The new concept of Bruynzeel Keukens
Bruynzeel Keukens wants to open smaller stores in cities. In this way they hope to reach consumers more easily and vice versa. In addition, they want to launch a new concept within these small stores in which consumers can choose their kitchen by means of an omnichannel approach. They can design their kitchen online and it can then be virtually displayed life-size in the store. Will this concept work? The results from the USP Kitchen Monitor survey indicate that consumers often choose a store in their neighborhood, but on the other hand the quality that a store can offer is also important. And quality can be less perceived through virtual reality in comparison with real life. What is more important?
Bruynzeel Keukens wants to open city stores
Bruynzeel Keukens is a well-known name in the Netherlands. While originally a carpentry factory, this company now has a market share of 7 percent of the Dutch kitchen market. Bruynzeel Keukens recently opened a brand-new pilot store and immediately launched a new retail formula. According to Bruynzeel Kitchens, “everyone's kitchen becomes even more personal” because of using a customer-oriented omnichannel approach (Source: Bruynzeel Keukens). With this approach, Bruynzeel helps the consumer through multiple channels. In the city store, consumers can, together with the store advisor, design their kitchen on a digital screen and then view this kitchen virtually in its actual size (Source: Bruynzeel Keukens). According to Bruynzeel Keukens, this concept is suitable for stores of only 180 square meters, which means that they can also help consumers in smaller stores in the middle of the cities (Source: Retail trends). But is the consumer ready for this high-tech omnichannel approach of designing kitchens?
Why does this concept fit within the current market?
Physical stores continue to play an important role in the inspiration, information and decision-making process of buying a kitchen. For example, 55 percent of consumers decide in the store which kitchen they want to buy, compared to one fifth of consumers who decide this online (Source: USP Kitchen Monitor). But the stores in the Netherlands are getting smaller (Source: Retailinsides). Bruynzeel seems to follow this trend. With the smaller stores, consumers are easier to reach and vice versa, simply because the stores are closer to the consumer. Figure 1 shows that this is an important aspect of a retailer; 36 percent of consumers say they choose a kitchen store in their neighborhood
Figure 1. Why purchase points are visited
The virtual reality aspect of Bruynzeel's proposition also seems to fit in the market. Virtual reality is increasingly being used in retail to show (the use of) products. In 2016, it was only used for 7 percent in retail. By 2018, this had already risen to 18 percent (Source: Statista Global consumer survey). Similarly, a USP investigation into sanitary rooms shows that one in five consumers is certainly willing to buy a bathroom based on virtual reality, and 45 percent of consumers may be willing to do this (Source: USP Sanitor Monitor). This differs considerably from the 8 percent of consumers who definitely buy a bathroom without having seen it in real life. These results indicate that consumers are more and more prepared to make purchases based on virtual images.
Downsides of a City store
Exhibiting the desired kitchen in virtual reality may also have its downsides. The possibilities in terms of kitchen designs seem endless, while the store itself does not have to be large to exhibit all kitchens. However, to what extent is it possible to assess the quality of a kitchen through virtual reality? Figure 2 shows that quality, at 34 percent, is one of the most important consumer selection criteria when choosing a kitchen. Consumers still want to be able to experience a kitchen, to be able to pull open drawers and feel the material of a kitchen.
A large assortment is also mentioned by 45 percent of consumers as an important reason to buy the kitchen from a retailer (see Figure 1). This is something that Bruynzeel Kitchens must keep in mind.
Figure 2. Main selection criteria for point of purchase
The role of physical stores remains important when purchasing a kitchen. That is why Bruynzeel Kitchens seems to be taking a step in the right direction by investing in physical stores. In addition, it is certainly a good idea to open the stores in the larger cities, which will make it easier for consumers to approach the stores.
The new concept with exhibiting the kitchens through virtual reality can also be good, since it seems that more and more consumers are open to virtual reality. However, the consumer also wants to perceive the quality of products, something that is more difficult with virtual reality. That is why it is important to be able to offer a large range of products and materials within the smaller stores. The moment the customer can see the entire kitchen in virtual reality, but also can view the materials and different aspects of the kitchen in real life, there is certainly a chance that the Bruynzeel concept will succeed.
About the Kitchen Monitor
USP has been researching the kitchen market for years with the USP Kitchen Monitor. Two times a year, a gross panel of around 100,000 homeowners and tenants is asked online whether they have bought or are planning to buy a completely new kitchen, kitchen devices or kitchen parts to replace. They are also asked about the orientation that preceded the purchase of a kitchen or parts.
In this way, USP provides an up-to-date, reliable and detailed picture of developments in the Dutch kitchen market, which is immensely important because the consumer market is constantly changing. Preferences for certain products, brands and type of store (channels) change and spending is carefully considered. In addition, many providers compete for consumers' money. In order to properly estimate your own market position and to be able to make timely adjustments, a grip on market developments and insight into orientation and purchasing behaviour is essential.
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