North London-based independent merchant Fayers, a member of the Fortis independent merchant buying group, is the first independent merchant to take on the new online showroom platform from shower specialist Lakes Showering Spaces. to its trade customers.
Lakes launched its virtual showroom concept in July as a pioneering selling tool for merchant and retail stockists and their installer and homeowner customers.
The online platform – which is accessable via www.fayers.co.uk/products and www.justaddwater.co.uk/products – allows Lakes products to be viewed and favourited, helping merchants turn leads into orders, and upsell complementary products such as taps, showers, grab rails and shower seats. Accessed through the stockist’s own website, visitors to the Lakes showroom can also download joint-branded brochures and ask questions directly to the stockists’ staff via chat and email.
Managing director, and Fortis category director, Ken Beney says: “As a merchant and retailer, we often feature links to our trade partners and suppliers on our website, but these usually direct customers off our site and they don’t always come back to us to make a purchase. With the Lakes virtual showroom, we can offer our customers more product and technical information while keeping them within our site and hopefully securing the sale.
“As well as keeping traffic within our website and driving sales, the Lakes online showroom makes life easier for our staff as they can access it from our website – there’s no need to waste time logging in and out of websites. It’s a really exciting concept.”
After two years in development, the Lakes virtual showroom has been launched at just the right time, as online shopping has surged while access to physical showrooms has been restricted.
Lakes sales & marketing director, Mike Tattam, adds: “With the current physical restrictions on visits to showrooms, stockists are keen to capitalise on the growing online trend – and that’s where our online showroom platform can help our customers grow their business. By offering an enriched virtual shop window, that integrates with stockists’ existing facilities and staff and doesn’t substitute them, our stockists can engage with more potential buyers and help their sales and showroom staff turn interest into orders.”
The online showroom platform was developed by MRA Marketing. Managing director Lucia Di Stazio says: “We created this showroom platform to enable merchants and manufacturers to offer a personalised online experience to their trade customers, and for end user customers. Lakes has raised the bar on what manufacturers can do to help their trade partners sell. Our virtual showroom delivers an engaging, interactive online shop window to attract more visitors while providing the selling tools required to convert online traffic into orders.”