Executive Director, LPG
2023 promises to be a great year despite what analysts and economists are predicting. There is still a shortage of housing and all signs point to enthusiasm from suppliers and members after going to KBIS and Lightovation.
I expect people with money to still spend money and while multifamily housing may drop off a little bit with interest rates where they are, there is still a need for residential housing and many of the millennials that will be staying put will be remodeling their homes.
Please keep in mind that finding and retaining talent in the showroom is harder than ever. Many of you with wholesale operations do not pay your showroom people nearly enough. Dealing in the retail space and trying to pay somebody $15 an hour to work in the showroom is a thing of the past. This is a professional occupation which requires professional pay. To find the right talent, you are going to have to pay at a scale that they can live on. If you aren’t willing to pay a living wage, your showroom will suffer. Bottom line.
Trends continue to change in the showroom so you will have to refresh many of your displays. At Lightovation the trends were focused on brushed gold, brushed bronze and black finishes. You didn’t see much in terms of chrome or stainless finishes. The lighting industry tends to lead the plumbing industry in design so keep this in mind and remember that the industry standard is 25% change out in displays in a showroom every year. Wholesalers who operate showrooms typically don’t make the investment in changing displays and having a showroom that creates a shopping experience.
The companies within LPG that are investing in their showrooms, investing in their people and improving their processes, such as following up on bids faster, making sure they are offering the proper hospitality within the showroom and running events, are the showrooms that are making great return on investment. This isn’t rocket science. Think about the great restaurants you go to, or your favorite store. Take notice of the lighting, the music, the temperature, the smell—it all has to command a higher price. If your showroom doesn’t execute this right, you are destined to become what Kmart, Sears and retailers without focus have succumbed to.
LPG continues to offer the tools and training to make you successful. It’s up to you to take advantage of those tools and make the best of 2023. I am happy to help you with any questions you may have or advice and how to make your showroom profitable in the long term.