What do consumers want most in a kitchen design professional? What are they looking for when consulting a designer? What are the problems they’re seeking a solution for?
Kitchen and Bath Design News asked for answers to those questions from its subscribers, and responses came in from designers representing different areas of the country. The following are paraphrased and excerpted from what they wrote.
What Do Consumers Want?
- design insight. Experience in design is something they don’t have, so they are looking for expertise.
- to be guided through the design process, with attention paid to blending their kitchen with the rest of their home and lifestyle.
- honest answers from their design professional. Although designers are knowledgeable, they have to be willing to admit ignorance. And then go out and find the answers.
- someone who can create their vision by adapting it to their own space.
- to see their kitchen on a 3D or virtual reality software program.
- someone who will help them sort out their choices to get the look they think they want, together with what they actually need.
- to approve their choices and then put their trust in the designer.
How Have Consumers Changed?
The knowledge a consumer brings to the initial design consultation has changed over the years.
They’ve done hours of research online and have a specific list of wants and needs. Houzz.com has made a huge difference in the design world because consumers can learn about styles and see options in a way traditional in-showroom viewing could never provide.
How Do Consumers Choose a Kitchen Designer?
- They will choose personality over price. They often come to have their kitchen designed after visiting a “big box” store. When they have been educated on various construction options/styles, organization options, cabinet door styles, wood species and finishes, they purchase their cabinetry through the designer despite the price being higher than previous quotes.
- Overall, they prefer to feel “comfortable” with a designer, their personality and knowledge of their products.
- Homeowners appreciate not having the “hard sell” to force them to make a purchase. They prefer to be guided in the purchase of a kitchen and not be sold a kitchen.
- They want their kitchen designer to have knowledge of all materials used in their design. They want to see designs in color renderings and everything used in the plan explained in detail, down to what kind of paint will be used on the cabinets, how the quartz countertop is made and how the appliances work.
- Consumers want straightforward answers to their questions, reasonably quick responses to inquiries, clarity and competency.
- They expect almost instant communication. Immediate gratification is the way of commerce now.
To further understand the consumer decision making process, RICKI (Research Institute for Cooking and Kitchen Intelligence) conducted a survey to determine how affluent homeowners decide on the products they buy for their kitchen remodels versus homeowners with more modest incomes.
Their findings show that affluent homeowners rely much more on design professionals and manufacturers’ websites for help in deciding the products they purchase, while mainstream homeowners depend on friends and/or family for their ideas.
Bob Aungst Cabinet Sales is a full-service rep agency with the goal of matching kitchen designers and remodelers with the cabinet manufacturers best suited to their business’ style and clientele. Owner Bob Aungst III represents Brighton Cabinetry, US Cabinet Depot, Integrity Cabinets and StyleCraft Luxury Custom Cabinets.