I’m constantly amazed anyone takes the financial risk of buying kitchen cabinets online. It’s a huge gamble.
Anyone selling products online, especially cabinet retailers, should be removing barriers to purchase.
Since I’ve asked you to stand in your customer’s shoes, tell me if you’d honestly take this gamble:
- Customers want to buy cabinets from you because they can save money.
- To do this, they have to take their own kitchen measurements.
- But if the measurements are incorrect and they order the wrong number of cabinets, it’s their problem, and they lose money.
You’re probably underestimating what a huge barrier to purchase this is for your customers. And it’s costing you sales when they move onto other cabinet retailers who actually help them.
You want to solve those problems before your customer ever experiences their pain. So how do you solve the measurement problem?
To understand the measurement barrier, you must understand the role of the kitchen design in the purchase process
Most everything sold online is a single object that doesn’t require a design: cars, diamond rings, women’s shoes, etc.
Kitchen cabinets are different.
- A complete kitchen is made of many different cabinets and pieces – and a design is required to pull them all together.
- Since the measurements are the basis for the design, price and order – the measurements are critically important.
5 reasons why taking kitchen measurements is so daunting for your average homeowner
Those of us in the kitchen and bath industry spend our days thinking about or taking measurements. We can forget the reality for most homeowners.
- Most people aren’t handy with a tape measure or taking measurements.
- Most online sales are for remodels so those same people have to climb around an existing kitchen to get them.
- They also have to know which measurements are critical and how to take them.
- Customers are often told to follow a measurement guide or video; most of them are hard to follow and too technical for the average homeowner.
- Finally, the customer has to figure out how to sketch out the measurements so they make sense and email them to the designer.
Most online cabinet retailers still make the customer run the “take your measurements yourself” obstacle course. And, of course, the customer doesn’t even consider buying from them because they don’t want to or take on the risk. They move on to a cabinet website that understands – and helps them.
Be the cabinet website that understands and helps your customer
If you want to sell more cabinets, do a better job of understanding your customers, the problem they’re looking to solve, and how you & only you can solve it.
- We put nearly all our effort in to thinking about our typical customer. We go as far as to establish age, gender, how and where they live and why they’d want to buy cabinets online.
- Then look at all the barriers to purchase online and set up a website that breaks them down.
I’ve also worked with several frustrated owners of existing online cabinet retailers who complain about low sales.
My job for both the new and ongoing customers is to provide customer service and designs. I’ve learned a lot from the customer service aspect, including how frequent the “I don’t want to take measurements” refrain is.
To be successful we have to fix this. After all, the designs and customer service don’t matter if potential customers just say no before you even get to that point.
Let me flip the prevailing kitchen design wisdom on its head
Your customers are only interested in the quote. The design is secondary.
So exact measurements are not vital right off the bat.
Online shoppers are comparing prices. The point is to:
- Engage them with strong customer service
- Get them a fast quote.
So I just tell the customer to send me their measurements in any way they can along with a few photos.
My designers are very clever at figuring it all out and getting customers a reasonably accurate quote (design). Later if the customer shows interest in buying, we get proper measurements and tighten up the design.
Working virtually on the measurements actually works quite well
I’ve also set up systems in which our designers work with Facetime to virtually guide the customer through the measurement taking process. We take the measurements together! It’s fantastic to be in the kitchen with the customer, developing a relationship and showing our expertise.
If the customer just doesn’t want to do it, we help them to find an installation company that will take measurements. Our customer service team developed a strong database of installation companies. We can also guide customers to find their own through Angies List or Thumbtack. Installers see an opportunity to meet customers and take measurements – they know that they’ll be first on the list when the customer hires.
At OKD I’ve moved lots of online customers to profitability through simplifying the design/quote process for the customer. The trick is to turn barriers such as measurements into opportunities.