Insuring Your Showroom Business in the Face of Boom/Bust Cycles

If you have a plumbing showroom in Denver or Austin right now (or any other area enjoying a building boom), chances are you’re enjoying increased revenue as a result.

You have no doubt experienced expansion or contraction based on regional business trends. Whether your region is hot or cold right now, here’s one thing that won’t change: Local showrooms will see their slice of the pie dwindle every year they can’t go multi-channel.

“In an Internet world, retailers must have longer tentacles as no one is strictly local,” said Katie Jackson, Showroom Marketing Coordinator for Wolff Brothers Supply in Medina, OH. “We need to try to extend our bases, embracing and excelling in a multi-channel world where participation is mandatory — or we can kiss our businesses goodbye.”


A best-in-class web experience should serve as the foundation for one’s multi-channel strategy. There are multiple barriers to doing this in a cost-effective way, as we outlined in this blog post.

The market is quickly separating itself into haves and have-nots. The “haves” will have a system for affordably competing to make their products visible online and integrate their catalogs with the incomparable “floor knowledge” of their staff. This is the bedrock you have to attach yourself to — to insulate yourself from building cycles and the unavoidable competitive pressure of online retailers with way bigger pockets.

The bad news? Not enough showrooms are embracing industry realities that impact their business model. But e-commerce realities are forcing you there whether you like it or not. The good news? If embracing the shift becomes affordable, you are among the group who can adapt and thrive in this forced shakeup. (Click here to see our answer to your dilemma.)

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Some showrooms have dumped money into “home brew” online marketing and display solutions in an effort to keep pace. This usually requires staffing, some level of personal management and constantly writing checks to vendors. This isn’t sustainable, and might not leave you any better off in the long run than the showrooms that ignore the icebergs altogether.

Whether a temporary boom has you believing you’re good at selling or not, the big shift is here to stay. Reach out if you’d like to discuss how to ride the wave and survive.

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