Remember the last time you woke up on a Saturday morning and had a big project to do? You thought to yourself, “Well, today’s the day. I’m going to install kitchen cabinets I bought online / fix that hole in the fence / help my mother-in-law move the china hutch into storage.”
And then you smiled and said, “I hope it’s as difficult as possible.”
If you don’t remember that, it’s because it didn’t happen. Who wants something to be as difficult as possible?
And yet that’s how most kitchen cabinet retailers set up the buying process online. It’s a giant obstacle course for your customer.
Let’s take a look at the kitchen cabinet installation hurdle. Because the more empathy you have for your customer, the more likely you are to get that sale.
What ordinary homeowner knows what it takes to install a complete kitchen?
So our ordinary homeowner Joe buys kitchen cabinets from you, and a pile of cabinets arrive. Now what?
Based on my conversations with online customers I know we can’t expect Joe to know he’ll need to take the delivery of dozens of boxes and:
- Inventory and organize them,
- Deal with out-of-square walls and unlevel floors,
- Figure out how to place those cabinets around plumbing and electrical,
- And finally, install cabinets.
The online customers I talk to rarely plan to install themselves. No more than 2 of 10 plan to install their own kitchens – because they don’t know how.
The old mindset of “order and ship” is killing your online kitchen cabinet business
Do you have an outdated mindset about selling kitchen cabinets? Let’s see. What do you do if a customer asks you, “Do you know a company who can install my cabinets?”
- Old mindset: “No.”
- New mindset: “Yes! We have a regional database of independently reviewed installers who can help you.”
Guess what happens when the customer hears “no” ? They say “bye” and buy elsewhere.
You can’t afford to lose those customers. I’ve solved the kitchen installation problem for many online customers, and I’ll tell you exactly how I did it.
#1: Hey Mr. Customer, it’s really not too hard to install your own kitchen
Unbeknownst to Joe Average Homeowner, most kitchen designs are fairly straightforward.
I ask Joe a few questions about his kitchen to make sure that the design and installation won’t be wildly complicated.
Then I explain that 95% of the installation isn’t that difficult and help them understand the installation of the tricky or unique areas of the design. Meanwhile I’m gaining credibility and moving the customer closer to purchase.
#2: A video is worth thousands of words
Online customers need cabinet installation videos, but they need to be tailored to each specific cabinet line and situation.
Enter the YouTube kitchen installation video channel. I hand curate a sequence of videos that clearly show how to deal with flooring, molding, and yes how to assemble an install cabinets. The series shows each aspect of the kitchen installation along with my comments.
Suddenly an intimidating installation process is now an understandable flow.
#3: A kitchen design tailored to the self-install customer
Customers like Joe don’t understand cabinet jargon and material lists, which is a problem if Joe has decided to install his own. Instead I give Joe a design format specifically for customer installations – before they purchase.
- A material list written in plain English in a large font
- Each item is assigned a color-coded number and shown on a “design” with only numbers
- Components such as side panels, moldings, toe kicks, etc are also detailed on the plan
#4: The art of finding a qualified kitchen installer
Say Joe doesn’t want to install his own kitchen, period. That’s where your company should teach Joe how to find a good installer.
Sure Joe could go it alone. He could fire up Google and find names and call them up. But how does Joe know if the installer is good, or how to answer all of the installer’s inevitable technical questions?
I don’t know about you, but I give Joe the names of several national and regional websites that connect homeowners with trades people. And, most importantly, I share the tricks for how to search those sites. Then we get into the specifics of their kitchen and come up with several options.
#5: Build your own database of installers
This is an offshoot of #4. Every time I work with a customer to find an installer I add the installer’s name to my database. Down the road I check with my customer to make sure they had a satisfactory experience.
By now when a customer asks about installation, I just ask for their ZIP code and give a couple of the hundreds of names I have. (Of course I stress that they’re not endorsed.)
Your strategy of hoping customers will stop asking you for help with installation isn’t working
When you help your online customers find a way to get their purchased cabinets installed you boost sales and increase the likelihood of a referral.
It’s time to move away from the “order and ship” mindset to one that understands the customer’s entire kitchen remodel journey.