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A lot of plumbing showroom business are multi-generation family-operated enterprises. Well-run and with a commitment to product knowledge, they maintain a built-in edge with decades of brand equity and because of the capital-intensive nature of the business. (It’s not like a sandwich shop, where new franchisees just start appearing on your block like mushrooms after a heavy rain.)

It’s also a segment resistant to innovation in many ways. Plumbing showroom owners have traditionally been resentful latecomers to the digital marketing sphere — doing only the minimum necessary to establish a digital presence.

But there has been a massive shift of power to informed consumers — your home project wish-list keepers and your trade base. They now shop tons of options and know quite a bit about what they want long before they walk through your door to talk options and see your product.

Connecting with the segment that is willing to pay for non-commoditized plumbing products is where you make more profit. It’s a relationship and knowledge game — this part is still just like the old days — that must be supported in key points with the right digital backup.

We spoke with one of our clients recently about the importance of getting these coveted customers onto the floor to talk. This client realizes that many of them want face-to-face knowledge and a hands-on experience with the products and design ideas they’re thinking about — even if they’re not going to close right away.

What enables this conversation?  Having your own web site is great. But keeping it updated is usually where the trouble begins. The high-profit shopper usually won’t even arrive at your door if they don’t find a complete and up-to-date library of decorative plumbing, hardware, lighting or home décor products when they’re checking you out online.

This means you have the constant requirement of entering data, processing images and so forth when you bring in a new product line or change options for an existing one. Being able to simply “check the box” for products you carry for a given manufacturer and have them automatically appear (along with specs) on your site’s catalog means you have a better way to start your high-profit conversations.

Some of the good old things that make your showroom great — being a family business that’s around the corner and having friendly associates who know what they’re talking about — will never change. But other important factors have changed. Addressing them efficiently without uprooting what works is the name of the game. If you’d like to discover ways to make subtle, but important, shifts to drive more profit for your showroom, reach out and let’s talk about it!