In the past three years, L&W Supply has completely changed its showroom strategy. Until 2011, decisions about product selection and showroom layout at the Chicago-based supplier’s 145 showrooms were made locally. That year, L&W introduced a new brand designed to connect the company’s local and national presence, explains Brendan Deely, president and CEO. In 2012,
a showroom manual was created to help make customers’ experience more consistent.
“We decided to take a bigger step toward our goal to become a one-stop destination,” Deely says, remodeling 40 of its showrooms in 2013. The dealer added new product lines, as well as a new showroom layout, slat walls, displays, counters, and even a will-call counter at select locations.
“The project was a collaboration between our local staff, marketing, an interior designer, and an architect,” Deely says. Deciding on which product lines to add was a joint effort of the marketing, sourcing, and sales departments.
More new products are being introduced, based on customer feedback, Deely says. Meanwhile, the sales support department is training staff on working in the showroom. For example, the branches with a will-call counter aim to have customers in and out within 15 minutes.
Remodeling more than 80,000 square feet of showroom space was a challenge, but L&W was confident it would be worthwhile. “We determined that making our branches a one-stop shop for our customers would increase traffic and sales that would justify the investment,” Deely says.
The dealer has already seen tool sales increase by 40%, cash/COD sales by 5%, and customer traffic rise by 70%.
The size and layout of the showrooms vary by market, ranging from 600 to 1,600 square feet. Whatever the size, the goal is to create a more consistent look and product offering, as well as a comfortable feel. “We have improved our customer facility with waiting areas, cafes with TVs, lounge areas, ice machines, and more,” Deely says.
Although L&W invested significant time and resources into the showroom redesign, Deely says the company is still eager to improve. “We are continuously asking for [customer] feedback and making minor adjustments,” he says.
Deely is also pleased with the quality of the feeback. “Our customers greatly appreciate that we’ve displayed our expanded product portfolio.”