Why consumers must be independent minded to get the kitchen of their dreams

Our industry abounds with myths which, unfortunately, many consumers have swallowed whole over many years. Let me give a few:

  • A kitchen supplied and fitted by an independent kitchen specialist will be significantly more expensive than one from a national retail chain
  • Buying a kitchen from an independent kitchen specialist is a risky business
  • Buying a kitchen is the same as buying a tin of paint

This is all nonsense and it’s about time that these myths were exploded. They are perpetrated to exploit innocent consumers who look for honest guidance and place their trust, and money, in the hands of the retailer. They deserve a good deal in return for their investment. An experienced independent specialist will give them such a deal. They will give them advice, top quality product, excellent after sales service and a fair price.

How can the multiple outlets be expected to do this? Their objective is to move product out of the door based around a formulaic, no frills service and they are not always customer-friendly when things go wrong. The Internet forums are awash with irate customers whose dream kitchens crumbled before their eyes because of poor workmanship, poor advice and lack of or even non-existent after sales care.

The battle facing independent retailers is that the multiples have huge spending power, especially in the field of advertising and discount led promotions. Their names are imprinted on people’s minds and most people like the reassurance of a familiar name. It’s comforting, and if thousands of other people buy their kitchens there, how can it be bad?

Well, that may be so, but how long is that cheap deal going to stand up and serve its purpose? How long before the shortcomings of the kitchen layout starts to frustrate or the drawers keep sticking? You can get a perfectly fair price at a great many independent outlets and far better quality into the bargain, as well as expert advice and top product knowledge.

Consumer perceptions have been no less stereotyped at the higher end of the market. Mention that hypnotic and enticing term, ‘kitchen specialist’, and people assume they will have to fork out a ridiculous amount of money for their dream kitchen. This simply isn’t the case if you find the right independent dealer. A kitchen purchased from an independent doesn’t have to set fire to your credit card any more than a kitchen bought on the back of a ‘deal’ from a national outlet.

As far as the risk element is concerned, most independents offer a stage payment system with a significant part of the cost at the very end of the job, in contrast, national retailers ask for the full payment up front leaving the consumer little leverage if things start to go wrong.

Happily, the independents are gaining some important allies and beginning to turn the tide. At the KBBG we have gathered together some of the best kitchen furniture suppliers in Europe and our independent kitchen specialist members can access exclusive ranges at very competitive price points. We offer top quality kitchen furniture combined with excellent value for money enabling our members to successfully compete on price with the national chains, but with a far superior product offer.

By Bill Miller, Managing Director,
Kitchen Bathroom Buying Group (KBBG)