Franchisees at home interiors brand Schmidt are celebrating their way out of lockdown with record sales plus a TV advertising campaign about to launch.
Sales of Schmidt’s chic kitchens, bedrooms and bathrooms soared by a third in the first three months of this year – and that wasn’t because the first quarter of 2020 was easy to beat.
“The first three months of 2020 were hardly affected by Covid because the pandemic hadn’t yet taken hold,” says Schmidt’s UK Business Development Manager, Jean-Michel Peragine.
“So it’s huge congratulations to our partners, the franchisees, who did so well despite their showrooms being closed for months.”
He attributes the record sales to people spending long periods at home and realising how important it is to feel comfortable there, and accumulating unexpected savings because the usual things they spent their money on weren’t available.
“They realised how much better their home life would be with a new kitchen, bedroom or bathroom,” he says, “and that could only be good news for us.”
A key factor that helped Schmidt benefit from the sales boom was the growing influence of its website on eventual sales by whetting customers’ appetites.
“We’re starting the relationship with our customers online and taking it seamlessly into the showrooms,” says Jean-Michel.
“There’s no substitute for feeling the materials, experiencing the quality and seeing our products for real.
“And after almost four months of closure, everyone was truly impatient to reopen their showrooms.”
Schmidt’s marketing is all about driving traffic to its website and showrooms, and the company kept its factories open and increased production capacity in anticipation of rocketing sales in 2021.
“There’s a boom in the industry and we’re encouraging our dealers to place orders as quickly as possible because people who put their projects on hold last year are now able to order.
“We have all the tools to improve success and will aim for our highest ever sales in 2021.”
Franchisees are also excited about Schmidt’s new TV campaign, due to air in areas with showrooms from 26 April.
Describing itself as “an extended family company”, the company decided its TV advertising campaign should focus on people, with its products playing a subtler, supporting role.
“It’s intimate and shows people using our products in their everyday lives,” says Jean-Michel. “We aren’t pushing the products; they’re just there in the story.
“We’ve all been spending more time at home, so it’s about people and what they need, not just what we want to sell.”
That message has gone down well with the company’s 28 franchisees in the UK, who’ve also benefited from pastoral support from Schmidt as well as help with their IT and marketing.
“It isn’t just a business for us,” says Jean-Michel. “We’re a network, and our partners’ wellbeing is very important to us. It’s key to us to keep in touch.
“Our network is very strong. The dealerships never stopped and were so flexible, and we were still there for them – mentally and digitally.”