Phillips Lighting & Home’s  new showroom, which opened in May in Modesto, CA, offers customers an entirely new experience that’s just across the parking lot from its old location. The smaller space allowed the owners to update the look of the store while scaling back the number of items they stock.
Owner Carrie Arnold says the old 28,000-square-foot showroom was more space than the store needed, which is why she chose the new 9,000-square-foot location. The biggest difference is the warehouse space, which went from 10,000 square feet down to 2,000, because Arnold says the store no longer stocks as many products.
“We’re focusing on stocking our best selling pieces and not trying to stock everything that we show,” Arnold says. “But we’re still creating what we call our ‘express walls’ of bathroom fixtures, outdoor lighting, etc. and merchandising them in a way to show that even though not everything is in stock, these are the best sellers you can walk out the door with today.”
Even if a customer wants an item that isn’t stocked, Arnold says it will only take a week or two to get it.
“For so many years, showrooms were focused on buying things they may not turn, but now the vendors need to be our warehouse,” she says.
The new showroom also has a brighter, more contemporary feel, thanks in part to bigger windows.
“The store has a fresher look to it, and we’re making sure it’s not overcrowded with product,” Arnold says. “It’s really easy to cram in more and more fixtures, but we want to keep it at a level where people aren’t lost looking at a dense sea of fixtures.”
As far as product, the new showroom offers more energy efficient products, Arnold says, since that is a big concern in California. This includes using more CFLs in display fixtures and all LED display track lighting so that customers can see the new technology in action. Phillips still shows the same amount of exterior and bath lighting as the old showroom, but has downsized its chandelier selection.
“In the old store, we sold fewer chandeliers than outdoor and bath fixtures, but had way too much space allocated to chandeliers, so we tried to change that ratio,” Arnold says. “We’re getting more from redecorating and remodeling than from new construction, and people aren’t replacing chandeliers as much as bath, kitchen and outdoor lighting, so we’re trying to focus more on that.”
Another change in the new location is expanding the use of the showroom’s website as a virtual catalog, which used to be shown on a single computer kiosk.
“We still have the kiosk but we’re adding 50-inch television monitors in three locations showing the website, so when we’re with a customer, they can look at large, high-resolution images of the product,” Arnold says. “We’re trying to modernize and get away from pulling catalogs all the time, and it helps make people more comfortable with buying things they haven’t seen in person.”
So far, the reception to the new location has been great, Arnold says, with people commenting that the new showroom is less confusing and easier to shop.
“I don’t think we realize how much we confuse people with so much product,” she says. “We always think the customer wants to look at more, more, more, but sometimes they get overwhelmed.”