Technology is heavily used in kitchen / bathroom businesses, survey finds
CHICAGO, Illinois – The use of cutting edge technologies for project design, customer relations, management and marketing has become much more prevalent in the kitchen / bathroom design community since the onset of COVID-19 and its impact on showroom protocols, customer access and other business operations.
Linked to this general trend, kitchen and bathroom design professionals are apparently using – and spending more – an ever-expanding range of tech tools, as companies attempt to upgrade their websites, organize online meetings, improve digital presentations, offer virtual tours of showrooms, provide internet shopping options and implement virtual and / or augmented reality. At the same time, resellers and designers report that they face a handful of challenges in implementing the seemingly endless stream of high-tech tools that are becoming available.
These are the main conclusions of a national survey carried out on behalf of Kitchen and bathroom design news by its exclusive research partner, the Research Institute for Cooking and Kitchen Intelligence (RICKI). The online survey covered a representative sample of kitchen / bathroom dealers and designers, including those from companies that own a showroom as well as those that operate independently.
According to the survey results, eight in ten resellers and designers surveyed currently use both a smartphone and a corporate website as the primary technology tools for their business. Design software, laptops, social media and cloud storage are used by more than half of those surveyed. Other commonly used technology tools include business / design applications, online advertising, business / order management software, and contact / email management software.
The KBDN The survey also found that the top three technology-related activities of the recipients are to organize online meetings with clients and / or contractors, improve online communication to present designs or proposals, and use virtual and / or augmented reality to demonstrate design possibilities to clients. Additionally, a large majority (between 59% and 73%) of those surveyed report doing more of these things compared to the pre-COVID period – especially when it comes to managing designs or project designs – while a significant number say they plan to add these, as well as other technological capabilities in the future.
On average, designers and resellers surveyed say they currently spend around 8% of their annual spending budget on various forms of technology, with 38% saying they are now spending more than before the global pandemic, and 56% saying that they spend roughly the same. In contrast, only around 6% report spending “a little” or “a lot” less than before COVID-19.
When it comes to using technology tools to market their business, designers and resellers surveyed said they mostly use their business website (82%), as well as social media posts ( 53%). More than half of design professionals surveyed say they now use LinkedIn ads, text / mobile ads, and blogs / forums more than a year ago, although all of these tools are used relatively infrequently.