realised that,even though we have been loyal to your brand and refused to display more competitors’ products, it’s OK for you to open accounts everywhere, because you need to meet your targets.

I get it. It’s OK that your products can also be bought through distribution cheaper, and they don’t have to display as much. And you’re OK with selling direct to the end consumer through your own high-street outlets. Yes, please, I’d love to carry on selling in this highly disadvan-taged way. I don’t mind if my margins are slashed and, sure, send the customers in to view my displays. No problem.

I misunderstood. I thought we were your customer. I thought we had an agreement. I thought you said we were your only outlet in the area and that you were supporting us.

If you all believe that your little showroom can have exclusivity and brand loyalty, together with an honest rep who actually works with you to develop and support your showroom, then you’re living in cloud-cuckoo-land.

Just do the maths. Can your meagre sales support a multinational manufac- turer? Can they support the shareholders and pay the high levels of dividends these large companies expect? No chance. It’s a numbers game at the end of the day.They need huge numbers of outlets selling vast quantities of products to maintain market share and bottom-line profits for their own shareholders.

A few manufacturers actually do try to protect their key outlets and do employ highly skilled sales teams who identify the 80:20 rule.They look after the higher-performing outlets who can really move their brand forward and who can actively sell and increase the product spectrum to the general public.

The sad thing is, there are showrooms all over the country who accept the above as the norm and don’t do anything about it.Well, it’s time to wake up and smell the coffee. It’s your showroom.You need to start dictating terms to manu- facturers,not the other way round.If you don’t like the sales policies of a supplier, then chuck them out. Enough said?"

Kitchens Kitchens think that this view is not unique and that manufacturers are simply getting away with it from the perspective that the voice of one retailer is lost in the crowd and until trade bodies and buying groups start putting their weight behind the issue, the cycle is only going to continue with manufacturers wanting the proverbial cake, and eating it.