With Amazon announcing a “contest” to cities and regions to bid for their new HQ2 headquarters and 50,000 high-paying jobs, people have been quick to pronounce the death of retail and proof that online shopping is the future. However, in our experience, we think retail is going in 2 different directions and its not just online:
Direction 1 – Online: Why get out of the house, there is more selection and better prices online and delivery right to the door — perhaps by a drone. However, the truth is there is more selection of “mass” market items i.e. lower price, commodity products and finishes with none or minimal professional service requirements. However, once someone is looking for more unique and/or higher quality materials and products, the selection online is limited. Why? See Direction 2 below.
Direction 2 – Speciality Retail: Custom made to order products use higher quality material and often require a knowledgeable professional or team of knowledgeable professionals to help the customer choose the right product and install it. Looking at digital images online tends to give people the impression that there is minimal difference in quality between one item and another that might be price 20% higher. In reality, once you see the complete products side-by-side in a showroom, it becomes very apparent that the higher price item gives much better value to the buyer and is multiple times better in quality and usage. Looking at just finish samples at home is not the same as looking at the complete product in operations at a showroom. Also, many manufacturers and retailers are reluctant to sell direct their most unique or higher quality items online as online shoppers predominately short-list by price, thereby eliminating those very products that make the retailer unique.
We at Trendy Blinds & Closets, are currently addressing the needs of Direction 2 above with 2 showrooms in the Greater Toronto Area, with combine opening hours of 7 days a week. For the online crowd, stay tuned for some well priced, easy to purchase items online from Trendy Blinds in the near future.