3 Effective Merchandising Ideas for Your Bathroom Showroom
With the market in flux, now is a key time for showrooms to reap the benefits of considered merchandising and inspiring shop floors.
There’s no doubt that the retail landscape is evolving. Each generation has had its retail winners - the boutique shop of the 60s and 70s, the vast, out of town shopping centers in the 80s, the outlet store of the 1990s, and the rise of eCommerce in the new millennium. The latest shift- namely the decline of the department store, titans of British retail like House of Fraser, Marks & Spencer and Debenhams, and the stagnation of middle-market shopping, is a disruption that in many ways is overdue. Shopping is no longer just about fulfillment- it’s about inspiration, community and experience, and independent bricks-and-mortar retailers are finally in a position to benefit.
Even eCommerce companies recognise the appeal of in-person, destination retail- with heavy-hitting furniture e-tailers Made and Loaf opening inspiring showrooms (or ‘slowrooms’ in typical Loaf jargon) across the country, each shop designed with a cleverly crafted customer experience in mind. We can no longer see shopping as neatly divided between high street and online, rather the new age of retail requires a change in approach, reimagining the physical and digital space to create an omnichannel shopping funnel that goes beyond order fulfillment and values customer discovery.
Retail as Experience
Aesop and Anthropologie are just two examples of retailers that craft unique, site-specific shopping experiences that encompass all elements of their brand and beyond - from the products themselves to the expert interiors and even health & beauty events.
The showroom is no different and in many ways has the most to gain. We all recognise the need to inspire consumers, particularly those investing in high ticket items such as bathrooms and kitchens. Homeware and interiors company Neptune have designed each of their stores, whether it be a Georgian townhouse or a barn conversion, in a unique, considered way that nevertheless captures the authenticity of their brand values. These showrooms don’t look like a mishmash of product- they look like a carefully curated home. Likewise, US interiors powerhouse Anthropologie create stunning visual displays and promote weekly in-store events- working with local makers and designers to engage consumers with their products and brand. Health & beauty brand Aesop even host monthly supper clubs with local chefs!
Yet you needn't invest thousands to create an inspiring customer experience. According to Karl McKeever, Founder & Managing Director of leading retail agency Visual Thinking,
So where to start? We spoke with interior designers, retail experts and visual consultants to bring you three simple merchandising ideas for your bathroom showroom that are easy to implement and will have lasting impact.
1. Paper & Paint
It’s time to be inspiring and dynamic with your showroom displays, and thankfully this change need not always be costly. Do an image search for ‘bathroom showrooms’ on Google and the overwhelming colour will be greige.
Rather, start to think about your showroom as a place where customers would want to stay and explore. With so many options in temporary materials such as peelable wallpaper, tile decals and simple paint (!), there are fewer excuses than ever to display products against bland, drab walls and floors. For a look that will last- emulate versatile yet beautiful materials like white Carrara marble and white subway tiles that will work with any display. Interchange these timeless looks with panels of colour or pattern to elevate your product offering and create an inspired, holistic look.
Professional tip: Amazon and Etsy are great for sourcing stick-on tiles, while Milton & King have a wide range of peelable wallpaper, in faux-tile and decorative styles. For a traditional look that can be reused in multiple displays, invest in wood paneling on a sheet of MDF.
2. In the Detail
Accessories are vastly underutilized in showroom merchandising. You only need to look at Instagram or Pinterest to see that bathroom accessories are rivaling living room decor when it comes to creating beautiful spaces. Do away with supermarket soap and invest in well-packaged toiletries, add homely additions like linen textiles, laundry baskets and a vase of faux flowers. Save on wash space around bathroom units by using a bathroom stool to style props.
Professional tip: Create mood boards before you design your display, incorporating accessories and props that contribute to the overall style you wish to recreate, like our Hampton display mood board.
Hampton 575 Basin Unit
A well balanced and timeless design that marries classic detailing with the simple lines of contemporary furniture.
Hampton 600 Illuminated Mirror
Keep displays cohesive and promote upselling by pairing complimentary items from the same collection.
Stellino Floor & Wall Tile Sticker
Coated in a durable laminate layer, this decorative vinyl tile is a great way to add tasteful colour to a display, without the commitment and cost of real tile.
Farrow & Ball Cornforth White
A versatile mid-tone grey that works well in modern and traditional settings, making it ideal for temporary displays.
Ribbed Glass Grey Vase
A versatile & stylish prop that straddles traditional and contemporary styles, giving you the most use for your investment. Coloured or textured glass also conceals faux flower stems!
Scandi Bathroom Stool
Another convenient accent piece that complements modern and classic displays. Sit a folded towel or two on top, next to a vase of eucalyptus.
When the real thing isn't an option, choose good quality silk flowers and stems to add colour and help to refresh tired displays.
3. Knowledge Share
Bathroom & kitchen retailers are not just shops, they are centers for expertise and professional guidance- so capitalise on this invaluable asset! Consider hosting talks or workshops on home design or renovating, using the opportunity to recommend products and develop relationships with potential customers.
Professional tip: Build relationships with local businesses such as architects, estate agents or decorators to draw from a wider knowledge pool and encourage mutually beneficial brand collaborations.
Neptune York frequently run 'Create a Moodboard' workshops, providing simple materials to help customers visualise their designs.
We would love to see your showroom photos! Be sure to share your bathroom ideas and inspirational merchandising ideas via @myroperrhodes on our Instagram page, or tagging us in your Facebook posts! For more inspiration on how to style your showroom, please follow our Showroom Pinterest board.
Images courtesy of Aesop, Anthropologie, Cosy & Country and Neptune.GUIDES, IDEAS & INSPIRATION