What is the Secret Behind an Effective Showroom?

Showrooms are vital to enhancing the client experience and providing avenues for glass companies to promote their products. They serve as a venue for clients to test, try and touch the products. For the glass industry, showrooms are a platform for architects and
clients to see firsthand what products look like installed, be it the allure of backpainted glass or the efficiency of dynamic glass.

Though perusing glass-related applications online is convenient, there’s something
to be said about interacting with a product in person. Showrooms offer glass companies
many benefits, from improved awareness to increased sales.

“The intention of the showroom is more for the property owner, consultant and architect,”
says Tecnoglass vice president of operations Samir Amin. “While developers simply want a
good product at the right price, property owners want to see the product and understand
the advantages.”

Amin likens the showroom experience to shopping for a car. Prospective buyers head to
the dealership to see what’s available, check out deals and peruse different models and
paint colors. Clients want to do the same with glass products.

The ability to physically feel the quality of the products was the idea behind showrooms built by Fort Myers, Fla.-based MY Shower Door. The company has ten showrooms in Florida.

“We built the showrooms so prospective clients can physically view and feel the quality
of the shower enclosure that they are selecting, without purchasing something blind,”
says president and founder Bill Daubmann. “The more professional the showroom is, the
better the customer feels about the company they are hiring and the products they select.”

The Science of Success

Amin says that Miami-based Tecnoglass used to design its showrooms with architects
and consultants in mind, but now wants to target property owners. He says companies
can use several techniques to lure in clients, including hiring an interior designer.

“We want people to come into the showroom and feel like they’re in an actual house,
not a warehouse with two or three products on display and say, ‘Hey, look, this is how a
door opens and closes. That’s it,’” says Amin. “We want them to feel like they are inside a
real home.”

Pulp Studio president Lynda Nishimoto Lax agrees. Pulp Studio is a Gardena, Calif.-based
designer and manufacturer of decorative glass. She says that in addition to providing a pleasant working space, it’s important for companies to organize and display products
that can stand alone and work together for a customized effect.

“A showroom with space to spread out the samples along with other materials for the
projects is a great way to get the full picture of what the space will look like,” adds Debbie
Salmon, a Pulp Studio sales representative. “Having a well-organized showroom with many options is great for creativity.

Identifying Emotional Motivators

There’s ample research that dives into the science of successful retail and showroom
design. A 2015 article in Harvard Business Review highlighted the links between client
emotions, retail space and profitability. The authors claim in The New Science of Customer Emotions that “companies should pursue emotional connections as a science—and a strategy” to create new value.

This methodology includes identifying emotional motivators. What does the client need for this specific location? For instance, clients in South Florida are more inclined to
browse through hurricane-resistant systems than those in the Southwest. Clients in the
Southwest would rather check out dynamic glass to minimize glare and reduce solar heat
gain to lower energy consumption.

Once companies understand the needs of their clientele, the next step is designing a
practical and impactful space, which can include hiring a designer to maximize footprint,
enhance comfort and optimize purchase potential. This is followed by displaying the appropriate products that align with local needs.

Daubmann says a well-trained staff can also determine the success of a showroom.

“It is equally important to have trained staff on hand to assist in the selection process and
to give the pros and cons of each element of the enclosure,” he explains. “When done right,
the customer feels good about their selection and has an actual person they can speak with
and coordinate with.”

As part of Tecnoglass’ relocation to Miami, the company plans to construct a new showroom alongside its new headquarters. It recently opened showrooms in South Carolina, Miami and New York. It also plans to build showrooms in Arizona, California and Texas over the next two years. Amin says officials plan to go all out for the Miami showroom.

This includes designing a façade that showcases the company’s systems, such as curtainwalls and residential products. Amin says the building itself will be a showcase and offer an experience that will extend inside.

“The showroom interior will be an experience in itself,” he says. “We’re going to have
virtual reality (VR). Visitors can put on the VR equipment and see different types of glass. If they want to use green, blue or yellow glass to decorate their house or see different sliding glass doors, they can. We’re adding all that to make their experience better.”

Amin states that “choice” is the operative term. He explains that VR allows visitors to
browse various applications and systems in different scenarios, which broadens the company’s ability to display its products and helps it avoid general mockups.

Nishimoto Lax says that Pulp Studio displays working samples such as privacy glass
and backlit products to give clients expectations of the products and to see how they
interact with the environment. She adds that they also incorporate computers that display
the company website, projects and product data, which helps the sales team access information when needed.

According to Debbie LaPinska, senior vice president and chief customer officer for North
Venice, Fla.-based PGT Innovations (PGTI), integrating technology is critical for a showroom to be effective. It can even be used before a client steps into a showroom. For example, PGTI offers a virtual showroom that allows visitors to “walk through” before visiting in person.

“PGTI has incorporated this technology for its Hialeah, Fla., showroom and is in the process of adding it to its Venice showroom,” says LaPinska. “This approach not only provides convenience but also gives potential customers a taste of the immersive experience and extensive product options they can expect, enticing them to visit.”

Joshua Huff is the assistant editor of USGlass magazine. Email him at jhuff@glass.com and connect with him on LinkedIn.

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