Modern Industry, Modern Solutions – NKBA
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Modern Industry, Modern Solutions

Independent K&B showrooms are remodeling, adding product categories and implementing technological solutions to attract more customers.
By Elisa Fernández-Arias

When faced with new and existing challenges, independent kitchen and bath showrooms are coming up with creative, effective and successful solutions to stay competitive and win over consumers, according to NKBA’s first-ever independent Kitchen & Bath Showrooms report.

The top internal challenges cited most were keeping products current and attracting customers. In fact, 67 percent said developing relationships with homeowners is extremely important to their success. And many recognize that they need to continually evolve their strategy to service the needs of their customers and stand out among their competition.

“[C]onsumers who are remodeling their kitchens or baths place a very high value on seeing and touching products before they purchase them.”

The study also showed that, contrary to popular belief, online shopping doesn’t rank high as a challenge. And, according to most showrooms interviewed, it’s not eroding showroom sales because consumers continue to place a very high value on seeing and touching products before purchase. 

Changes in Showrooms

In the past two years, 65 percent of showrooms interviewed for the study have introduced new or additional brands, while 53 percent have significantly remodeled their showroom and 40 percent have added product categories. Within the next two years, four in ten showrooms will be carrying new brands or remodeling their space.

Showrooms are also turning to technology to improve the shopping experience as well as their own operating efficiencies. It is particularly noteworthy that 50 percent of those interviewed reported adding new technology to their showrooms in the past two years, while 35 percent plan to add it within the next two years.

“About half of the showrooms interviewed said they added new technology to their locations in the last two years to improve customers’ shopping experience.”

Enhanced monitors and displays were the most frequently mentioned enhancement in terms of customer-facing technology, while updated design software and hardware were the most popular for operational technology. A respectable number of both showroom dealers and designers expect virtual technology to be increasingly used in kitchen and bath design over the next few years.

Insights From the Research Webinar Panel

Panelists from NKBA’s webinar that introduced the results of the research report offered helpful insights into staying competitive in today’s ever-changing retail landscape. 

Using a website in tandem with in-person sales can be a smart move. Purchasing habits, as well as how designers work with their clients, have changed due to the pandemic. It’s important to think about how to attract customers to the website, connect them with designers and eventually get them to physically visit the showroom. The panelists also touched on strategies for client meetings, such as combining showroom visits with Zoom designer meetings, and offering both in-person and online or video conferencing.

Providing high-quality customer service and creating relationships in showrooms is essential for success. Designer Paula Kennedy, CMKBD, a webinar panelist, emphasized the importance of personal relationships in the industry. She told showroom owners that designers are loyal to specific sales people and will follow them if they move from one company to another. Also important: Having meeting rooms in the showroom with screens where designers can meet with their clients to discuss ideas. 

Technology is a big part of a showroom’s success today… and in the future. The webinar panel emphasized the need for lighting solutions in showrooms, where clients can see products in a variety of settings and lighting types.  In addition, 3D rendering is an effective way to show customers what new products could look like in their homes. Finally, they stressed that showrooms should prioritize new technology as part of their product mix –  notably smart toilets and motion sensor faucets –  since learning about new trends is part of a successful and engaging showroom experience.

Want to Learn More?

To learn more about these and other insights from the Independent Kitchen & Bath Showrooms study, download the full report here. To watch the NKBALive Research Reveal on the Independent Kitchen & Bath Showrooms report, go here to view the session on demand.

This article is the last in a series of three articles about the Independent Kitchen & Bath Showrooms report. To view the other articles, visit